And for once I was SuperMom

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Am I Wasting My Time?

I wonder how many hours of my life have been lost to putting on mascara.
It takes me about 28 minutes to get ready for the day (exactly one episode of Caillou), that's including showering, hair, makeup and clothes. That's 196 minutes a week. 10,192 a year. Roughly 169.8 hours a year. 7.1 days a year. I use up seven days a year just getting ready for the day. If I live to 85 that's 601.6 days. Almost two years.
Time is my most valuable commodity these days. I think about what to do with Emma while she's awake. How do I spend my time with her? Once she's sleeping I think about how I use those precious moments to get stuff done. How do I spend my time without her?
I remember reading my brother's magazines when I was in junior high and reading articles about tying knots and surviving in outdoor situations and then turning to magazines that were dedicated to girls of the same age and they had articles about the application of eyeshadow and boys. Famous and unattainable boys. I remember thinking that this information was useless. What did eyeshadow matter in the grand scheme of things?

I started reading the book Packaging Girlhood and it railed against the accessory racks for little girls, and the prevalence of pink princess themed clothing in stores. The authors levelled accusatory fingers at marketers and companies for enslaving women with silly depictions of femininity, their voices raged in an outcry against bras for ten year olds and sexy underwear for seven year olds. I agree with them. Those things are ridiculous and harmful to little girls.
But here's the problem, I don't think that those companies are as nefarious as all that, I think they sell what sells. Then we buy it.
We are complicit in this whole mess.
No matter how many times I time myself in the shower or putting on makeup, I still do it. Almost every day. I know that time might be better used for playing with Emma or working on all the millions of projects I have bonking around in my mind. But I don't, I still spend that minute and a half putting on mascara.

It's a hard game to play, because I know that appearance doesn't matter, and I know that it does. I know that I won't get into heaven because I took good care of my skin and got good haircuts. But I also know that if I wear baggy, hopelessly out of style clothes and didn't tend to matters of hygiene I would get much less respect and attention that I do.
I guess it's a balance. And I don't pretend to understand to know where that balance is. Maybe if you feel like you like yourself and feel like you look good then you're doing fine.

I probably shouldn't add up how many hours I spend eating or sleeping...

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