Monday, November 27, 2017

In honor of my birthday, I popped a pimple

Today's my birthday. Last night, I celebrated by popping a pimple. And I do mean celebrated.

B.C. (Before Children), I had all sorts of beauty rituals: I'd deep condition my hair once a month; give myself facials, complete with a homemade almond/honey scrub; do my own mani/pedis. These days, leaving conditioner in my hair for a whole ten minutes seems like crazy talk. I rarely have the time or inclination to sit around and let polish on my nails dry. Giving my skin TLC never happens, and I'm lucky mine is basically good (thanks, Mom).

To be sure, there was other awesome celebrating, because it would be seriously sad if all I had to show for my big birthday was clearer skin. Dave had a surprise dinner party for me Saturday night at a nice restaurant, with family and friends and balloons and a delicious rainbow birthday cake. Max took me to see Coco. I'll be getting a massage this morning, courtesy of Dave and Sabrina. Also: Dave let me sleep late for five days in a row. (And by "late" I mean 8:15 a.m., because I have lost the talent to sleep late.) It's felt good to get the royal treatment. I just never get the chance to do it for myself. 

The life coaches who regularly spout that mom metaphor "Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then take care of your family" (or risk stress, burnout and death or ALL THREE) clearly never had children or they outsourced them. There are never enough hours in a day to put the oxygen mask on myself.

If I'm not working, I'm playing with my children and/or arguing with them, making meals for them, cleaning up after them, driving or carpooling them somewhere, making sure they don't maim themselves (mainly the two-year-old), responding to emails about them, filling out forms about them, running to Staples for emergency school project supplies for them, signing them up for activities, making doctor and dentist appointments for them, bathing them, nagging them to do their homework, nagging them to get off their iDevices, reading to them, buying stuff online for them at 11:30 p.m. or passing out early because of them. Who has time to be vain?

Oh, and another thing about that proverbial oxygen mask: I would not be able to get ahold of said oxygen mask. None of my stuff is my own. The 12-year-old uses up my shower skin scrub and fancypants Chanel skin illuminating fluid. The baby likes to hide my makeup, my Kindle and my phone and generally destroy my stuff; last week, I found my blush brush floating in the toilet. My comfy reading chair is perpetually filled with toys; the room's decor is best described as "Fisher-Price."

Anyhoo, back to my birthday gift to myself. As I was washing up last night I noticed a tiny white bump by the corner of one eye, technically not a pimple but a pesky little milia—a keratin-filled cyst that randomly crops up. You can't pop it, and it doesn't go away on its own; you have to extract it. (I am full of fun skin facts because I used to edit the beauty department at Glamour.) The more I looked at this thing, the more I was convinced it made me look downright elderly.

Now, on every other night of the year I would have shrugged it off and crashed. But this time I decided to get that sucker, because I did not want to look ancient on my birthday. I had some lancets on hand, the kind for diabetics—the crappy blood sugar I'd had during pregnancy was coming in handy! The brand seemed oddly appropriate: FreeStyle.

While I likely should not have been trying this at home, years of parenthood has given me Supermom syndrome and I figured I could do it. Twenty minutes later, I was cursing. Trying to poke a minuscule hole into bump near your eye isn't easy. I considered the fact that impaired vision would likely be more of an aging hazard than a white bump by my eye. But see: Supermom syndrome. I persisted, going at it from a new angle.

I'm pretty sure that life coaches would not qualify prodding your face with a diabetes lancet as an act of putting on an oxygen mask. While it didn't exactly feel pampering, at some point it started to feel good to be focused on my skin. Zen, almost. I put a gel mask on the rest of my face and slathered  lotion on my feet. I plucked my neglected brows. I was going to be a veritable goddess by my birthday.

Ten minutes later, victory! It was out. The area was red and irritated but hey, I looked infinitely younger (in my mind) without that white bump. I'd forgotten how satisfying it can be to pop a spot on your face. Not quite as satisfying as having children, but close!

I applied antibiotic ointment. I read Facebook birthday messages. I felt a little freaked out that Google knew it was my birthday (there was a doodle with candles and the message "Happy Birthday, Ellen!"). I pondered entering a new decade of life. I made a resolution to do the occasional face mask and scrub and, at the very least, take time to apply hand lotion.

By this point, everyone was asleep. I headed upstairs to our attic where I could hide and sleep in this morning. I may still be there.


Thanks for sharing!

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