Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Ok, this is not exactly a deep Gospel commentary, but I have reached a huge stepping stone.

I wear make-up to go to mass.

I hate make-up. I was as reluctant to wear it to prom as I am now. I hate the way it feels. I am much more inclined to go for a run than to go to a fasion show. in utero baby sitting on a nerve that allows only 45 minutes of sleep at a time, plus three years of mommy sleep deprivation, added to a year of working on the '04 elections, preceded by 4 years of Princeton have apparently left their mark.

Mainly in the form of dark circles beneath my eyes.

So I bit the bullet. I started putting on make-up. I have given this some thought, because I don't like to wear it. I am not doing it with a fly-lady-get-dressed-to-the-shoes mentality, but rather, to show that I can look like a resonably put-together mother who takes joy in her family. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I'm tired. Just trying to put my best foot forward and show that I respect those around me. Does this sound crazy?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has reached this point!!

**(If Mr. Incredible reads this, it would behoove him to comment that your beautiful wife doesn't need make-up.)


Katherine said...

Texas Mommy,

Honestly, I hadn't thought about wearing makeup but I know those dark circles. I have never worn makeup - I hate the stuff and see it as a money muncher. I had just thought of those circles as new permanent marks to my appearance barring some expensive weekend at a spa for which I would never agree to pay.

Now that you mention it, I might take it up myself though. There is enough negative thoughts about SAHM moms, homeschooling moms, moms of many children - all of which I plan to be. Maybe it would be beneficial to present them as bright-eyed.

Much thanks for the food for thought!

Right Said Red said...

Texas Mommy,

As an athlete, I never regularly wore make-up until I became a mother. The dark circles just had to go...and cover-up was the only way they would go away and I could feel put together and human. At the moment, I am very thankful for my cover-up as I have an enormous, likely stress-induced zit on my chin that even Mr. Red commented looked much better after I applied the foundation ;-)

But...all things in moderation. I just received a call from a Mary Kay lady who offered to give me a free make-over. I politely, but strongly declined. That would be taking it too far, for now. I'll save the Mary Kay lady until I am over 30, I'm only on on the brink.

Juris Mater said...

Texas Mommy, this realization also hit me like a ton of bricks maybe a year or so ago. I've become quite a bit more fashion conscious and also more prone to wear makeup regularly. I now see both as worthwhile expenditures, even on our tight budget. I think it's somewhat related to apostolate--like you said, we want to look like we're uplifted by our vocation, not saggy and tired and pathetic. Second, as you mentioned, it comes down to respecting others enough to show that I take an extra minute or two out of my day to look my best for them. Third, I get enough strange looks and comments for having 3 very little kids in tow (one still in the hopper), it's enough to deflate even the smug self-confidence of Barack Obama... I need all the help I can get to feel good about myself, and makeup and decent clothes make a difference. Finally, perhaps the biggest realization for me was, I'm only 27 and it's not THAT hard to look good and fresh, but as I age, it's going to become much harder. I darn well better take the extra minute to look decent while I still have a fighting chance.

Plus my husband is SO excellent with dress and hygiene, it's rubbing off on me. That makes a huge difference. I think I'd tend toward major slobbiness if he weren't always looking handsome and put-together, even around the house. What a dreamboat : )

Mary Alice said...

Wow, I had just been thinking about this issue, what a timely post for me. Perhaps it is the impending 30th birthday, but I have been a little scared by what I see in the mirror.

This may sound superficial, but I know the headmistress at a Catholic girls school who used to encourage her teachers to look nice -- the young girls will be more open to your influence if you are attractive. I think that this may be a fact of life.

Also, my husband is like JM's, always with shoes shined, looking and smelling fresh, so I have been thinking recently that he deserves a bit better.

Right Said Red said...

I'm still awaiting a comment from Mr. Incredible ;-)

Rob said...

Mr. Incredible here...I have always said (and will continue to say) that my wife does not need makeup. She looks beautiful without it. If she feels that she looks better with it and is more confident in her apostolate because of it, fine...but I would prefer we save the money and chuck the stuff. Of course, she wears it so rarely that I imagine the makeup she wears is probably the same stuff from high school.

Anonymous said...

Well, I beg to differ, but for full disclosure I should say that I stopped wearing makeup completely while in grad school, before marrying. I wasn't fooling anybody--makeup changes my appearance far less than the industry would like me to think. And I usually think that about other women, too: tired women wearing makeup look like exactly that. Except from a good distance, it doesn't conceal fatigue. Even though I homeschool, I help with the parish Rel. Ed & the mommies picking their kids up (not SAHM's)are usually made up and still look run over.

But it's good to hear about the wardrobe question. Having left my professional life & now maintaining a healthier weight than pre-babies, it was a shock to discover how much my wardrobe had basically become day-time pajamas.

texas mommy said...

I will admit that I don't actually spend any money on make-up. I do still use stuff that my mom bought me to touch up for my wedding pictures and use the Clinique freebies that my parents get to replace the stuff that needs to be replaced like mascara.

I should note that Dash was VERY concerned as he watched me apply mascara having no idea what I was doing and quite sure I was going to hurt myself.

I think that dressing well also can set a good example for your kids (though I think this may apply more to girls). Don't get me wrong, Jack-Jack played outside in his diaper yesterday, but it can't hurt to raise the bar a little bit, especially if you are homeschooling. One mom in our parish puts her 7 school-aged kids in uniforms for homeschooling.

I just fail to apply this "dressing well" principle to toddler boys who play in the mud in the spring.

Juris Mater said...

MaryAlice, HUGE great point too about kids being more open to the influence of parents and adults who look put together and self-respecting. Kids are always more perceptive than we give them credit for (someone said this in a recent comment), and I'd be embarrassed to look back and realize that my young kids started developing the notion that I'm clueless or out of touch in some ways because of the out of touch, lazy way I presented myself on a daily basis. I think that's a real threat. My AMAZING mother in law--a mom of 9 devout, generous, all-around-superb children--doesn't leave her bedroom in the morning without her hair looking modern and well-kempt, light makeup, and fashionable casual clothes. She's always an example to me.

On a related note, for better or worse, I have the amusing situation mentioned in a recent post of having an almost-3 year old daughter who is really, really into good looking clothing. If she doesn't like what I'm wearing (and she's usually right), she asks me to change. Gone are the days when I could get away with a plain t-shirt and exercise shorts even around the house--she won't eat her lunch until I shower, put on decent clothes, and sit down with her. I can't even get away with plain button-up maternity shirts, because she thinks they're too masculine and that I look like daddy on the way to work. She requests that I look both fashionable and feminine. Nothing like a little loving correction from your 3 year old. The quandry that comes out of this is she wants to wear makeup now too--I tell her I'm putting it on to look pretty for daddy when he comes home or to look nice for our neighbors at the playground, and she can't understand why she doesn't get to wear my makeup to look pretty for daddy too. Do your kids do pretend makeup? She's getting some for her birthday, and I tend to think it's fine in moderation, especially if it's in the context of looking pretty for daddy or for Mass rather than dressing up for the handsome prince.

B-Mama said...

GG and I have decided that even for our boys, a well-dressed, put-together mother will go a long way into influencing their future life choices--personal dress, partner choice, etc. When the family, in general, is put together, respect for one another seems to be a given.

All things in moderation, of course. Juris Mater, I don't think a little pretend make-up will do her any harm!

AWOL Mommy said...

JM, go with the pretend stuff, or she will just reek havoc on yours. No one is going to pass moral judgment on you as you: try to nurse a newborn while juggling a toddler, thereby allowing Bella to shower herself in lavender eyeshadow in the next room -- at least I won't!

Kat said...

Someone mentioned spending a lot of time in pajamas...I realized at some point that I was doing the same, but also realized that my pajamas looked old and frumpy, so I decided to ask for a nice pair of pajamas for Christmas. I've also asked for nice-looking workout clothes since I spend lots of time in these types of clothes in the summertime, and found that it makes a big difference in my mood. When I feel like I look put-together, even in PJ's or exercise clothes, I feel much more confident and motivated!

As for make-up, my biggest problem is not knowing exactly what I should wear and how to apply it. I think I may ask for one of those free make-overs that they do at the department stores :)

texas mommy said...

Kat- Ditto on the make-up problems, though what I did learn was because my mom made me take a "lesson" from a make-up counter at the height of the debutante ball season.

Maybe we should ask Bella to give us all lessons? JM, think she could tell us what to do?

Juris Mater said...

Bella charges no fee for a comprehensive personal-appearance consultation, all you need do is pay for her airfare. Her service is all inclusive--makeup, dress, hygiene, posture, the works--so don't expect her to limit her criticisms to the bags under your eyes. If you need help shopping, she also has very strong opinions in the dressing room and will provide this service upon request. You can book her consultations through me:

B-Mama said...

FYI, I'm planning a personal trip to Sephora sometime in the near future, where they will do free consults on just about anything! If you've ever walked into the store, it is an amazing conglomeration of every hair, skincare, and beauty product on the market!

I've gotten some wonderful hair prod. recs from them in the past!

Mary Alice said...

On kids and makeup, this warning, play makeup can be fun, my girls love it, but then a friend gave them some grown-up make up to play with and all of the sudden they looked like prostitutes! Even in play, I felt the need to discourage this. We are now sticking to the play stuff, very subtle blush, lip gloss and sparkles. Holly brings lip gloss every where she goes. She and Bella would get along well!