We didn’t have a whole lot growing up, but I never really truly went without. Sure, they might have been Sikes instead of Nikes or the off-brand of Keds from the Woolworth — have I dated myself with a reference about Woolworth and Keds? Keds were the jam back in my kid days! — but we had food on the table every day and the love from family surrounding us, so it really wasn’t bad. It definitely could have been worse. But one thing I always wanted, even through adulthood, was braces.
Braces, among other things, were definitely not in the budget growing up.
Over the years, it’s something that I always thought about, wondering what if and what would it be like and how happy I would be with the results. I watched my friends get them and transform from little snaggley cute kid smiles to show-stopper choppers. That million-dollar smile. Oh, I was jealous.
I continued my journey through life, always with the thought in the back of my head — that “what if.” I even got as far as a consultation with my dentist about getting braces, and then in the blink of an eye, life turned into marriage, buying the house, and starting the family — and naturally, priorities shifted and finances were mostly spent on things needed for the kids. During those daycare years, we were basically working just to pay the weekly tuition and just surviving the period with a 2-year-old and an infant.
As parents, we tend to put our needs last to make sure our kids have what they need. So even as an adult, I’m still walking around in off-brand things while my kids can live their best lives — you know what I’m talking about. I do, however, buy myself Nikes now and not the Sikes! Skincare and haircare are also my top treats. You have to “treat yo-self,” right?
As my mom journey has evolved, the friendships I have found — that I otherwise might not have formed had it not been for our kids bringing us together — have turned into really supportive, non-judgmental friendships. It’s a mom thing. We get it. We get each other. The hard days, the long days, the happy and the sad days. You won’t click with every mom you meet, but when you do, you do. Sometimes it’s instant, and sometimes it happens over time.
One day, I was casually talking to one of my mom friends about my oldest son going through the process of getting braces, and I mentioned that I have always wanted them, too. She looked at me dead in my eye and said, “Just do it. Do it. In fact, I have them now,” she says. “The Invisalign!” We continued to talk and realized that she and my son are going to the same orthodontist, and she told me that they do work with adults, which I didn’t know — and there are also affordable payment options. It was as if the universe meant for us to have this conversation and for me to hear it from a fellow mom friend. No mom guilt, just go for it. And long story short, I did! Something about her telling me to just go for it, even though my husband had been telling me the same thing for years, just clicked for me. Maybe it was because she was also doing it too, or maybe it was confirmation to let go of the mom guilt.
I went with traditional braces, and my son and I now both have orthodontic appointments together. It’s a fun bonding experience to talk about how our teeth feel after a tightening and all the foods we have trouble eating or can’t eat right now. I would have never done it, I don’t think, if not for my mom friend encouraging me, and that means so much to me. I think more than she will ever know. She even gets me all excited when she tells me she already sees a shift in my teeth. She’s my dental hype girl, ha!
I stare at my teeth every day, watching and waiting, and I slowly see the change happening. And man, that makes me so happy.
So, what I’m also trying to say, besides just go for what you’ve been wanting and stop putting it on hold is, never underestimate the encouragement and support from a mom friend. We need more of this. No matter how close you may or may not be, we moms get it, and we want to see each other shine. Maybe not everybody is here for you and that’s just life, but in general, moms will (and should) support other moms.
I can’t wait to get my show-stopper choppers, and I never would have done so without mom support. So this goes out to my mom friend who also happens to be a jiu-jitsu mom friend of mine as well, which is another bond altogether!
So, just go do it. Whatever “it” is. It’s never too late. The mom squad is cheering for you from the sidelines!