Life with the Girls

Perfectly Imperfect

In this Mother’s Day edition of “Life with the Girls,” Constance Costas reflects on how her lack of domesticity eventually (if accidentally) helped her daughter grow to rely on herself.line

When my baby girl said mama for the first time, I looked over my shoulder, wondering if my own mother–the real one–had entered the room

Oh, honey, I wanted to ask her. Are you sure we’re ready for that? 

I’d been winging it through our first sleepless months together, getting it wrong as often as I got it right. Like an intern suddenly promoted to CEO, I hadn’t yet earned the title.

I grew into the mother role, though. We all do. And now that my daughter has reached her mid-twenties, I’ll tell you a little secret: An imperfect mother makes a far better teacher than a perfect one. How do I know this? Because my own weaknesses have become my daughter’s strengths.

Life with the Girls

The Reduction

Constance Costas was hoping for more noticeable results when she went under the knife. The failure to get what she wanted, she realized, lay as much with herself as it did with her surgeon. In this month’s “Life with the Girls,” find out why she felt fooled, and what it took to finally find her voice.


Constance before…

My conversations these days are peppered with photos. Ask about my friend’s wedding and I’ll whip out my phone, scroll to her fabulous dress and play you a video of the first dance. Photos get the message across in ways words can’t always manage.

So it seemed odd when I met with an excellent plastic surgeon to talk about a breast reduction and noticed there wasn’t a photo in sight. After two more consultations, my unease upgraded to concern as I sat across his office manager’s desk. She reviewed my pre-op paperwork before asking brightly, “Any questions?”

“How will he know?” I ventured, trying to assign the right words to the hazy question mark that lingered in my mind.

“Know what?” she asked.

“My size? Why haven’t I seen any pictures?”

I’d always been a modest B-cup, which crept up to a C after having two children. Menopause brought hormonal upheavals and ten extra pounds. By the time a Bra Fit Expert got me into a 36E, my girls had become impossible to conceal. While some women delight in this midlife bonanza, I felt betrayed.