To Glam or Not to Glam?


“Where are we going?”

“What makes you think we’re going somewhere?”

“You put clothes on.”

Touche, child. Touche.

When you are a stay-at-home-mom or a work-from-home-mom, the standards tend to fall pretty low on the outward appearance scale.

Who wants to create more dirty laundry? Not this mama. In the winter months, I get dressed less often than not. And even when I DO get dressed, you can bet I’m putting my comf (that’s what the cool moms call it; Oh. Just me? I stand by it.) back on as soon as I walk in the door.

“Mom, can you come wipe me?”

“Hold on, baby, Mama’s gotta put her sweatpants back on!”

Now the warmer days are finally here, and I’ll have to start wearing acceptable loungewear in my yard, at the very least. All the neighbors know I don’t wear a bra. I’m comfortable enough with my body for that. (Everybody’s got nipples, yeah? We don’t need to be scandalized by them, mmmmmkay?) And the sun will provide the subtle glow and dewy finish (sunburn and sweat) to keep the makeup at bay as well. My undyed hair, showing more tinsel every month, will be permanently tied back in a ponytail or up in a bun.

You might be thinking I’m just one of those women who doesn’t care about these things.

“Good for her! Fight societal expectations!”

But you’d be wrong.

I love dressing up, showing off my hot mom-bod, maybe a plunging neckline with a statement necklace, doing my hairs all pretty, and spending too much time getting my eye makeup just so. I’m not trying to impress anyone but myself. I FEEL great when I look great.

On regular days, though, when there are no girls’ nights or date nights or work events, I just find it all to be a waste of my time and my resources. On regular days, just being clean is good enough. On hard days, being clean is too much to ask for as well. (Not counting camping trips, I’ve gone up to six days without washing my hair.)

I stopped while writing to take this unfiltered, unplanned, first shot selfie, complete with unmade bed in the background. This is everyday me.

When there IS a reason, I look forward to the glam. But even then, I tend make it as simple as possible.

Last week I discovered no-heat hair curlers that made me look like Medusa, but were easy to use. I had a fun night out in The Big City with my best girls, and I wanted to feel great. But I was smart about my resources all the same. I put the curlers in with no mirror in bed, drinking wine and bingeing Brooklyn Nine-Nine. That’s just good sense.

Sleeping in these was a mistake.
Pretty sure that tank top is on backwards.

My arm feels like falling off when I curl my hair the traditional way, and I have to do it in a mirror with an outlet (bathroom, yuck).

Look great, feel great!

 As SAHMs and WAHMs, we have to choose our priorities carefully.

They’re different for everyone is the thing. I’ll meet a mom at the Children’s Museum and she’s wearing JEANS and MAKEUP, and I am at first ashamed of my leggings and three-day hair. Then I remember that I choose to prioritize other things. Maybe that mom feels great when she looks great, too, and really needed to feel great. Maybe she wears makeup every day. Good for her! And good for me. I save my expensive makeup for times when I really want to shine.  

My kids were spot on when they caught me putting makeup on last Friday night, newly curled hair perfectly coiffed:

“Ooooooh! It’s almost bedtime. You must be going somewhere without us.”

“Yup. I won’t be home until tomorrow.”

“What?!?! No fair!!! We want a sleepover!”

“When you’re a grown-up, you can make your own plans.”

And set your own standards. I rode those curls out until Monday morning. No shame.

What makes you feel great? Got any beauty shortcuts like magic curlers we should know about? Let us know in the comments.

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Emily is a former communication teacher and speech coach. She earned her BST and MA in Communication Studies, both from MSU, Mankato. When her first child was born (Olivia, now 9), she took an extended maternity leave that turned resignation. When her second child (Nathan, 6) started kindergarten, she returned to work to teach Oula Dance Fitness at the Y and serve her church as their Congregational Services Coordinator. In her spare time, Emily enjoys drinking wine in the bathtub, painting and writing lovely things, and trying not to swear in front of her kids.