There’s always been something very sad to me about the moms who go into public looking like they just rolled out of bed, especially if their children are meticulously maintained. You know these moms. They wear sweatpants or ill-fitting jeans, baggy T-shirts, and it’s obvious they didn’t look in the mirror as they scraped their hair back into a clip or —worse—a scrunchie. They look weary as they push darling children in coordinated outfits around the grocery store. It’s as though the mother exerted every ounce of effort into keeping her children looking tidy, and when it came to her own appearance? She just gave up.
Early on in my marriage, I swore this would never be me. I would never give up on myself, and would always remember that I was more than a nose-wiping, diaper-changing servant. Those were the days: I had a rule that I would shave my legs every day, no matter what. My husband didn’t deserve to snuggle with somebody prickly. I was working full-time, so I looked pretty polished on a regular basis. This level of dedication lasted through Baby Number Two.
But then I left corporate America to work from home as a part-time freelancer and we had Baby Number Three. Let’s just say that the current chances of my legs being prickly on any given day are pretty high. When I stopped having to dress up to go to work, I stopped dressing up. And there are some days when I don’t get dressed unless I have somewhere to go.
Oh, no. I’m that mom.
This realization hit me as I was showering yesterday...at 5:00 in the late afternoon. I was showering not just because it was necessary (it really, really was), but because I had to be somewhere at 6:30. I’d had a busy day, with kiddo schedules and housework and writing, but there was no excuse for making it through an entire workday sans shower. The best thing I can say for myself is that I don’t own a scrunchie and that my sweatpants take the more acceptable form of yoga pants. Gulp.
This trap is so easy to fall into for moms who don’t work outside the home. Maintaining our appearance is something that we can bump down a long to-do list, until it’s so far buried we forget it was ever a priority.
As I reached for my neglected razor, I felt something rise up in me. I’m more than a mom, despite how important that role is to me. My husband, who tells me daily how beautiful I am, loves me the way I am. I truly believe that. But I also believe he deserves better than someone whose beauty regimen consists solely of brushing her teeth. After all, he’s my permanent boyfriend. When did I stop thinking of every night I get to spend with him as a date?
So I’ve recommitted to avoiding being the mom at the grocery store looking like she lost her mirror. But more than that, I’m recommitting to investing in my appearance for the simple fact that my husband, and my self-esteem, are worth it. As I sit here in the early morning writing this post, I’m proud to say that it’s in real clothes, with styled hair and even touches of makeup. I love being a mom, but that’s not all I am.
Somewhere, beneath the yoga pants and the stubble, I’m the semi-hot chick my husband fell in love with. And I need us both to remember that.