It goes without saying, after you've spent nearly a year growing a human, then achieving the miraculous act of getting said human out, your physical appearance is a lesser concern than it may have once been. After all, your body was hijacked by a new existence, and the continuation of that existence depends on you.
But those million people telling you to make time for yourself are right. Yes, you should shower once in awhile, you might feel better if you shave your legs, and a home manicure can go a long way in sprucing up your bleary-eyed appearance. And that's not all -- there are a few less-considered beauty elements that you best clear some space for in your limited beauty regimens. Now that I'm two kids in, I can confidently tell you from experience that there are 7 beauty quickies that are worth some spare new mama seconds.
- Tweeze your eyebrows. You might look in the mirror and think, "My eyebrows are practically blond and if I just fill in where my eyebrows should be, all will be well." But I'm here to say that grandparents like close-ups of baby's face; and if you're holding baby for the picture, they've an uncanny ability to catch your face in the corner at the most unflattering angle. Since they always use the flash, the light is going to catch your unibrow just right, and you'll look at those photos one day fearing you regrew your postpartum hair loss right in the middle of your face.
Moisturize. Personally, I can't stand the feeling of getting out of the shower and not immediately applying lotion. But after having children, sometimes the shower took the full amount of my allotted morning personal time and I would forget, or neglect, to apply lotion. BIG MISTAKE. It's not that I'm over-glorifying youth, it's just that you will appear decidedly aged with your flaky, dry hand pressed up against your baby's brand new cheek--face or otherwise. Please wash your underboob. I'm telling you this because post-pregnancy boobs, especially nursing boobs, can just be gross overall; and having changed in dimension and weight, will require that you physically lift the boob from your chest and scrub underneath to get it clean. Consider this PSA, otherwise, you'll be picking toys up off the ground one day, accidentally stick your nose down the neck of your three-day-old t-shirt, and you'll be forced to admit that the sour milk stench you've noticed all morning is actually you. Use the mascara before it dries up. At the very least, a swipe of the mascara brush can do wonders when it comes to looking awake and alive versus looking asleep and, well, dead. But beyond that, you need to apply mascara often enough to know that the tube hasn't disintegrated into a horrible grayish cake. Why? Because Target's makeup aisle is perturbingly far from the diaper aisle, so to replace the tube will require some forethought. Learn the art of hair. Look, no one is asking you to wash it. We all know that is too much effort. But you're going to at least need to master some go-to cover-up tactics to veil those grease puddles collecting around your temples. Be it the perfect formula of dry shampoo; the fanciest braided crown; or an expertly tied scarf, perfect the method and use it. Shave your toes. This is easily done when you manage to fit in shaving your legs. It's not that anyone else will likely be staring at your toes, foot fetishists aside. But the first morning that you find yourself singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on a blanket on the floor for the twentieth time, you will distractedly start studying your feet. And then you will notice your toes. Once you get over how desperately you need a pedicure, you'll find weird long hairs, no thanks to pregnancy hormones, and you'll spend the rest of the day feeling like a hobbit. This isn't good for anyone, except that it will maybe motivate you to finally carve out that "you" time; in which case, you still need to shave your toes so you don't scare your pedicurist. Remind yourself (and him!) that you are still a woman -- and that means sexy. What I'm saying is, sure, your control-top granny panties are holding up that mommy tummy so you can squeeze into your flat front high waisted pants. (Bravo, if this is actually true!) But he doesn't care about that. And you know you feel like Grandma Mary whenever you pour yourself into those ridiculous polyester things. So, now and then, buy the pretty underwear. Tug on the little lace number and forget about whether or not it covers your tummy and check out that tush instead! I promise that's where he's looking anyway.
This piece was originally published by Sarah Ann Noel on Well Rounded NY. Sarah Ann Noel is the wife of Trevor, the mother of Iris and Edith, and a freelance writer in Brooklyn. A prodigious over-thinker and an exhaustive over-feeler, Sarah loves to write essays about life and the things that move her--primarily lessons in love and hope and finding what's good in the world. She is currently working on her first book, fueled by a hefty amount of caffeine. Read more at sarahannnoel.com.
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