Before having children, I promised myself I wouldn't become a frumpy mom. ("I'm not like a regular mom. I'm a cool mom.") However, when my first child was born, I realized just how difficult it would be to keep that promise. There were days when she just wanted to be held, and it was all I could do to escape for a three minute shower. Then there was the 3 month period where she needed to be fed every two hours per the doctor's orders, and our routine consisted of breastfeeding for 10 minutes, feeding her a bottle for 10 minutes, and pumping for 10 minutes. Every. Two. Hours. It was nearly impossible to make a hot meal for myself much less put on makeup or do my hair. And don't even get me started on adjusting to life with a second child!
The thing is, though, that if something is a priority we will make time for it. If it's not, we'll make excuses. It might sound vain to say that my own appearance remained a priority after having kids. I realized, though, that if I were going to take my jobs as mother and household manager seriously, I needed to get dressed and ready for the day. Much like schools that require their students to wear uniforms, I knew that my appearance would affect how I felt about myself. And how I felt about myself would affect my attitude and job performance throughout the day.
I learned this lesson early on from my own mother. When we were kids, she never let us leave the house looking unkempt or sloppy, because it would show those with whom we came into contact that we didn't respect them or that we didn't care what they thought. This isn't to say that women must put on makeup to fit society's standards - not at all! In fact, my mom didn't let us wear makeup until we went to high school. It was about looking clean and well-groomed.
I think the same lesson applies to motherhood, but on a more personal level. I have experienced first-hand how easy it is to get lost in my role as a mother, always taking care of others and forgetting about who I am as a person. Putting on some makeup and making sure my hair is done (even if it's just dry shampoo and some sea salt spray) makes me feel more like myself and ready to take on the day. When I take the time to put on clothes that are clean and fit nicely, it reminds me to take care of the body God gave me to live in, not hide it or be ashamed of it. Trust me, this is no small feat when you're in the postpartum months and nothing fits and everything is covered in spit up!
Listen, I'm not saying I always have fresh highlights and manicured hands while wearing designer clothes and high heels. I stretch my haircuts out as far as I can, and we have a pretty modest budget for clothes as teachers. In fact, there will be many times when appearance falls by the wayside, because you just had a baby, everyone in your house is sick, or you're spending a day at home doing chores. However, as part of my every day routine, I get up a little earlier to put on makeup and do my hair, pick out a clean outfit that fits well, and even add a few accessories. It's important to me to look put together, so I make the time for it.
The bottom line is, when I take the time to care about my appearance, I feel happy and confident. When I feel happy and confident, I'm a better mother, home manager, teacher, and business owner. For the next few Wednesdays I'll be writing a series on different aspects of caring for yourself as a busy mom. Let me know if there is anything you'd like me to include in the series! It's also helpful to hear what other moms are doing, so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments of each Wednesday's post!