Jowls – Who Needs Them and How to Fight Them

half young face

I remember sometime around my 40th birthday discussing with my sister (a fount of knowledge of all things holistic) how I was destined, as others before us have been, to carry the burden of our hereditary jowls. Why? Because I was starting to notice the sneaky indentations appearing either side of my mouth, threatening to take down my jawline and replace with sacks of sagging skin.

Back in my thirties I dated an Australia guy who I remember showing me a picture of a fellow vet and describing her as pretty. She was pale, not wearing a scrap of make-up and her hair was totally au naturel – frizzy. This got me thinking and I asked him if he honestly thought she was pretty, to which he replied, ‘all girls are pretty.’ I instantly realised that he was right and how lost I was. Here’s a guy who has grown up surrounded by fit, blonde beach babes and still sees beauty in what I see as the average, non-beautified girl.

We live in a totally contradictive world where we are told that looks aren’t important and it’s what’s on the inside that matters. In an ideal, un-materialistic world this would be true, but if like me, you have grown up in an environment/society that is slightly obsessed with looks, then it is important to feel good and this is unfortunately linked with the perception that we lose our good looks (which we don’t appreciate in our youth, anyway) as we age. I’d love to say that I embrace age and truly mean it and insofar as becoming older, wiser and more self-assured, I do. But it’s also true that I find it hard looking in the mirror and seeing my-aging-self looking back.

Saying this I am a true supporter of growing old naturally. But I also believe that like everything in life you mustn’t take it for granted and there is always some degree of work involved in achieving anything worthwhile. Nothing comes easy, right? So… here it is – a little helping hand to delay, if not prevent the inevitable hereditary jowls (it is best to stand in front of a mirror to notice the effects/master the technique):

Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and lift the edges of your mouth into a slight smile. You should feel your cheeks lift also. Notice the difference??

Most of us let our mouth droop without even realising, coaxing everything around it southwards. Fear not, we can reverse it! Try to remember to do this as often as possible. The more you do it, the more you will instinctively hold your face this way. Remember how your mother told you to stop pulling that face because ‘if the wind changes it will stick like that’? Maybe, she was warning us all along!

Good luck! Oh, and remember, if you find that this works for you, don’t thank me thank my sister, Donna!


Who’s Judging Whom?

rainy-day-brisbaneToday is Friday and like every other Friday (besides holidays and half-term) it’s the morning of my two year old son’s playgroup.  Most weeks it’s me who takes him as his dad is working. Last week however, was Dad’s turn and seeing as there was no mention of any near-future cancellations, I set off for the church – just over a five minute walk away. The rain pelting down and wind whipping my face, I steered Dylan in his buggy in a somewhat noodle-like formation down the road using one hand only, the other holding up or shoving my fringe back inside my wet hood.

I have to admit that even on more inviting days, this hour and a half session is something I don’t look forward to and every week around Thursday, I hear the same niggling voice in my head encouraging me to find an excuse to not have to take him – like the atrocious weather today – perfect! Every week the same private argument takes place and each week my son triumphs. It is he who commands this battle and me, like all other mums before me, send my own insecurities to the reserves, knowing that his personal development is what truly matters here.

There are of course, reasons for my reservations… Dylan can, at times be a somewhat resistant child. When all the other kids are happy playing with toy pots and pans in the play kitchen area, Dylan is slamming the oven door, even when another child is using it as a tunnel to reach the other side. Kids, of course, are learning and I, as the mother have to make the right decision in teaching him invaluable social skills.  Being a forty four year old mum has its advantages and with it comes the gift of understanding and patience, but the latter can be stretched when he chooses to ignore you and screams or throws himself on the floor, or both, when you move him away from the situation. If this is not enough in itself, the judging eyes from the parents whose kids always play-nice press upon you and it’s at this point that if you could make one wish, you’d wish for a pair of glittery red shoes, click the heels together, return home and deal with him without the spotlight glaring over your ever-judging-self-conscious-self.

So, today I arrived like a dripping drainpipe (although, somewhat wider) only to find that the club was cancelled.  As the church secretary informed me, I felt the inevitable sense of relief, only to be met with Dylan’s tears the minute I turned the buggy to face home. Even behind the rain and condensation clad rain-cover, he knew and I wished for that second that I could take him inside – let him run around, make friends with other little people.

Dylan stopped crying by the time we reached the end of the street. The rain turned to a drizzle, his eyes closing, I walked past our street and before I reached the next one, he was fast asleep. Yippee –– extra time for mum to get some much needed work done, but all at a price of Dylan’s development time.

Coaxing the little troop of self-guilt invaders to the sound-proof place in my head,  I turned the key in the front door, made Dylan comfortable, poured myself a latte and opened my laptop, wondering: Do we, as mothers secretly enjoy being so hard on ourselves? Should this moment not be interpreted as the universe working with us or merely us taking advantage of a situation? Or maybe, even, a bit of both????