Being Beautiful

It happened again this morning. 

And when it did I spent several minutes contemplating the unfairness of motherhood and drudgery of housewifery, and the choices I made that brought me to this point of degeneration. 

Ok, that was before my coffee. A little caffine goes a long way toward boosting my mood.

What happened was this: I noticed my fingernails. 
I could show you a before and after picture of my nails, one from the day I got married and one from this morning, but it would only depress you. Once when we were going to a friend’s wedding I waited until 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave before I painted them, but in those ten minutes the baby had a blowout diaper and by the time we left my nails were ruined. It seems that no matter how often I wash my hands, there is always something under my nails, or if I paint them it’s always chipping. I tried the new Shellac manicure, the one touted to last 2 weeks, and within 2 days I had a chip. 
Noticing the nails led to noticing the bags under my eyes, wondering how long it had been since I went through my whole beauty routine, wondering how long it had been since I put cream on my face and plucked my eyebrows, wondering if my husband would notice, wondering if I had time to shower before the kids started telling me at the top of their lungs that they were awake…. Nope. Too late. 
It hasn’t always been this way, though. I used to be borderline obsessive about my appearance. In college I once declared a week-long makeup fast. I was going to give up makeup, simply for an experiment in self-dicipline. It lasted 2 days. I never, ever, left my dorm without a shower.  I wouldn’t even THINK of going anywhere in sweatpants or without fixing my hair. When we got married we spent 4 months in Japan, arguably the fashion capitol of the world. I picked up some fashion-forward habits from Husband’s cousins and aunts. When we got back to the states I got a job in a call center and was repeatedly told I was the best-dressed in the office. I loved it!

Then I got pregnant. 

I still did my nails and hair, but stretchy pants became not only acceptable, but eventually necessary. I actually ASKED my supervisor at work if I could wear them, and she looked at me like I was nuts. 
“Of course!” she exclaimed, “You’re pregnant!” So I wore them.
That was almost 4 years ago. 

I’m not sure when the shift came from “I must wear a full barrage of makeup or I am not human” to “makeup is for when I’m leaving the house or having people over” or even more recently, “makeup is for church and special occasions”. It helps that my husband has always encouraged me to go natural, he has always told me he prefers my face without makeup. But to me, I still look ‘unfinished’ without at least some eyeliner and mascara.
Of course, putting on mascara always reminds me that I need to go get my hair cut, because my bangs are now indistinguishable from my eyelashes. So I push them out of the way, and… YIKES! Maybe I should get my eyebrows waxed while I’m at the salon. 
Who is this woman looking back at me in the bathroom mirror? She has CROW’S FEET and STRETCH MARKS and… those aren’t just bags anymore, we have graduated to a full-fledged DUFFLE.  Not to mention zits. Who in the world is still getting zits at my age? 
I think I’m in a slump. Yeah, that’s it. When the kids start school I’ll have time to brush my hair and teeth again. Maybe go get my nails done. Maybe even *gasp* get a facial. 
But you know what? I was getting ready to make breakfast the other day, and I was already dressed so I was tying on my apron. It’s one of those frilly numbers that is more looks than function, but I love it and it keeps my clothes mostly clean. A sleepy little boy wandered into my kitchen and looked at me with bleary eyes, and a huge smile spread across his face and he said, “Oh, Mommy! You look BEEEEAUTYFULL!”
And in that moment, every single wrinkle, every single gray hair, every stretch mark, night without sleep, and day without makeup, every single thing I’ve given up or altered to be their mommy was totally and completely worth it. 

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