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Moms Don't Owe It to Anyone to Look Good

There have been a few times in my life as a stay-at-home parent when I have vowed to do better about getting dressed and actually "doing" my hair (read: combing my hair).

Come on, Chaunie, I might say to myself. Your husband deserves a little more than that spit-up/exhausted/dark circles-for-days look you're always sporting! And it will make you feel better, too!

My resolve would last approximately one day. And it would be the day that, of course, the baby would somehow project some kind of bodily fluid onto my carefully chosen "real" outfit or pull my hair while she was nursing so all my cute curls would turn into snarls around her fingers.

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Or by breakfast, after getting donned up in a cozy sweater and jeans combo that was still comfortable enough for home, I would have to tackle the morning dishes and be forced to remove said cozy sweater. How the heck does anyone who stays at home all day with kids wear long sleeves? Am I the only one who spends so much time cleaning, wiping butts and changing diapers that I have to pull my sleeves up or they will get soaked? Please tell me your secrets—I am begging you.

You don't hear anyone suggesting that dads try some fancy new hair tutorial on YouTube to feel good about themselves, do you?

I know all the stuff they say about how getting dressed makes you feel better and how taking the time to put on real pants and maybe swipe on some lipstick is empowering to moms, especially the stay-at-home variety because it shows we still care about ourselves, dammit.

But at the same time, you know what also feels good?

Sleeping in to the last possible second because my kids are up 8 bazillion times in the middle of the night. Oh, and also? Rising above all the advice that insist women rely on their physical appearance to have self-worth. I mean, come on, already. You don't hear anyone suggesting that dads try some fancy new hair tutorial on YouTube to feel good about themselves, do you? Or that splurging on that new shade of lipstick will give them the boost they need to tackle the day? Sounds ridiculous, right?

Can't we just let moms who are struggling to even make it through the day be 100 percent OK with getting by on the bare minimum when it comes to their physical appearances? Can't we just say that sleep deprivation and milk stains are beautiful? Can't we just give those of us who have too many postpartum rolls to fit into our jeans a break when it comes to that whole leggings-aren't-pants debate?

Obviously, I have no beef with the fashion and beauty industry, and I'll admit that I feel prettier on date night when I take extra time with my appearance, but I'll also admit to you that on a general, day-to-day basis I am rocking a messy bun and athletic gear. (I've upgraded from yoga pants to cropped athletic leggings because I am much more likely to work out if I'm already wearing the clothes. It's like half the battle, honestly.) I never get dressed in real clothes or do my hair and makeup, and frankly, I really don't care anymore, either.

I am a mother just trying to survive, to hang on by a yoga pants thread.

My hope is that eventually I will have more time to do my hair and makeup and get dressed in real clothes that I actually fit into again. Part of me does worry that I'm creating bad habits now by eschewing all forms of vanity, but there HAS to be a time in my life when sleep is an actual possibility and my kids don't require me to literally do everything for them, from cutting their food to wiping their shit, right?

I know that doing my hair and getting dressed might be important to some moms and I say kudos to you. I'm glad you show the rest of the world that motherhood does not equal letting yourself go.

But I am not that mother.

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I am a mother just trying to survive, to hang on by a yoga pants thread, somehow squeezing work into my home life with four kids and maybe do frivolous things like shave my legs now and again.

So until the day comes when I am actually able to finish a cup of coffee while it's still warm, I will just take my cue from the universe and admit my defeat. I will be rocking the messy bun, no makeup, leggings look without apology or letting myself feel guilty about it.

Because sometimes, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

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