If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if I’d been to the hairdressers after I’d simply taken to the mop on my head with shampoo and conditioner (and dare I say a little longer for a quickie with the GHD), then I’d be in the Maldives right now holidaying with the family and a tag along nanny.
I would walk away from this question/ compliment wondering what the fuck I actually look like every other day and a little mortified that a simple wash made such a difference. Who needs to go and pay $250 odd to a hairdresser when apparently the $40 I had spent of a Tigi Bed Head Recovery haircare combo did the trick??
This really did get me thinking….. does becoming a mum really mean that we go from looking like we got shit sorted to simply looking like shit?? And if so then why??
Of course, there’s work to be done on our figures and we are so tired that our tired is tired, but that can’t be all we had going for us BC (Before Child).
So, I made a list, in no particular order, of some of the things that help us felines with ‘general upkeep’, beauty and confidence:
- Daily showers
- Hair treatments
- Face masks
- Blow drying & straightening
- Nails done & pedicures
- Baths and body exfoliating
- A good fake tan
- Maintenance of unwanted hair
- Our beloved hairdresser
- Dinner dates
- Movie marathons and downtime
- Time with our awesome lady friends
And there it is – holy shit balls! Well aren’t I, and those of you also with tiny tots currently screwed lol. I could probably write a whole book on why there are viable reasons that none of the above list ever get done in their entirety or at least half as often as required at this time but instead here are just a few instances to back me up.
Showers are now 60 seconds long while I sing and pull faces at the cherubs securely in sight so that I can get some kind of hygiene sorted for the day. I mean I don’t know if this is a relatable experience for all mums with young ones but my partner is out of the house at 4:30am and home most evenings between 6 and 7 which is a manic time for dinner, baths and bed. So…..if I want a shower, I need a plan or I need to wait for nap time. Nap time showers also present a debarkle because there is always a wake up risk and when that happens all hell breaks loose. I’ll start yelling out from the shower “it’s ok hunny, mums coming, one minute………… dooo dooo dooo, lalalala, ahhhhmm twinkle twinkle little star please let me rinse soap off my arse?”. I then race out of the shower, grab the towel, check that there aren’t any limbs hanging out of the cot and that she’s safe and I’d throw on the nearest t shirt and a pair of undies and get her. Only once things have settled do I manage to get myself dried off properly in order to work out whether I still had conditioner in my hair or if I had only managed to shave one leg this time. You truly have to laugh when these things happen because a fly on the wall would be pissing itself and once you are dried and dressed the humour of it all sets in, hopefully! It’s just a shower FFS. But its’ how it is for so much more then the shower when you have little, tiny people requiring you at every turn.
I remember buying a face mask, some bath salts and messaging the man one mid-morning to give him a heads up that when he got home it was pamper time for me for one whole hour. He happily obliged and as soon as he walked through the door I bolted for the bathroom and ran a super warm bath with essential oils, salts and applied one of those masks that dry and peel off in 20.I had the nail clippers close by and an exfoliating mitt and I was ready for my heavenly refresh. BRING IT ON!! 5 minutes in and showtime…, “What are doing mummy?”
I open my eyes and there’s my 4 year old bombshell looking over me. The man came bolting in to get her to go back to the loungeroom, the poor little things confusion was real “But I want to have a bath with you, isn’t that a great idea?” Of fucking course it is lol, we sighed and smiled and in she came. I got my mask and I managed to cut my nails but in hindsight that is not what this time was for. Those things were props if you will, for what was really going on. Down time, quiet, relaxation, a space of pure nothing and that need was not met. Did I have a fun with my little miss in the bath? Yes I did but subconsciously that me time that every human craves and needs got put aside again and it builds to a point where you will inevitably crack or go a little nutty.
I think it’s safe to say that a deep sleep is something we no longer have at all. That wonderful, uninterrupted, a tornado could hit and I aint budging’ sleep?? Gone. You are on high alert 24/7, ready to jump out of bed to tend to any noise or solve any problem that may impact the safety or the rest of your kin. I am guilty for being one of those parents that jumps out of bed at lightning speed if, god forbid, I’ve slept for more than a two hour stint without checking the girls. I need to see their little tummies moving up and down, to check that a blanket hasn’t been kicked off, that no one’s wet through their nappy and that all is generally well. Being a fully functioning, alert and able insomniac is as far as I am concerned my superpower. It’s apart of the job that takes a toll on not only our sanity but to a large degree the face we present to the world. Lack of sleep creates stuff like puffy eyes, the dark circles, the tired skin, wrinkles and, as previously mentioned, it is linked to weight issues. It’s also kindly linked to hair loss and if you have had an experience like I did after breastfeeding finished and you lost that much hair that it looked like a puppy had joined you in the shower, then this was not good news. It’s true…totally off topic but that great hair you rocked through pregnancy falls out with a vengeance once your hormones start getting back to “the norm”. So sleep gets a call out here as well because it is a massive part of beauty regimes for everyone, the physical implications of the rest mummies with youngsters get is real!
I decided I’d get myself a shellac machine so that I could maintain that side of things at home in my ‘spare time’….ahhhmm with every bit of due respect, what the fuck was I thinking. The first time I used it was a success!! Baby was at her grandparent’s place, so I just had my eldest. She picked the colour and inquisitively watched me paint my nails while we had a chat and played I spy. This is awesome I thought, gone are the days of my nails being covered in chipped paint by day 2 of freshly painting them because I wash them a bazillion times a day. 2 weeks later I’d managed to pick of the outgrown shellac and thought I’d go for round 2 (Cherry red was the next pick). Bub had just gone down for a nap so I started painting. No sooner had I finished painting the middle finger on the second hand when I heard the little turdette stir and then giggle and then “mamamamama maaaaaa”. Please oh please let me just get this dry and I’ll do the rest later I thought, stay in there and chat for just another 2 minutes.. Nope! At the realisation that no one was coming she bellowed and rolled round and then thud, hit her little head on the cot. So, in we went to get her. Have you ever tried to pick up a baby with wet nails?? It’s not easy, in fact it’s an impossible mission if you want their clothes and your hands to stay nail polish free. There I was, on the couch with smooshed nail polish all over my fingers and on one barely worn gorgeous little onesie. Outcome: The onesie got binned, my shellac machine went on gumtree and my hands stayed a blotchy cherry red until the kids had gone to bed that night.
Nothing releases the feel good hormones and the sensuality of being a woman like a dance between the sheets with your person and the almighty O before the song is over. I can’t vouge for everyone, but from foreplay to sex and even a little make out if time doesn’t allow for the rest, it’s like pressing a refresh button. It takes you to a place where nothing else matters, where you feel all loved up, sexy and like….well a woman … a desirable sexy ass mother fucker . Physical affection, even just touch has so many benefits to not only our psyche but to our literal body and how we look. Sex is said to be good for your skin, to balance hormones and relieve stress. In turn when you balance out hormones and stress less you are more likely to lose weight, sleep better and feel happier. So why aren’t we all jumping on the bonk wagon more often?
Because being interrupted mid romp by your children happens, if you even get that far in the first place and its fucking awkward. These little people hijack our bed at least 60% of the week as well so…. If time permits the hallway or the couch will have to do and unless your kids are at your parents for the night, taking your time is a no no. Doesn’t sound very enticing does it. There is rarely any spontaneously hot sex happening, it’s more like “grab your diary baby, where can we fit this in.” I have even heard couples complain about this when they have a nanny or a live in au pair, so if you are parents of little ones and you are fitting sex in more then 1-2 times a week I salute you!!!!
I remember one night when my eldest was just over one … she was fast asleep and we thought we would seize the moment and have some us time in bed. No sooner had clothes been thrown off then we heard “Daddy??” Thank god blankets were on because there she was standing up in her cot with a clear view straight into out room. At this stage, all you can do is laugh. There have been countless amounts of times that we’ve thought we could grab a quickie, or that a cheeky text is sent with every intention to tucker the little ladies out so that we can have an “early night”. It never ever goes to plan and one time too many times we find ourselves in compromiseable positions (quite literally) that have come to hilariously awkward halts because of the kids. There’s so many meme’s and quotes out there that insinuate that mothers can’t be bothered to have sex. We are too tired, we have a headache, or we are just simply never in the mood. That may be for some and I to an extent I get it. But I have found that just like sleep begets sleep, sex begets sex. So go on, shake things up, shave those pins, spray a little perfume and throw a lacey number under those formula stained trackies. If you haven’t lost your drive then like me, you’ll understand that date nights are a must if you can but that’s not usually a reliable go too if you want to indulge in this activity regularly. Unfortunately we have to settle for quickies a lot of the time, or a midnight wake up shag. It is what it is but in conclusion sex is a huge staple in our feel good and look good regiments so get fucked where you can. (pun totally intended)
I’ve you tubed many a mummy workout in my time and up come these video’s with mums in their gym gear squatting their babies, doing push ups and planks while they pull faces at them and working out with their littlies in highchairs while they dance around and get a lunge or two in. With my first, this idea worked a treat. 3 times a week there we were. Was it ideal? No, not at all but was it productive, helpful for my body and mind and in turn helpful for my little one because her mummy was feeling good? Absolutely. You will never get the results you could get if you had an hour to yourself to go to the gym, do weights or go for a good run, but it’s something and I take my hat off to mums that get a workout or 3 in a week no matter what. You guys are awesome because it is so much easier to just give into the tiredness and chaos and throw the effort into a too hard basket.
If you are however a mum with a human like my second little lady then you have bucklies of getting any workout worth doing in. This kid isn’t easily entertained, she wriggles nonstop and is literally go go go. I tried many many times to make this work, some friends would say “just let her whinge and cry, she’ll be alright” and I wish I had it in me but …nope. My stress levels go through the roof and any kind of workout goes down the gurgler. So …Plan B…the good old nap time. This is a touch and go situation because her nap times are as all over the place as she is. Plan C…..I put together 3 workouts each week now. 10 mins arms, 10 mins abs and 10 mins butt. When I feel I have a quick 10 minute slot I grab it and get one out of the way, this is sometimes a 4 or 6 minute stint but by the end of the day I have done all 3 as best I can and perhaps squeezed in a run if mum or the man are around. Again, not ideal but the intention and respect for myself and my health is there. The key to this in my experience is keep trying shit out until something somewhat works and then go with it. Eventually there will be a little routine and both girls will be older and happy to go about their own play time while I get a decent workout in, but that times not now. I should probably note that I’ coming from a space of no daycare at all for either child, for reasons that would require a whole other chapter, so some of you ladies will find this scenario easier then others. Whether it’s working out, meditation, yoga or a run, find whatever it is that is good for your body, mind and soul and try to scrape it in. You’ll be unsuccessful at least half the time but the intention and effort is huge and has such a positive impact on your sense of self and self -worth. So pick your poison and seize the moments when they come to honour yourself in whatever way that is.
Time with the ladies
I LOVE my ladies. My amigos are the best out there and I’m not afraid to say that. I don’t think I’m embellishing at all, they truly are. Some have been with me since I started kindy and most since high school, 2 are my sisters and the rest may as well be anyway. These women keep me sane, keep me laughing and have helped me out of many an emotional jam over the years and entering motherhood was no different. They are my voices of reason, my sense of normality and I in turn theirs. Gone are the days where I “duck out” for anything let alone a quick coffee catch up with a bff. If you are with little peeps in tow then the kitchen sink must be packed first and you’ll end up wearing whatever you see first to throw on in the seconds you have to do so. Most of the time I’m applying lippy and a little mascara during red lights on the drive and tadaaaa.. I can only hope I don’t walk past a mirror at some point that day wondering how I have suddenly grown the balls to leave the house like that. Catching up with the ladies has changed dramatically, sure I get those nights here and there where we all get out for a bite and wine without the kids, but majority of the time now chats are interrupted by nappy changes, feeding or the general attention your beautiful ones require when they’ve done something fabulous or when they want to be seen while doing something fabulous. I leave a lot of girly dates with us all in agreeance that we need a “proper” catch up because it’s basically been a play date. I by no means am complaining, but it comes back to that good old word…balance. When you are used to seeing your lady friends as regularly as I was, it’s a huge adjustment when that drops down and the dynamic has changes when get togethers happen.
How is this an imperative part of one’s beauty routine??? Because, if you are fortunate enough to have a tribe like mine then you’ll laugh from a place in your belly you never knew existed, you’ll unwind and vent and be understood no matter how big, small or crazy your dilemmas seem, you’ll belong in this space and you’ll find the humor in what wasn’t all that funny moments ago. You will leave your vagina’s only catch up feeling revived and “rehinged” in areas where you feel you had come undone. The conversations shift from mum life and the kids to blow jobs and who has had a bum poke of late. From what we want to get done at the next hair appointment to that promotion at work. For a time I am just Me. I mean I am always Me but for those few hours I’m not Me the Mum, Me the Partner or Me the Visual Merchandiser. I’m not the Me whose trying to figure things out or whose missing her once perky DD’s or the Me whose ticking off the daily to do list. I am just…Me and that right there is priceless.
And there it is. If I sound like a woman with a bag full of whinge then I apologise but I’ll own it because it is tough and anyone who says otherwise or that feels they can’t relate to any of the above is perhaps in a little denial, we have all been here! Signing off on that and finding the humor is key guys, it’s not blissful joy at this stage, it’s blissful chaos. I am by no means ungrateful, I have a great life and I am in love with the 3 people I have the privilege of doing life with, BUT easy isn’t a word used often right now. Someone once said to my partner when Bub number 2 was born that 75% is shitty at this stage and its tough and exhausting, but that 25% that you get when it all comes together makes it all worth it. I think that’s a sound statement and one to remember.
In conclusion, “No I haven’t had my hair done” and sometimes I’m going to look like a disheveled pile of shit. But I will inevitably wash it when time allows, I will apply some lippy or visit the nail salon. I will not get sleep right now so I will cover those suitcases under my eyes with makeup and I will make a point of applying that bright night serum to help my tired skin as often as I remember too before my head hits the pillow. I will jump on that bonk wagon when I get the chance and be prepared for the awkward interruptions. I will book date nights in with my man and lock in those vag only catch ups with the girls. Sure plans will fall through, baths will seldom be had alone to the tune of waves crashing on my iPod, and there will be days where one arse cheek is in pain because it’s the only one that scored a workout the day before. I cannot maintain myself the way I once did at this point and that’s a huge pill to swallow in our generation especially, when looking like you have shit sorted is all the craze. The truth is I’m a mum with two kids under 4 and no that doesn’t give me the green light to have pubes dangling out the sides of my underwear or to walk around with 2 day old clothes on with wee stains. But it does mean that the days where I look a far cry from the me I love are just days and those days are warranted. They will pass and as long as my intention is to work toward being the yummiest mummy I can be in my eyes and that of my partners, then that’s what matters. I have baked and birthed two children, does that make me a wonder woman?? Damn straight it does. And so are you, so own all the moments in their entirety… the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly!