By: Mary Fran Bontempo
To hear an audio version of this column, click the play arrow below.

Every time I look in the mirror, the frown line between my brows looks more and more like the San Andreas fault line. It’s deep, it’s underground, so to speak, and it has the ability to send seismic shivers down my spine.

I’ve thought about Botox, but the mere idea of injecting anything, let alone poison into my face, gives me the willies, as does the idea that while I might come out of it frown free, I also might look perpetually surprised, like those Hollywood celebrities who always appear as though they’ve just won something at one of those insufferable awards shows.

So I was thrilled when I saw a recent headline touting a woman’s needle-less “discovery” which has so far allowed her to forgo any nasty procedures. That is, I was thrilled until I clicked on the link and saw the article under the following words:

“Woman Moves Face Less To Avoid Wrinkles, And It Works!”

What? “Woman Moves Face Less to Avoid Wrinkles”?

Clearly, this woman is not married. Nor does she have children.

The column, penned by thrity-something Stephanie Huszar (and that’s another thing—30? Slap on a few decades and then we’ll talk) and brought to us by, details the author’s realization that repeating facial expressions over and over was taking a toll on her face. Where once the skin snapped back, faint lines and wrinkles were forming as she aged.

So, in an effort to halt the permanent facial etchings, Stephanie decided to stop moving her face, utilizing “self-inflicted botox.” She put a moratorium on frowning, squinting, pursing her lips and arching her eyebrows.

These are the primary ways I communicate with my family.

You see, when my kids were young, I realized that a well-placed “Mom face,” laser-beamed at whichever culprit was commiting the crime of the moment, worked faster than any screaming I could get out of my mouth. In seconds, I could control a situation merely by arching a brow, or shooting a frown in the offender’s direction. Add a squint or a lip purse and they practically turned to stone on the spot.

The best part? It all worked on my husband, too. To this day one look can halt all activity in my house faster than shutting off the music in a game of freeze-tag. I rather pride myself on being like Medusa—but without the snakes.

So you can see why I’m conflicted. Of course I want to look younger. But give up moving my face? It would be total anarchy.

I suppose I’ll have to wait for another “discovery” to help me get rid of my wrinkles. Until then, I’ll be the one frowning—and happily freezing my family with nothing more than a glance.

Have you stopped time with your “Mom face”? Click “comments” below and share!

Article first published as The Power of the Frown on Technorati.