I always take a shower. ALWAYS. Even if the baby won't nap, even if I've got less than thirty seconds, I take a shower in the morning. If I don't, I spend the rest of the day feeling like warmed over week-old meatloaf and I don't know about you, but feeling (and smelling!) like moldy leftovers totally ruins my day.
However! I often stop there. I drag a comb through my hair, pull on some yoga pants (which have never actually participated in yoga) and start my day of Feeding and Playing and Picking Up Toys. If we go to the grocery store I might change into a pair of jeans. If we're going to a moms group I'll put on a pair of jeans AND hunt through the diaper bag for my lost lip gloss. Otherwise I am pretty content with the stretchy waistband and ponytail look.
Until I see the moms in my US Weekly (what? it was a GIFT subscription) who lost the baby weight in four weeks and are wearing stilettos and hair extensions and lip gloss they probably keep in a real purse. "Not fair!" I snap to myself while I turn the page and deposit another heaping spoonful of ice cream into my mouth. "They probably have PERSONAL TRAINERS. And HAIR PEOPLE. And STYLISTS. And someone around who can help them pick out the right shade of foundation. No one expects ME to look like THAT."
Unfortunately for me I have a handful of friends who DO look like the moms in US Weekly. I know! Who decided I should be friends with these people?! And sometimes they drop by my house to say hello while I am wearing my not-for-yoga yoga pants and my ponytail and my completely naked face and I have to open the door and see their beautifully makeupped and exquisitely coiffed heads. And then I am forced to think to myself, "SHE doesn't have a stylist! Why can't I look like HER?!"
The answer to that question has two parts. The first part is: Because one of us totally lucked out in the gene pool AND IT WAS NOT ME. Seriously. You cannot get a pair of sculpted cheekbones and hair that behaves out of a pot of eyeshadow, people.
The second part is: One of us puts some effort into how she looks AND, AGAIN, IT IS NOT ME.
Some days I look at my face in the mirror and give up immediately. Blackheads! Blemishes! Short stubby eyelashes! A nose so large it could be an Olympic ski jump! What can possibly be done about this face? NOTHING. If I spent hours and hours painting and primping and drawing, I might look like my pretty put-together mom friends. Sure, if I just took the time to do my hair. Or find my lip gloss. Or swipe on some mascara. But who has time for that? Who can bother?
Well, for starters, MY FRIENDS. It has recently occurred to me that I can't complain about how blah I look when I don't even TRY. It's not like my friends roll out of bed looking like Picture-Perfect Barbie. I have seen their makeup drawers and their hair curling devices and their bottles of lotions and potions. And they have babies too. IT CAN BE DONE!
I'm not really interested in looking like a movie star mom, which, when you think about it, is really a completely pointless endeavor, or at least one requiring massive amounts of surgery. And for the most part I'm FINE with my all around lax-ness in the Cleaning Up department. I'm pretty sure my kid does not care if I'm wearing moisturizer or not- his pears taste the same. I'd have to be wearing a bouffant and an evening gown to get the attention of my lovely yet oblivious-to-such-things husband. No, looking like I didn't just stumble out of the house in my pajamas is for me. If I looked decent when I'm wasting time at the mall then I'd feel better about myself. I have a closet full of Office Clothes I haven't touched since I got pregnant. It might feel good to wear a pair of nicer pants when I go out to meet my mom friends for coffee. I might even try putting on earrings! How novel!
I know it is possible to have a baby AND look presentable while grocery shopping- I just have to make an effort. I just have to decide how much of an effort. Because, you know, I've been the Yoga Pantsed Friend for so long I don't want to shock everyone when I bust out the Softly Curled Hair and the Lined Eyes and the Pink-Tinged Cheeks and the Scent That Is Something Other Than Shower Fresh Deodorant. I think I need to start small, like actually finding that lip gloss. I spent $20 on that thing, I might as well use it.