Is cosmetic surgery the key to happiness?

7 Feb


An old friend rang me tonight. When we met years ago we locked eyes across a crowded room and instantly connected. Our husbands get along really well and we’ve been a part of each others lives since that night. I truly believe that true friendships are similar to true romances…that instant connection when you know you are friends and will be forever, no matter how much time has passed or how many obstacles family life puts in your way.

When this friend and I catch up (twice a year at most due to distance and babies) we spew out all our thoughts, feeling and truths in record time and tonight was no different. After catching each other up on our most recent struggles with motherhood and feeling better and less alone as a result, we started talking about the usual topics of conversation that female friends always end up talking about. You know the ones…diet, exercise, looks, cosmetic surgery…

Yes, cosmetic surgery. For some reason this particular topic has been coming up frequently in my life and friendships, particularly when my sister and I dream of a day when we can get a ‘mummy-tuck’ – where the loose skin left over from three c-sections each is tightened through our belly buttons. I told my friend about this desire and added that a boob lift would be great too because after breastfeeding three kids they look like empty socks and I need to roll them up to get them into my bra. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. Sorry if this is too much information. I promise my next post will be about food, movies or TV shows.

Anyway, my friend and I started going through our list of procedures we’d love to get done if time, money and baby sitting weren’t issues. From head to toe my list looks like this…hair coloured and thickened, chemical peels for my face for wrinkles and spots, tinted eyebrows and eyelashes, laser hair removal in all relevant areas, boob lift, mummy tuck, mole removal, manicure, pedicure, a little botox, teeth veneers and/or whitening and head to toe testing for all potential ailments. I am always scared of getting sick and I think I’d feel happier if once a year I had the time and the money to get tested for all illnesses so I don’t need to worry that my children will be motherless. Oh, and a food delivery service to lose/maintain weight. And a new eliptical trainer in my bedroom and an exercise bike too.

My list above is pretty much everything I want done that I don’t have the time or money to do. It’s not all cosmetic and it’s not all superficial but it’s all in this list because I don’t have time to do any of it. Whenever I go to do any of these things I either don’t have time or I can’t spare the money or I feel guilty leaving the kids to do it.

In reality I could get all this done in a few weeks. It would be so cool to just go away for two weeks a year and get this all done and touched up and then just resume my life. When I look good I feel good, I’m happier, I’m a better wife and mother…it’s not right…it just is.

I do what I can. I watch what I eat, exercise when I can, blow dry my hair myself a couple of times a week, give myself manicures, facials and I put makeup on most days. But it’s always so inconvenient and hard. It’s always instead of housework or instead of playing with the kids. It’s always rushed and it’s rarely pleasurable.

So now I’m realising how vain and superficial all this is. I know many mothers who don’t get any of this done and are perfectly happy. They are great people, great mothers and love their lives.

When I daydream about all these things I feel happy I haven’t had a chance to get them all done. Didn’t Kayne West’s mother die from liposuction? What if something went wrong and the kids are left motherless by my vain quest for physical betterment? What if the tests do find something? What if it was all done and I was still unhappy and unsatisfied? What then? What would be left?

When you have three children, a part-time job and other added responsibilities your happiness becomes about starting each day fresh and new. Each day is full of hope and potential. If I get everything I think I want then what I will I leave myself with? Real goes? Real desires? Valid choices? I might start looking into things I should be choosing now like furthering my education, volunteering to help the underprivileged or just making more of each day. Each day I fall short but I always go to bed planning on a better day the next day, cosmetic-surgery-free.

My perfect version of tomorrow looks like this…I will get up at 6am instead of pressing snooze for half an hour. I will get straight up, wash my face and eat a piece of fruit and then do my exercise before the kids wake up instead of while they eat breakfast or lunch. After my exercise I will shower and get dressed. I will have time to do my hair and makeup and I’ll be feeling as good as I can. Then kids will get up and I’ll dress them straight away and we’ll all eat breakfast together. They’ll eat what I put in front of them and then carry their plates into the kitchen. The house will look clean because I’ve cleaned it the night before (I cleaned it at lunch time but it’s a mess again). We’ll go to the shops and I’ll pick up a few things and remember that I need fresh bread instead of forgetting and having to use frozen bread. Then I’ll have lunch with my family and friends. The kids will sit down and behave while I eat. We’ll go home and they’ll both have a nap while I work on my novel (I haven’t touched it in months). I’ll drink my coffee, have a healthy snack and start dinner. The kids will get up, I’ll pick my son up from school. During the course of the afternoon I’ll sell an article or a book or a cheque I’ve forgotten about will arrive in the mail. My husband will make it home for dinner and help me clean up. We’ll all play Uno or Monopoly and my husband will put the little kids to bed while I spend time with my eldest son.

Utopia…idealistic, unrealistic and unreachable. But without the chaos of my actual day, what would I write about?

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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