Blog contribution by India Celeste. You can read more from India Celeste on Show Biz, My Biz or by following her on Twitter @india_celeste.
Being a new mom is a lot like scoring a new job. You’re really excited about it (in most cases) but you also have to be prepared to handle the expectations of the job title. Parenting is definitely a “career move” and much like our careers, you have to readjust in order to survive. When you become a parent, you get so used to being responsible for controlling everything that you often forget to control yourself. Usually the first thing you leave off the To-Do List is your appearance. Maintaining a beauty standard may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of overseeing someone else’s life, but sacrificing a lot of things that once made you feel great about yourself is a quick way to become resentful of being a mother. We don’t want that!
The way we look often influences the way we feel and if you happen to pass by a mirror looking refreshed, your energy level usually rises as well. In addition, receiving compliments may also help you to overcome any physical insecurities that you may be feeling while you’re attempting to regain the body structure you had prior to pregnancy. If you’re a single parent, it’s twice as hard to find the time and energy to worry about holding yourself together, but I have met many single mothers who are making it work!
No one expects you to walk around looking like Victoria Beckham, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Lopez every day. If they didn’t have staffs of people assisting with their faces, their hair, picking out their clothes and on-call babysitting, they wouldn’t look like that either. However, there are a few things that you can do throughout the week to help freshen up your appearance from day to day that won’t take too much time but will still allow you to represent yourself and not just the title of “Mom”. When you feel better about yourself you’ll feel better about your kid and I think that’s a pretty good trade off for the effort.
MOISTURIZER AND MASCARA
It isn’t necessary to wear makeup to look put together. All you need is great skin and open eyes. When you just need to run out of the house to run errands or are short on time, making sure to apply a great moisturizer will help your skin retain that dewy look and keeps your skin feeling very soft. Many moisturizers these days also contain levels of sunscreen and anti-aging agents for various age ranges. Most people also look a lot less tired when they consistently wear moisturizer. If you’re someone that forgets to apply moisturizer during the day, you can also opt for a night cream that you can apply right after you put your child to sleep. When I’m running out the house, I usually apply a day moisturizer right after I wash my face or just wet it whereas on the days I don’t go out anywhere, I’ll apply a night cream after I brush my teeth or remove my lenses. Either or both options work well. It’s always better to invest in your moisturizer than your facial cleanser because you wash cleanser right off whereas your skin absorbs your moisturizer. Another thing to do if you don’t have time to apply makeup is just use a volumizing mascara. Mascara makes your eyes look bigger and makes you look more awake and mesmerizing and helps focus attention on your face rather than the body you’re working to get back.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUNGLASSES
Sunglasses are a default look anytime you need to cover up any exhaustion during the day that moisturizer and mascara alone can’t mask. Of course you want to make sure that you get a shade that hides the eyes rather than a rosey or orangey shade that is easily see through. As long as you get a shape that is opposite your face shape, it’s the fastest way to glam yourself up for a day in the park or dropping your child off to the babysitters. If you’re expecting a little more human contact such as going to lunch with friends, you can even add a touch of lipstick or gloss just to give your face the faux appearance of a fully made up face.
COSTUME STUD EARRINGS
Depending on the age of your child, you may have a toddler who is experimental and learning to play with things. A safe and simple way of appearing more well-groomed during the day or night in public is to have a few options of colorful or eye-popping studs that cannot be easily grasped or pulled from your ears by children. I would save pearl or flashy studs like diamonds and crystals for more special occasions such as holidays.
COTTON KNIT TOPS
Cotton is a fabric to keep in your closet for tons of reasons, and fortunately so many things are made in cotton these days that it won’t be hard to do. Cotton is inexpensive in comparison to lots of other fabrics such as silk and wool. The great thing about cotton is it can be worn year round in several different styles and it is one of the easiest fabrics to clean. It cuts down on costs because it can be machine or hand-washed and most stains are easily removed using the right products, which is essential when dealing with kids who often get messy hands when eating or playing. Cotton is also one of the most breathable fabrics and absorbs water, so it can help keep you cool when you’re running around for your little one and can help trap in some of your body heat when it begins to get chilly. Another advantage of cotton is that it’s often combined with spandex and therefore offers some stretch if you’re still in the “losing baby-weight” phase. You won’t feel so stuffed into your own clothes.
I know a lot of women are self-conscious about showing a little leg sometimes, but when you’re a new parent, time is often a factor. The great thing about dresses is you don’t have to coordinate them with other pieces for them to work. You can quickly throw them on, throw on some shoes, and you can be out the door. A line dresses look best on pretty much every body type and height is never really an issue because A-lined bottoms can look well above or below the knee. You can also easily wear dressy shoes during the warmer months and throw on a boot in the colder months and make use out of the same dress. Make sure to try to have at least one black one and at least one colored one per season to throw on for those days that you just need to look like you tried or when you suddenly find yourself needing to dress up for an event.
LOW – MEDIUM HEELS
Unfortunately we are in the age of the 5” heel thanks to so many couture designers who don’t have customers with normal lifestyles, but the good thing is many designers are still creating interesting shoes at normal heights. Challenge yourself at least twice a week to wear 2” – 3” heels while you’re out running errands or enjoying your few moments of adult interaction. Wearing flats every single day will make your feet hurt worse once you’re ready to transition yourself back into a somewhat regular social life. Low to medium heels for a few hours at work or at an event will not only make you continue to look like the sexy mom you are, but you’ll feel like it. Heels are great for posture and strengthening your legs and there are many brands available to add gel padding for the problem areas your feet may be experiencing while you’re getting back in the groove of things. Heels will also dress up your outfit on those days that you really want to stay comfortable in your jeans or to add additional pomp to your A-line dress or skirt.
Where would any of us, mom or not, be without our huge purses? Large totes and satchels are popular now more than ever, and it’s the best way to take advantage of being stylish while you’re carrying around your child’s pacifiers, toys, and wipe cloths. It’s up to you whether you prefer one giant open space or several compartments, but either way you have tons of options. If you’re a person that usually opts for black, try a large bag in a cream or tan color or with an interesting look such as snakeskin or animal print. Avoid suede and leather unless they are synthetic because the maintenance of such bags can get pricey once they get soiled. The pro of carrying a large purse and/or tote bag is it isn’t as cheesy or generic as carrying a diaper bag and you still have room for some of your own stuff!
I think hair pieces are the most underrated accessories these days and they aren’t just for young girls anymore. Hair accessories can save your life when you just don’t have time to do your hair or just don’t feel like it. An embellished headband or printed headscarf can work wonders on the days you want to let your hair flow free and on other days, decorative hair pins and hair clips can make the messiest of buns look glamorous. Hair accessories are the perfect touch for the days you decide to go au naturale with facial moisturizer or using your sunglasses.
Ever been jealous of your own reflection? You will now.