I put make-up on in the car because I know I will be treated better at this doctor’s office if I look “presentable.”
Mommas, we know the struggle.
After the morning whirlwind of getting the kids ready and to go out in public, time to invest in our appearance takes a back seat.
We throw on jeans and a t-shirt or athletic wear, throw our hair up, and do our best to brush our teeth and put on some earrings.
Moisturizer with sunscreen? Maybe. Full-on make-up? In your dreams.
But, we still worry about what others think.
We notice how differently we are treated when our hair is washed and styled, make-up on, and are wearing our power outfits. We hear the comments of how cute our kids are in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices when we look like our life is put together, versus the times we show up with a messy bun, natural face, and comfy clothes.
We also see how people treat us when we don’t look “put together.” We see the looks when we are still in our sweatpants and flip flops in the school drop-off lane, at the doctor’s office, walking into Target (because let’s be real, none of us care what we look like when we go to Walmart), checking books out at the library- anywhere where people may question whether or not we are good moms and have our life together.
“You look tired today,” they say. Or someone asks you, “Are you feeling okay?”- all because our appearance is not up to community standards.
So what do we do to avoid it?
We put on make-up in the car. We sneak to the bathroom to throw on mascara. We wear our cute glasses in order to make it seem we are being intentional with our looks.
This culture of common-courtesy make-up is a superficial way of saying, “Look at me! I’m a good mom because I look pretty!”
Social scientists call it “The Halo Effect.” The Halo Effect, according to writer Kendra Cherry, is “a type of cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about their character.”
A.K.A- if you think I’m attractive and friendly, I am therefore a good person and a good parent.
But, as we all know, make-up and our appearance is not an accurate representation of our ability as mothers and the depth of our character.
I enjoy wearing make-up as much as the next millennial mom. I feel confident and put together and more energized when I am wearing make-up and am dressed cute.
But make-up does not and should not define my worth as a mom. My appearance, just as my skin color and other attributes of my demographics, do not define my ability and capacity to raise lovely human beings into productive and healthy citizens.
I hope you know it doesn’t define you, either.
Yes, wear the make-up, dress cute, practice good hygiene– but because it is for you, not to gain the approval of others. This will help you to feel confident and secure, whether you have time to do make-up or get properly dressed before going to the store or running errands.
Have grace with yourself and trust that your appearance does not define your ability as a mom, no matter what people say or think.
Focus more on the important stuff- loving your children and showing them what true confidence looks like. Make-up or not.