When my daughter was about four, she looked at a picture of my pre baby. She looked at the picture and looked up at me, and did this about five times. She looked up at me and said “This is you?” I said yes. She responded “What happened Mommy. You used to be so pretty.”
Four year olds. Got to love their tact.
My initial reaction was to wonder how I was raising a child who put stock in appearances.
And then I looked in the mirror.
Sweats. Oversized Giants T shirt. (I’m sure something was stained) Hair that hadn’t been trimmed in a loooong time. Perhaps my face was washed…perhaps not…
Unfortunately, I think you get the picture.
I’d had a kid and let myself go. I mean really go. Gone so far…
My reasonings are multiple and confusing. First off I was a mother and time just seemed to slip away. If I had extra time, ha ha ha, I would try to read or nap. Grooming was something I squeezed in. On top of that, I had a mother who was obsessed with her physical appearance- I won’t bore you with those details, but it’s not easy to grow up the daughter of someone like this, and therefore, my goal as a mother of a daughter was to show her to just be herself and that outer appearance doesn’t matter.
But at the moment my daughter wondered why I no longer looked like I did in the picture, I realized that I was still sending my daughter a bad message, even though it was totally different. I was showing her that Mother’s don’t take care of themselves. I was teaching her that when you’re a Mom it’s ok to put everything and everyone else ahead of being a person.
I was teaching her that I, as a Mother, didn’t matter.
Mothers come last.
Mothers take care of everyone but themselves.
So yes- as many pointed out this week, many women ease up on the routines of beauty once they become Mothers. I totally get that. Been their, done that, had the stained t shirt…
There’s a difference between not spending as much time on ourselves and letting ourselves go.
Maybe you don’t have time for a hairstyle- but make sure you get regular trims and get a cut that is maintenance free. Don’t color your hair at all if you end up with four inch roots… And really-just wash and comb your hair on a regular basis!
Avoid sweatpants and your partners XXXL t shirts that they got for free as a promotion.
Clean clothes (I had a friend with a four month old- she was going out to lunch with a single friend . Her shirt was stained and her friend remarked on that and she told her friend “Doesn’t matter. Whatever I wear will be dirty by the end of the day.” True- but how much do we give up?
Lip balm and sun screen and moisturizer- these are preventive, not vain. Wash your face at night with cleanser. Trim your toenails and file your other nails.
You don’t have to look like you’re going to tea with the Queen, but you should do your best to be clean and neat. If your children and spouse always look done, why should you be odd one out?
We can’t let young children be an excuse for stopping maintenance. We need to spend a little time on ourselves each day.
We have to treat ourselves like we do.
We need to send a message to our families that we matter. That we are not just spouses, partners and parents, but we are unique individuals who deserve to take care of ourselves, even if it’s just taking ten minutes at night to wash up and put on lotion.
Why do Mothers think they need to be martyrs?
Why do Mothers think that everyone else and everything else comes before them?
Self care comes across as narcissistic. I get that it can get like that…
But self care is also just that: taking care of yourself so that you can be the best you possible…
We matter. Let’s make sure everyone knows that.