I was reading flipflopmamma's blog - one of my new favorites - and she posed the question "Do Clothes Make the Mom?" (To give credit where credit is due, she actually expounded on the topic from another mom's blog, which is also very good. Flipflopmamma posted a link so you can find it there.)
So how do you dress for everyday life? How about makeup? Here's me: I've gained weight (again) and refuse to buy any more pants, shorts, jeans until I lose it. This means I'm stuck with three pairs of jeans, one pair of shorts and few casual skirts. Add to that a dozen or so Old Navy Perfect Fit Tees in a variety of colors, several ribbed tank tops (I find the term 'wife beaters' offensive), and non-ribbed tank tops. I use these to counter the ridiculous tan I get from wearing tees. You know the one: tan arms, white pasty shoulders. I also have a few camis but I feel a little bare wearing them. I'd probably feel differently if I lost a few pounds.
I hate to iron and fortunately not much in my wardrobe requires it. If it's wrinkled, I can toss it in the dryer for a few minutes. Before I stopped working 4 years ago when Son #3 was born, I had a nice wardrobe of business suits, twin sets, skirts, dress pants, high heeled pumps, matching handbags, accessories...In my new life, it just doesn't fit (physically or figuratively) so I donated almost all of it. I own several pairs of shoes, but usually choose from among three favorites. I wear them until they wear out and then I buy more.
I do wear makeup. Jane Iredale Bare Minerals Loose Powder Foundation. It lasts pretty well on my oily skin in our humid climate and the sunscreen aspect is amazing. It offers good coverage (I'm prone to redness and broken facial capillaries) yet feels weightless. I line my upper eyelids with a gel liner (Clinique Limited Edition Gel Eyeliner in 'Black Honey' - a deep brownish-burgundy color with subtle sparkle), black mascara, and a semi sheer lip color (currently Clinique Almost Lipstick in 'Black Honey'). If it's a dressy occasion, I'll line the lower lids and add a coordinating eyeshadow. I never wear blush since I'm too rosy naturally.
I wash my hair every morning, which is harsh, but necessary. If I'm wearing it down, I'll blow it dry and depending on which conditioner I've used, I might even put the flat iron to it. I'm going gray faster than I care to admit so I use Natural Instincts semi-permanent color every 3-4 weeks on the root area only. I've had problems with permanent hair colors in the past so I'm not inclined to try them again - at least not as a do-it-myselfer, and I can't afford the expense of monthly salon visits.
I never paint my fingernails (they're too soft so nail polish never lasts more than a day). I do sometimes use Neutrogena Nail Enhancer. I also do paint my own toenails. Pedicures are a nice indulgence, but I'm not sure how I could get away from the kids long enough to get one done on a regular basis.
So now that you have a visual image of me, contrast it to this: there are two moms whose sons are on Son #2's baseball team. They're very nice ladies. They have the time and the money to work out at the athletic club. Both are pretty tan - I don't know if it's from their community's swimming pool (our 'community' pool is my neighbor's inflatable one), or a tanning bed. Perfect manicures (acrylic nails) and pedicures (one also has acrylics, the other looks like a do-it-yourselfer like me). Amazing figures and wonderful wardrobes. They show up at the ball park in the latest fashions - capris, madras, crop pants, tanks or halters with NO bra straps peeking out, 4" wedges (except today one wore a 4" chunky sandal), really cool handbags, perfectly accessorized. I'm in awe that they look like they stepped out of In Style magazine (or maybe "Lucky" magazine, which still isn't so shabby). Part of my wishes it could be me. The other part of me just doesn't have the time or energy to expend. (I may not have the money, either, but I do have bargain shopping down to an art form...)
We live in a pretty upscale area and I realize that I probably come across as less affluent. Whose the better mom? The truth is, assuming we're all providing adequate care to our families, we ALL are the better mom. Just because someone looks perfectly 'put together' doesn't mean she has it all together. And just because one of us is a disheveled mess at times (okay, so I'm exaggerating) doesn't mean we're not having a great time messing up our manicures while catching tadpoles with our kids.
For more on my fashion ineptitude, visit my March 21, 2006 post.