By Melissa Grant
Did you know that motherhood can age a woman faster than smoking or obesity?
Since becoming a mum three years ago, I feel like I’ve aged at least a decade.
Sadly it’s not just me saying it. Science has delivered the same verdict.
Studies have shown that mothers age faster at a cellular level than childless women. And, frighteningly, the rate of cellular ageing in mums is faster than smokers (four years) and the obese (eight years).
I expected motherhood would make me feel older. But I didn’t expect 43 would be the new 33.
Nobody tells you this before you have a child.
The other thing nobody really tells you is the why. That is, the reasons why you will feel so old after popping out a baby or two (or more). You know, the everyday things that make you feel like a dinosaur.
Some are obvious. Some you won’t see coming.
Many are things most women will experience after becoming a mum. Many are things we’d prefer not to admit (like still wearing our maternity undies).
Here is what has me feeling old before my time. I’m sure many mums can relate!
My eyes. Not surprisingly, every time I look in the mirror I see my eyes. And boy are they tired. A three-year-old and a baby under one means I haven’t had a night of unbroken sleep in a year, probably longer (who has time to count?).
My skin. It’s never felt so dull. Seriously, who has drained the life from my face? Oh, that’s right … my kids!
My choice of moisturiser. Yes, I use the brand I used to think was for older ladies. The main reason? I can buy it from the supermarket.
My underwear drawer. You know those sexy undies? Well, you will only find those right at the back. It’s oversized briefs and maternity undies all the way!
My wardrobe. It feels younger than me! I can’t remember the last time it was seriously updated. If I’m completely honest, part of me doesn’t want to do it as that would mean replacing the clothes I wore when I felt young and fun!
My hair. I’m overdue for a haircut. Also, I’m not sure whether or not my kids have given me grey hair. I’m way too tired to have a good look when I get a moment to myself in the bathroom, so I just tell myself they are natural blonde highlights.
My hairstyle. Forget youthful Insta-worthy hairstyles. It’s… drumroll … the mum bun. Quick and easy, doesn’t matter if the hair is a bit greasy.
My shoes. Socks and thongs combo anyone? When I saw older relatives and friends do this, I swore I wouldn’t. But here I am (only in the comfort of my own home of course).
Clearly, lack of sleep and the constant running around after young children takes its toll.
Perhaps when I’m actually 43 and my kids are 13 and 10, they can make me feel younger than my age.
Funnily enough, my husband is 43 right now. So perhaps our 10-year age gap has diminished. Or perhaps, he feels like he’s 53!
Thankfully, feeling old doesn’t really mean anything whereas having two beautiful children means the world.