In my (embarrassingly) naive youth I remember thinking about how when I became a mom I never wanted to let myself go. I heard horror of stories of people—usually women—who stopped caring about their appearance once they became parents.
The other day when I was looking at myself in the mirror I noticed a drastically different person staring back at me. My face was bare, with the exception of my naturally flush cheeks and freckles, and my eyes were puffy as if I hadn't gotten enough sleep despite a perfect 8 hours the night before. My hair was thinner, and shorter, yet still soft and wavy. I didn't look run-down--I looked mature, and my untouched skin hasn't looked this healthy since I was a kid. However, all these aspects of my appearance would have caused my former 19 year-old self to think that I had become that parent and let myself go. Have I?
If choosing to be content and confident with how I look without makeup makes me that parent, then yes.
If choosing to cut my hair out of change in thickness and for a more mature style makes me that parent, then yes.
If choosing to ditch certain facial peels because of chemicals makes me that parent, then yes.
If choosing to quit tanning because it could give me the skin cancer I’m susceptible to makes methat parent, then yes.
If choosing to play with my child all day and cuddle with her part of the night, which in turn exhausts me, makes me that parent, then yes.
Perhaps it isn't that parents let themselves go; perhaps the reason for their changed appearance has more to do with instilled confidence in their new lifestyle and coming to a mature understanding of what actually matters in life. That may not be the case for all parents, but that’s the case for me, and it might be the case for you, too.
Now I often ask myself, "Do I want to spend an hour doing my hair or makeup, or do I want to spend an hour cooking and eating a healthy breakfast?" Some days I do both because I want to, but on the days I don’t feel like wearing makeup I skip that part of my routine without a flinch. Becoming a parent has made me more practical and grounded. My body has changed, but I feel empowered and beautiful without makeup and with a touch of Moroccan Oil to scrunch my hair.
I guess I have become that kind of parent. Who knew it could be so liberating?
Happy Mother’s Day,
Birth Doula at Mothering the Mother, Inc.
Mommy to Audrey Aliana