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The first year of my son's life, I burned my wrist five
times with a curling iron. I wasn't trying to self-harm. Although,
that depends entirely on how you see the act of curling your hair.
Before I had children, curling my hair was a slightly cumbersome but essential part of my morning routine: Wake up, work out, shower, curl hair,
apply make up, get coffee and head to work. Sometimes I skipped the hair curling, choosing
instead a blow dry and a pony tail. But that was my decision entirely, one made
based on how late I chose to sleep in that morning. And I could do all of those
things and be at work by 8 a.m. if I woke up at 6:45 a.m..
Now I have two young children and doing my hair is
an extreme sport in which one or all of us are likely to be maimed or injured.
And we have. My son is 2 now and my wrist still bears the scars of my curling
iron incidents—all of which were caused by my inattention due to a screaming
baby, a head-butting toddler and an exhaustion so deep, I'm still not entirely
Even a quick flat iron of my hair is a dangerous enterprise.
We have a small bathroom and my children have both tried to grab the flat iron
cord or the actual iron, sometimes resulting in injury but mostly just tears and
You are lucky if I'm wearing pants.
Now, in order to get my children to school by 9:30 a.m., I have to wake
up at 5:15. I work out (sometimes), grab a quick shower (maybe if my son isn't
up by the time I get in from my run), get coffee (occasionally if I can drink it
fast enough while getting breakfast for my kids), then my husband relieves me
of my duties so I can shower (sometimes). But I never have long before he's out
the door and I'm still wrapped in a towel surrounded by kids who want to help
me pick out my clothes, put on my make up or splash water all over me. Let's not even talk about what happens if my kid is up before I even have a chance to work out. Those days, you are lucky if I'm wearing pants.
Recently, my friend Emily, who had two children in two
years and has always been in my estimation someone who is fit and very
stylish, met me for a playdate wearing loungewear and no make up (she still looked great). But at one point during our talk, she demanded, "What
do those 'put-together moms' give up to have their hair curled!?"
It's a good question. A friend of mine who works full-time
admitted that she has the nanny come early, so she has time to do her hair. A
relative has her husband take the kids to school so she has time to get ready.
But even then, those women admitted to not putting on eyeliner or skipping the
curling iron or rolling into work with wet hair and putting on make up at their desks, because their kids were up all night.
"It's just too much," Emily told me. And she's right. Mom blogs, articles, Instagram feeds and
websites all feed into the "hip mom" trend—where moms are instructed on how to
look fit and together and do it all while children swarm your feet. It's not
hard, they tell us. You just have to buy all these expensive products. Try harder. Get your kids involved.
By the time I have time to shop, all I want to do is drink a lot of whiskey and watch "Justified."
I once read a blog (which I will
not link here) that recommended putting on your eyeliner before your kids woke
up. Lady, I would be putting on eyeliner before six in the goddamn morning if
that were possible. And it's not. The only way putting on foundation is remotely possible is if I turn on some "Octonauts" and hope a rebellion doesn't begin. Sometimes it does and then it's always a question of whether I can put on mascara before someone bleeds.
I can barely handle clothes shopping because
by the time I have time to shop, all I want to do is drink a lot of whiskey and watch "Justified." I recently subscribed
to StitchFix, which is a huge help, but let's be honest it's a luxury. The
clothes are more expensive than the clearance rack at Target or Walmart. I can't
afford it every month.
Even a decent face cream for a middle-aged mom of two whose
hormones are crazier than that meth head who stalks my local Taco Bell costs
enough money that I just wind up using the kids' eczema cream (which is surprisingly excellent at being a face cream, although at $10 a bottle it should be).
I feel completely ambivalent about the problem. On the one
hand, I do enjoy looking like I didn't just crawl out of a Taco Bell at 2 a.m. On the other hand, your mom styling tips can go burn in the
deepest recesses of hell.
I used to make fun of moms for their mom jeans and outdated
modes of fashion. But now, I get it and I want to celebrate it because those
ladies are the true heroes. The women who say, "I'm going to wear these spit-up-stained yoga pants and my unwashed hair and give you the finger"? They deserve to be featured in magazines. And they probably had time for coffee.