A popular saying goes that when couples marry, women think they will change their husbands and men think their wives will never change. Yeah… good luck with that, people. I heard that statement years ago, and it stuck in my brain forever. My question to you… Now that you are married, does your appearance matter?
Why am I bringing that thought up now? If a pandemic doesn’t provide an excuse to wear sweatpants for a year, I don’t know what would. But seriously, before you got married, when you were dating, did you dress up for your boyfriend/girlfriend… Now a spouse? Then kids came into the picture. Did you still dress up or did that go by the wayside?
I know, why bother, right? You are exhausted from sleep deprivation and there’s a good chance that your body has changed and you have no idea what looks good anymore. How much could your appearance matter, after all? What’s the point of paying attention to your appearance?
There is a point. You. You are a valuable person. You have added a title, a big one, MOM, but you are there. That pre-baby woman still exists. You deserve to take care of her. You know what the airlines say…”Put your oxygen mask on before you help anyone else.” I’ve been a parent for nearly forty years, so believe me when I say that you really do need to attend to your own needs. Because you deserve it, because your life has value, and also because this is how you teach your child how to care for her or himself.
I’m glad that I took time for myself throughout my daughter’s growing-up years, and beyond. I am sixty-seven and I can look in the mirror and know that the woman I was, is with me. Am I different? Of course! I am wiser and more patient. I may look crappy in a bikini, my micro mini skirt days are over, and I certainly don’t look 30 anymore, but the trendsetting, fashionable, businesswoman? She’s still there.
I have been in the fashion and beauty industry since 1977. As a result, I think about fashion and beauty more than the average person. OK. Way more. I consider that fact a perk, not a liability. Just as my accountant can think of cool ways for me to save money, I think of cool ways to look and feel great, and what visual messages we are putting out there with our appearance. You think your sweats don’t convey a message? I am here to tell you that they do!
What’s that other saying? When Mama’s happy, everyone is. Treating yourself is part of being happy.
Motherhood is profoundly draining. We give and give and give some more. We sacrifice sleep, hot meals, a social life, and sometimes our careers. Mothers do not need to give up everything. There are so many ways to pamper yourself. As a shopper, you can enjoy fashion in vintage stores, sporting goods stores, boutiques, huge department stores, discount places, and online. You can read. Take a bath. Exercise. Whatever it is that makes you feel renewed and refreshed, you need to invest in it.
Let’s talk about skin and teeth. We get one set. It’s never too late to pay attention to them… sooner wins over later, but again, it’s never too late. It’s the same principle as saving money. A little bit of systematic saving adds up… so does self-care.
Because I have taken care to maintain myself, physically and emotionally, I see the dividends today. It has given me confidence.
As I mentioned, it’s like saving and investing money, which I am also good at. The payoff, in your sixties, is worth it. It happens sooner than you can ever imagine, getting to your sixties. When I think about these two subjects, self-care and money, they have a lot in common. I never made a lot of money in one year. I did, however, systematically save every year, every month. Now, money is not an issue. I have enough, plenty, as a matter of fact.
What has that got to do with the way I look and take care of my physical health? Good question.
It’s the same principle. Paying attention to my appearance is a step-by-step investment in myself. I wash my face and apply products that keep my skin younger, every day, twice a day. Sometimes that routine comes from discipline. Do I feel like washing my face and caring for my skin when I am exhausted? Definitely not! I do know that every night you don’t wash and moisturize, you age two days. If you don’t have the discipline to “self-care” when you are exhausted, wash up the minute you have finished dinner. Once you sit on the couch to relax, watch TV, or read a book, you are a goner!
I am super vigilant about my teeth. Nothing says old faster than yellowed teeth. I invested in those trays the dentist makes for you… an impression of your individual set of teeth. Once or twice a year, I apply cleaning white strips to my teeth. The trays keep them in place better, and the whitening process is more effective.
I take the time to apply makeup, even if I am hanging around the house. Who is watching? First and most important… I am watching. I always feel better with a light foundation, brows, and something on my lips. Did you know that foundation keeps your moisturizer in and the bacteria from the environment out? If I have to run out of the house with barely a minute’s notice, I feel assured that I will put my “best foot” forward.
When you take the time for yourself, it shows, and the world will treat you better in return, including your “in the house” world.
Also, I keep moving. I tried the gym thing; it pleased me only if I was doing it with friends. When I realized the gym wasn’t doing it for me, I didn’t give up physical fitness. I simply found other activities to make me feel happier. Again, a little every day is better for me. I found ballet, yoga, kayaking, walking my dogs, biking, and my favorite, skiing, to be my happy place in the movement department.
What is the dividend of investing in my appearance? Confidence!
I can face myself in the mirror. It feels good when people tell me that I never change. That’s also funny. Of course, I have changed. I get it, though. I do look good, and that makes me feel even better.
Back to confidence. Since I invested in myself and my appearance, I have the confidence to go out and I am happy to see people I haven’t seen in years. I know my kids and my teenage granddaughter want to be with me and they want to have new experiences with me. And, it is nice to know after 41 years, my husband still thinks I’m hot. I believe my appearance matters.
I am so glad this article gave you food for thought. Thank you for reaching out.
Nan – I love this article. It is a great reminder of the things that are important to me too but I have definitely out by the wayside with young children. You are an inspiration!