I have a ton of friends and relatives who are expecting babies this summer or just had babies. I am also alarmingly invested in the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Princess Kate, for those of you interested in being INCORRECT in addressing royalty), and those crazy kids are due in mid-July.
I want all mamas to get all the love and support they can handle, and, as usual, for them to not do the dumb stuff I’ve done. (Except the Duchess, who can do what she damn well pleases, and she will make it work. I hope she doesn’t listen to a hot mess like me.)
I’m a lifelong magazine reader. From Sassy BITD, to numerous online mags now, I love me some magazines. I’ve read every issue of Vanity Fair cover to cover since I was 12, even during the topless-Paris-Hilton-on-the-cover era (which I also call the get-yo-shizz-together-Graydon-Carter era). So when I got pregnant and had my first daughter, I was naturally psyched to enter the new world of mommy magazines.
Sigh. What a letdown.
The parenting advice in the mommy mags is good, and the recipes and creative crafting ideas are fun, but let’s be real: I flip straight to the beauty advice section every month. And just like Charlie Brown knows Lucy will just yank that ball away, I am disappointed every time.
The advice is always the same. Use “time-saving” products! Use "multitasking” products! Fix all the hormone-driven beauty problems you encounter those first few months after giving birth!
Oh, I have less time to myself now? I HAD NO IDEA, MAGAZINE PEOPLE! (I sob as I read this on the toilet, which is my only “me time.”) I SHOULD MULTITASK? YOU DON’T SAY! (Read while also answering emails and mentally meal planning) I HAVE HORMONE PROBLEMS? I WAS ENTIRELY UNAWARE OF THIS! (Sighing mournfully for the 25 hairs leaping out of my head each time I brush.)
The beauty advice from the mommy mags is all too often condescending and unhelpful, so I’m here to give you all the real scoop.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DORKY PRODUCTS
I once read a beauty column that scolded women for using two-in-one shampoos by asking “Is it REALLY that hard to do a one-minute slathering of conditioner?” YES. IT. IS. That’s 30 seconds to smear it on, 60 seconds to wait, and two or three minutes to wash it out of my long-ass hair. I have a two-year-old pounding on the door. So, yeah, shut up.
But really, when was the last time you heard of a grown woman using two-in-one shampoo and conditioner? The answer is right now and right here. I LOVE that stuff. Aussie Moist 2-in-1 is my jam. Hair that is prone to frizz (like mine) is sending up signals that it craves moisture, so hit it up with this wonder elixir. It smells great and actually quenches my hair’s thirst.
YOU AREN'T ACTUALLY GETTING READY IN THE MIDDLE OF A HURRICANE
To quote that sexpot Captain Jean-Luc Picard in First Contact, when it comes to my beauty routine “THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE!” I resent being talked to like I must be in a bustling whirlwind every morning. NO.
I wake up 20 minutes earlier for the specific reason that I WILL NOT compromise on my beauty routine. Sometimes it is the only thing that connects me back to myself; makeup time is the Quincey-being-Quincey part of my day, and that time is vital for my mental health. I spend enough time running after my (now pre-school-aged) girls, wiping noses and heineys, if I feel like I have given my over my entire day and personality I slip in to a dark place.
My 20 minutes drawing on my eyebrows with Anastasia’s Brow Pen, meticulously coating on Maybelline Falsies mascara, lining with MAC’s Teddy Eye Kohl, concealing with Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer, and highlighting with Benefit High Brow are my peaceful time. I swear, I hear spa music in my head as I do it.
YOU CAN'T WIN A FIGHT WITH YOUR HORMONES
The first few months after giving birth are really rough for moms, beauty-wise, and no products are going to truly solve anything. Your hormones are still doing crazy things to readjust to your no-longer-pregnant state, and breastfeeding brings in its own hormone surges and plunges. Basically, you feel like a mess.
The good news: YOU ARE NOT A MESS.
When I would obsess over my appearance as a tween and teen, my mom would tell me “NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOU!” which sounds harsh, but really, it’s true: the “you” you see in the mirror as a new mom is not what the world sees. The world sees a beautiful mother nurturing a beautiful baby... Oh! A baby! LET’S GIVE IT ALL THE ATTENTION! Shifting the spotlight like this is a blessed relief. I promise, if someone is looking at your baby, they don’t have time to see that you sprouted eyebrow hair in a weird place, or that your arms are covered in tiny bumps, or that your new, tiny bangs are not a fashion choice, they are what happens when the front of your hairline falls out. No one can see all that because BABAYYY!
SOME DAYS, YOU CAN DO HAIR OR MAKEUP, AND THAT'S OK
After I gave birth the first time, my options for going out were either: hair or makeup. My daughter would only chill in the bouncer for so long, and in that time, I could do one or the other, so my friends either saw me with hair up/back and good makeup or hair down and no makeup.
Guess what: Though they had literally never seen me mascara-less before, they are still my friends. When I went back to work I chose makeup, and I was still an effective teacher with hair that wasn’t model-perfect.
Eventually, life settled down as the girls got older, and I can now do makeup and half-ass my hair. Hooray! Maybe by the time they reach middle school, I can bust out the flat iron again. Regardless, I wouldn’t trade my cuddly morning time with them for Jennifer Aniston’s perfect hair.
So, moms: how do you stay so cute? Do you crave the same pre-baby makeup routine or do you have some beauty hacks we all need to know about?