I read an article recently in which a young mother had grown tired of the way she looked as a stay-at-home mom. Her former self as a working professional had paid a lot of attention to her personal appearance and made sure she always looked her best. As a mother, her personal best had deteriorated from “Hell Ya” to “Haggard”. She’d fallen into that familiar habit of motherhood attire: yoga pants, no makeup and unkempt hair in a ponytail, if attended to at all. She realized something had to change when she caught sight of her reflection in a store window and mistook herself for a street person.
Now, if she did in fact look like a street person, then yeah, maybe a shower and a new pair of shoes are in order. But I’m pretty sure she was not sitting on a piece of cardboard, begging for money with tattered shoes and yellowing teeth. I’m pretty sure she looked like 90% of young moms and all she needed was a good day at the spa (which she would spend texting the babysitter or her husband about the kids anyway).
But then she went on to write how she turned herself around a little, made sure to shower daily, put on real clothes, a little make-up and took a brush to her hair. It took barely any extra time and she felt so much better about herself and urged all moms to try it because we deserved it.
I think that’s that last thing a ragged, sleep-deprived mom wants to hear. I felt sorry for her. And if I’d read that post back when my kids were young, I would not have been jumping on that bandwagon too quickly. My three kids are teenagers now and I am back in the paid workforce but I do recall the long stretches of my street person lookalike days. So what? My kids didn’t notice and they were the ones for whom I’d forsaken my ‘Hell Ya’ look in the first place. I am still to this day, however, deeply offended when my husband or any another man comments on a woman – a mother – suggesting, “Oh, she’s really let herself go.” Well, duh! She only has two hands and both of them are full.
It’s a phase of motherhood and I wouldn’t dare make any mother feel guilty for her motherhood dress code. Yes, I’m back to work but I don’t feel bad about my showerless, yoga pants days. They made me a better mom.
And by the way, you should have seen what my husband looked like after a single day alone with all three of our kids. Boy! Had he let himself go!