I have the TV on in the morning to distract my mini man with Peppa pig and Noddy so that I can get the household chores done with a minimum of shouting at me for not spending my entire life building a tower out of plastic cups so that it can be instantly knocked down again.
When the kids programs stop a daily chat show starts that discusses the news of the day. This morning as I contemplate how I can strap the hoover to myself so that it is on wherever I go to try and stem the flow of dog hair from taking my entire house over completely, I hear the TV start to talk about “glamming up for the school gates”. Now my tiny person is close to his first birthday so the school gate is still quite a long way off for me, but if I leave the house with less dogs hair on me than one of the actual dogs and no poo on me I feel like I have won.
Has sisterhood died off to such a point that if we arrive early in the morning without our hair styled and a full face of make up on, the other mummies will be mean to us? When I was growing up my Mum wore make up on Sundays and on the rare occasion that she and my Dad would get to escape the house and go for a date. As far as I was concerned my Mum was beautiful and looked lovely without make up.
As school drew to a close I found myself having to wait in the toilets so that my friends could pile on make up and walk a stupidly long way home so they could walk past the boys from the boys school. We did not speak to them EVER, we would usually be on the opposite side of the road, it seemed very pointless to me, but in the interest of not being any more weird than I already was I went and got myself a lipstick (heather shimmer by Rimmel) and some mascara (clear, I already have black eyelashes and I used it to tame my mighty eyebrows, they were enormous, thanks for that gene hand me down Dad). I enjoyed being part of the make up ritual, even if some of my peers looked a bit like orange clowns, it was fun. I was introduced to a cover stick that would make the occasional pimples that I had vanish, it was a fun, bonding experience and I came to look forward to the after school girly time, hearing about who fancied who and which boy was actually horrible and we were all to not look in his direction if we walked past him.
As I got older I discovered tweezers (see you later mega brow!) and glitter. Then false eyelashes, my make up bag probably looked more like a drag queens kit than it should have done, but I loved over the top, sparkly make up. I would go to one of my friends houses, or they would come to mine and we would spend hours making ourselves up and getting dressed for a night out, usually drinking lots so that by the time we left the house feeling like we looked fabulous, we most likely did not. I left a cloud of glitter in my wake everywhere I went, you could follow my progress through a nightclub by looking at how sparkly the people were as you made your way through. My boyfriend would look like an annoyed disco ball, it was brilliant.
As time went by my make up bag shrank and became more work purpose friendly, cover up to hide tired eyes, eyeliner, mascara and a subtle eye shadow. Lipstick long forgotten and replaced with lip balm which is only applied in the winter.
Now I am a mum my make up lives in a drawer, I only wear it to go to work to try and disguise the fact that I have only had three hours sleep. So imagine my surprise to hear that as soon as our children go to school we are expected to go back to behaving like our fourteen year old selves! Sorry ladies, this is not going to be me. My money is much better spent on expensive coffee so that my eyes stay open and baby wipes. I will never chose to get up extra early to doll myself up, sleep is precious, I plan to do as much of it as I possibly can at every available opportunity. I expect I will be at the school gates in my dressing gown, holding a travel cup of coffee with bits of the hoover attached to me.
I think that as parents we have a responsibility to encourage our children to value themselves on more than their appearance. We have a wonderful opportunity to raise a new generation that are not super vain and worried about what shoes they have and if their lunch box is on vogue or not. Obviously feel good about yourself, and if that means getting up at five in the morning to trowel on fifty different cosmetics then go, be happy, but please don’t condemn those of us who just don’t care. We are just as good at being a mummy and our children will always look at us through eyes of love, not caring if we have eyelash extensions or not.
I am lucky to be with a man who knows very little about make up and once came into the room when I was applying mascara and was horrified. He grabbed my hand in alarm as he thought I was about to poke one of my eyes out with a cry of “what are you doing??!” He seems to fancy me just as much in my dressing gown with my hair sicking up all over the place as he does when I get dressed up and make an effort. He hates it if I put anything on my lips as he doesn’t want “sticky/slimy” kisses. I have spoken to a few men about this, most of them couldn’t care less if we wear make up or not. The majority of them have had worrying moments where bits of fakery have fallen off their partner and scared them to death, they don’t want to wake up in the morning with your eyelashes stuck to their forehead, the contents of your bra on the floor and their bed sheets covered in a make up rainbow that they have no idea how to get out in the wash. Years ago I had an encounter with a man and i was wearing hair extensions, it was a total passion killer when they came off in his hand and he sat looking horrified that he had pulled half of my hair out.
I don’t wear lots of make up, my wardrobe is comfy and covered in dog hair, but I am a yummy mummy in the eyes of the people that count to me. That is what I care about. If strangers in the street don’t think so, so what.