I’ve always been a bit ‘high-maintenance’, I suppose. I don’t like to admit it, but it’s the truth. I like clothes and fashion. And make-up and shoes. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but my mom did always make sure we had new clothes. And, despite my questionable fashion choices early on, she attempted to make sure that we looked our best.
I spent my teenage years pouring over Vogue, learning the fashion designers and their styles. Experimenting with different looks. Spending a lot of time on my physical appearance. I carried that with me through college, and by the time I started my career, I felt pretty confident in the way I presented myself: a fashionable, professional, and well-kept look that easily went from the office to a dinner date with my husband.
And then I became a mother.
The change didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like, “BAM. Had a baby, let myself go.” But I did start to notice myself letting some of these little things fall to the wayside, such as…
Showering/Hair Washing/Leg Shaving
Pre-Kid: I used to be a shower-every-morning type of girl. Complete with full leg shaving and hair washing. But I was younger. A lot more energetic. I had a lot of disposable time. Most importantly: I only had to get myself ready in the morning.
Post-Kid: I’ve become a night shower person. Ain’t nobody got time for morning showers. And I’m doing good if I wash my hair two times a week. What about the leg shaving, you ask? I’m 36 weeks pregnant right now. YEAH RIGHT.
Pre-Kid: I would spend 30+ minutes blowing out and styling my hair every morning after the luxurious morning-shower washing. I also got very regular touch-ups on my color and cut. My makeup would be another twenty minutes – the works. After a face mask and a light exfoliating in that shower, of course.
Post-Kid: There isn’t enough makeup in the world to cover up the dark circles under these eyes. But I still usually try to slap some on in under five minutes or I’ll have a kid trying to ‘help’ me (look like a rodeo clown). I typically end up with one eye more mascara’ed than the other and eyeliner where it shouldn’t be, but whatever. And my hair? Phillip sees me approximately every 2.5-3 months. By that time, my roots are about two inches long, and I’ve cut my own bangs about six or seven times (he can always tell). Styling my hair is usually a no-go. I wash it once or twice a week after the kid has gone to bed and let it dry overnight. A quick straightening job or a few curls in the morning if I have time. I’ve perfected the art of dry shampoo and wear a hat or chunky headwrap on the really bad days.
Pre-Kid: A carefully chosen, professional outfit. Freshly laundered or dry-cleaned. Sometimes ironed. Matching bag and shoes and coat.
Post-Kid: Usually something that I’ve pulled wrinkled out of a laundry basket (that I’m praying is full of clean clothes that just haven’t been put away yet). Always sporting some dog/cat hair somewhere. And sometimes part of my coffee by the time I make it to the office. My bag matches only by stroke of luck. My shoes are usually scuffed from my mini-me modeling them through the house in the evenings. Clothes are based on comfort first, style second. Black leggings are a staple. Bras are grudgingly put on only when I must leave the house.
Letting myself go a little bit has been unintentional – something I swore I’d never do in a million years. Over the course of four years, my whole general style has changed. Before becoming a mother, no one saw me without a bra or makeup or unwashed hair. I bought clothes based on what was trendy and cost wasn’t much of a factor.
I think this sweet daughter of mine has made me a lot more comfortable with myself. She doesn’t care what I’m wearing (although she has told me a certain pair of shoes I own are ugly – and I guess she’s probably not wrong). She tells me daily that I’m beautiful – made up or not – and I have no choice but to believe her. She’s four and four-year-olds are brutally, beautifully honest. And I can honestly say that letting myself go a little was a beautiful thing.