The put together mama. You know you have seen her. She is that woman at the playground that looks like she has it all together. Her children look like they jumped out of the pages of Gymboree. I look down at my sweatshirt, fresh with a new coffee stain. I see my daughter running towards the slide looking like a feral cat with her unkept hair. I ask myself if I combed her hair. I am pretty sure I did, but she runs off so quickly that her long hair tangles in the wake. I put a hand to my face. At least I remembered to put on foundation. I remember when I used to put on my whole face just to go to the grocery store. Nowadays, if I put on foundation to go anywhere, it’s a miracle.
I will admit that I am no longer the put together mama. I remember being her when I first became a mama. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t so put together when I first became a mama, but once the colic subsided and I was sleeping for more than two hours at a stretch, I definitely was back to my old self in terms of fashion. I remained that way all the way up to having my second child. Then it happened. I discovered track suits. Slowly, they crept into my wardrobe until I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t worn stretchy pants. (BTW, this is the 2007 equivalent of yoga pants). They were convenient, forgiving, and for a mama dealing with a baby with acid reflux, easy to clean. It just seemed easier this way. Sleep became more important than beauty, and if I could get a few extra minutes of it, I was not going to get out of bed just to put on make up, do my hair, and wear something other than the old standby. Sleep is precious, you know!
I find myself wanting to try though. I have been weeding through my clothes and getting rid of things that I don’t wear or can’t wear as I have lost 20 pounds this year. However, I am at that stage where nothing fits, and I am afraid to buy new clothes. The worst part is that the old standby is now falling off my bum too. This summer, I managed by wearing some fabulous, fun dresses by Hot Rod Johnny. They make me feel fabulous, and everyone compliments me everywhere I go in them. With a few cardigans and some leggings, I might be able to make them work for a while this winter. However, I still find myself not doing my makeup as much or my hair. I know not everyone is into dressing to impress, but when I am put together, I feel this rush of confidence. I love it!
I feel sometimes as mamas, we tend to put taking care of ourselves on the back burner. Sometimes it is just for that few more minutes of sleep. Sometimes it’s because we have our children in so many activities that we feel rushed. However, I think it’s important to take a few minutes to refresh ourselves, whether it is putting on makeup and doing our hair or just hiding in the bathroom to read a chapter of a novel. While I may never look like that mama who always has it together, and I know my kids will never look like they stepped out of a Gymboree catalog (well for longer than five minutes), I do want to make sure I am taking steps to make sure I take care of myself so I don’t burn out.
What do you do to take care of yourself, even when you feel rushed?