The Rockwood Files: When things get ugly


By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It’s getting ugly over here – literally. An irregular showering schedule is one of the unexpected side effects of staying at home to wait out the coronavirus. My crew of five looks, well, a little off.

Although our hands have never been cleaner, the rest of our bodies? Not so much. Bed head is the new standard look around here, and our three teenagers don’t even bother brushing it most days. They tell me they’re brushing their teeth, though, and I can only hope that’s true.

It’s a good thing those fabric hair scrunchies are back in fashion because I’ve been wearing one daily. Does it match my outfit? Um… what outfit? My outfit has been a series of pajama pants and t-shirts for weeks now. I try to make the daytime pajamas a little nicer than the nighttime pajamas, just so I’ll be less embarrassed when the grocery delivery driver knocks on the door. But at this point, I’m guessing he has seen a lot of pajamas and bed head all over town.

The kids, however, have lost track of how many days it has been since they changed pajamas.

Me: When was your last shower?

Kid: Shower?

Me: Yes, you know the thing in the bathroom where water comes down like rain? The thing you use when you need to get clean?

Kid: Oh, yeah, the shower. Um…I think it was, like, a few days ago?

Me: A few? How many is a few?

Kid: I dunno… what day is it today?

Me: Thursday.

Kid: And what month is this?

Me: Go take a shower and change those pajamas before you mold.

Another thing that isn’t happening during this bizarre spring break quarantine is shaving. Our son, who turned 18 a few months ago, has sprouted so much stubble on his chin that it’s beginning to look like a Chia pet – a Chia chin, if you will.

I’ve told him it’s not a good look on him. He just grunts and goes back to sleep, only to emerge from his room sometime past the crack of noon.

But I shouldn’t be critical. It’s not like I’m winning any beauty contests. Makeup can be expensive, so I haven’t wasted a drop of it since this whole debacle began. I read an article that said a time-out from wearing makeup is good for my skin, so I’ve embraced that advice. Poor Tom is contractually obligated to love and cherish me, so he can’t say much. And it’s not like the kids can trade me in on a better-looking mom.

That being said, I’m beginning to miss having a reason to do my hair and makeup and look like the “regular me.” Now and then, I catch a glimpse of a pale, freckled creature roaming the hallway wearing pajamas and realize it’s my own reflection in a mirror. Maybe I’ll start wearing a little makeup now and then, just to protect my self-esteem.

Although we’re great about following the rules for how to go outside in a safe, responsible way, the rules in the Rockwood kitchen have relaxed considerably. It will probably take us the rest of the year to undo the calorie damage we’ve done in the past few weeks. No comfort food has been off-limits as we stress-eat while watching the news each day.

Pasta? Check. Ice cream? Check. Cheetos Puffs? Absolutely. (But we’re refraining from licking the Cheetos dust off our orange fingers, out of an abundance of caution. I think we should get credit for that.)

Despite the stress-eating, the scroungy pajamas, the pale face, and the chronic bed head, I have hope. After an intense thunderstorm last night, the sun came out today and shined down on the green grass and the tulips beginning to emerge from my flower bed. It reminded me that storms eventually pass. Better days come. Toilet paper gets re-stocked.

So I’m praying that one day soon the whole world’s medical prognosis will begin to look so much better – and so will we.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of Her book is available on Amazon.