Living in a society where so much emphasis is placed on physical attractiveness, isn’t it a good thing if women can be more real and less artificial? Natural is good in every area of life, but when it comes to looks, is it possible to go too far? If yoga pants and ponytails are your normal look, read on for a busy moms thoughts on beauty….
When I was a teenager I remember my father making the observation that many women will try very hard to look attractive when they are single, however, once they become married they “let themselves go”. Women who previously had worked hard to maintain their attractiveness would gain weight, dress more comfortably, minimize or eliminate makeup, and even switch from contact lenses for the convenience of glasses. Have you noticed this? What are your thoughts on this transition?
There may have been a time when I thought this was a bad thing, but now as I experience life as a busy mom of multiple young children, I better understand why and how this happens.
Why would women “let themselves go”?
- Contentment in marriage and no longer feeling the desire or need to appear as attractive as possible whenever possible. While in a dating relationship there can be a lot of pressure to always present yourself in the best light possible. I think it is very healthy for women to learn how to”let their hair down” and become more relaxed and comfortable in their own skin. Having a man who appreciates that a woman can be beautiful and attractive in a natural and unadorned state is a blessing. Kudos to those guys who communicate this to women and encourage them to feel confident without cosmetics. Women should feel confident without the accolades of men, but it certainly doesn’t hurt having the right guy say something complimentary.
- Weight gain as a newly wed. I will be the first person to admit (from my own personal experience) that women can gain weight when newly married. I think this is a combination of eating more often, and larger portions with their husband than they ate as a single person. While most men can pack on a few extra pounds and they don’t seem to care about its impact on their waistline, hips, or thighs, sadly that is not the case for most of us ladies who struggle with our appearance and self esteem.
- Pregnancy & childbirth. Carrying a baby inside her body and pushing them out into the world is a wonderful but very demanding task on a woman’s body. Although some women are able to bounce right back to their pre-pregnancy weight and shape, (I’m jealous!) most women will experience permanent physical changes (AKA “damage”), especially if she had more than one pregnancy and child. More babies = more “battle scars”.
- Busy life and not enough time in the day. As a mom of four young children, I understand the challenges of eating healthy, parenting, home-schooling, having my own business, and house management. With so many responsibilities and daily activity, maintaining my appearance with exercise, fashionable clothing, and makeup and hair styling seems nearly impossible! Showering and changing out of my pajamas is usually my daily goal and even that can be difficult to accomplish!
Are you a busy mom in the same situation? Do you struggle with finding the balance of not just being a mom, but being an attractive woman? Have your looks been pushed aside as you find yourself pulled into too many directions? I’m in the same boat right there with you! Don’t get offended because I’m preaching to the choir here!
Real beauty defined
A popular view of beauty:
“The quality of being physically attractive. The qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.”
I was relieved to see that at least the Webster definition mentioned “qualities” and beauty that brings pleasure to the mind. Beauty around the world and across cultures will vary greatly and we need to open our eyes to where true beauty is found and appreciate it in ourselves and others. As women we tend to be overly critical of ourselves and have a hard time not comparing ourselves to enhanced and airbrushed Victoria’s Secret models. Even the most beautiful celebrities aren’t perfect enough, and in photos they are often airbrushed to either reduce or enhance various body parts as you can see here. But if looking at beautiful celebrities will make you feel bad about yourself, just skip it! 😉
A biblical view on beauty:
I hold to the view that everyone is uniquely created and beautiful in their own way. We are each beautiful and pleasing to behold because we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). When we don’t like ourselves we are telling God that he made a mistake. Every time I judge my body and find it lacking, I’m questioning God’s design. I meditate on these passages in the bible when I get distracted by my desire for earthly beauty.
“Your beauty should not come from outer adornment , such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
~1 Peter 3:3-4
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
True beauty is found in your inner being. If you want an unfading beauty, be concerned with cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit. As a side note, I was relieved to learn that “quiet” doesn’t refer to noise level, or I’d be a failure in this department! 😉 God made all women beautiful in her own way, and that beauty can be observed in the many layers that make up each woman. Her spirit, her personality, her laughter, and her love for others (just to name a few). I’m still learning to accept myself for who I am, and I struggle with focusing on my faults and the things I wish I could change. It makes me even more thankful for a husband who compliments me and communicates that he finds me pretty and attractive-even bleary eyed with bed head and baggy sweatpants. He tells me I look pretty without makeup and it boosts my self confidence and makes me more comfortable with myself.
Times have changed
I know the most charming older woman who is the epitome of both biblical womanhood and southern charm. One day she biked several miles to my house to visit with me and my children wearing bike pants covered with a nice long white button down blouse, her hair nicely styled, and even wearing lipstick. She communicated to me that even when she is working out she knew that it was important to look nice. This wasn’t done out of her own vanity, but was from her proper Southern upbringing in combination with her desire to be a good representation of her spouse. I admire her in so many ways, but I know that for myself I cannot and will not place the same priority on my appearance at this stage of my life. Being a young mom of four crazy kiddos and many times just trying to survive each day, I’m giving myself a WHOLE LOTTA GRACE in the appearance department! I believe that times have changed and now it is much more acceptable to appear out in public without your “face on”.
Be willing to show your naked face
You are beautiful just as you are! This should give you confidence to show your naked face on occasion. Allowing yourself to be seen uncovered and unadorned is to make yourself vulnerable and transparent, and that can be a very good thing in the right situation. When I get together with my family and close friends I am learning to just be myself, and it is freeing. I know girls who won’t come out of the bathroom without their makeup on and their hair fixed, and it saddens me. Love should remove the fear of being judged. Those who love you will still love the real you. I show my naked face to my family, to my close friends, and to those I bump into as I run my errands and go about daily life. Your friends won’t be judging you, and the cashier at the store and the other moms at the swimming pool really couldn’t care less if you are made up. So be willing to have a naked face, and realize that although it is a big step for you, it truly is not a big deal to those around you. Vanity is what makes us not want others to see us at less than our best, and insecurity is what causes us to be afraid we will be found lacking. Isn’t it wonderful that our worth is not dependent on what other people think of us?
Enhance what you have
It is important to embrace natural beauty and be comfortable in front of others, but it also can be appropriate to choose to cover the flaws and enhance the best assets. I remember hearing someone say “if a barn door needs painting, paint it”, and although most people won’t see a connection between painting a barn door and applying makeup, I find it a humorous comparison. If you have blemishes, conceal them! If you are like me and have extremely light eyelashes and eyebrows, then darken them! My makeup goals are usually for a natural look which involves concealing any blemishes and under eye shadows, evening out my complexion, and darkening my lashes and brows. For something more dramatic I love some eye shadow or eye liner and I’m a big fan of red lipstick. But that most definitely is not my everyday face and is too much trouble except for more notable outings or occasions. Side note: If you have natural makeup products that you love, please mention the brand and specific products in the comments. I’m on the quest for natural makeup that works, and I’d love some personal testimonies.
It’s makeup, not a mask!
If you look like a completely different person with and without makeup, you may want to reevaluate things. My husband likes to say that a woman shouldn’t leave her face on her pillow, and I totally agree! I appreciate this woman’s talent with makeup, but the look that she accomplishes is so much different from her natural face that I can understand why people did not recognize her from her photos. So enhance your features, but please don’t completely transform yourself into another person! That isn’t makeup, it’s a mask!
Somewhere between frumpy and flashy
The way that we dress and present ourselves can draw unnecessary attention on both ends of the spectrum for caring either too little or too much about our appearance. I would never attend something conservative like a church service or business meeting while wearing sweatpants and without makeup. But I also wouldn’t attend either function while dressed up in anything that could be seen as too provocative or flashy. Neither option would be respectful to those around me. If I am going to be around other people for long periods of time, the least I can do is put some consideration and a small amount of preparation to ensure that the view is as pleasant as possible and does not draw unnecessary attention to myself for some reason or another. I love girly stuff and putting together fun outfits and “dressing up”, but it should be done not to attract attention, but out of my own enjoyment. If you are married, it is also important to consider the preferences of your spouse and strive to be a compliment to him. A wife is a reflection and representation of her husband, and her goal should be to support and compliment him in appearance as well as how she conducts herself. Fashion, hair, and makeup should be fun, so have fun!
Discover the proper balance for you! Be confident that you are beautiful in your own unique way and embrace that knowledge and allow it to boost your self confidence and worth in your own eyes first! If you have the time and energy to look your best each day, good for you! If you are a mom “in the trenches” and just aiming for a shower and change of clothes most days, know that you are not alone! Whatever you do, embrace your own beauty, enhance what you can, and be spontaneous and have fun and throw in a “Surprise! I look amazing!” day whenever you can!
Pick your moments
Makeup every day? No way! I don’t have time for that! But I don’t just reserve it for special occasions out of my house. Recently my husband was away on a business trip for several days and during that time (to quote my father), I literally just “let myself go”. But the day my man was coming back from his trip I took extra care to get ready because I wanted him to know that I will make efforts just for him. No, it wasn’t a slinky dress or anything crazy, but I did change out of my PJ’s and my hair and makeup were done. I could tell he appreciated my efforts when he returned home, and that was reward enough. Although my husband accepts me in my most frumpy condition, I don’t want him to always see me that way at home. There are plenty of women out there who are taking great care of themselves and their appearance, and it should motivate wives to spontaneously make efforts to look their most beautiful on occasion just to surprise their man. Maybe it isn’t necessary, but I’m sure it would be appreciated! If you always look like a mom and feel like a mom, just find something you can do to elevate your look and I’m confident that both you and your husband will be glad you did! 😉
If you don’t feel beautiful
The first step is to stop comparing yourself to others! Comparison is the quickest way to berate yourself and lead to low self esteem and sometimes downright depression! Someone else will ALWAYS have something better, so instead of being jealous try to appreciate your best assets and qualities and work to improve and enhance them. Studies have shown that excess weight is the most common thing about women that leads them to feeling dissatisfied with their appearance. If this is you, I would encourage you to focus on healthier eating and exercise. Improvements in both of these areas can bring a boost physically and mentally! Stop focusing on the things you cannot change and instead turn your attention productively to areas of self improvement!
An example to our daughters
Much to my chagrin, my girls have already explored mommy’s makeup bag on occasion and I have been blessed with permanent reminders of their cosmetic curiosity in the form of a large magenta lipstick splotch on a bathroom wall! My girls see mommy doing something and of course their interest is piqued. This can be a great opportunity to talk with them about beauty; internally and externally. It also makes me aware of other areas of my life and how observant they are and how quick to imitate my behaviors, attitudes, and priorities. I have to make a concentrated effort to talk about exercising to be healthy (not thin). While they are young I want to instill in them a healthy view of themselves and others, because as they mature they soon will be facing the pressure for perfection. I don’t want to simply tell them that they look beautiful, but that they ARE beautiful! Girls should have mommies and daddy’s who tell them they are beautiful every day! If dad tells mommy she looks beautiful when she is rumpled and frumpy, this will help the (always observant) children to appreciate true beauty and true love!
For you single gals
If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking with me! I think this information can still be relevant to you and I would encourage you to pursue finding true beauty in your own life, however that looks for you and your situation. If I was still single I would take more care with my appearance because:
- Single people generally have more time for appearance maintenance than married moms. If you have the time, you may want to make some conservative efforts on maintaining your appearance. No, you don’t have to, but it might make you feel good and more confident.
- A well polished appearance can be an asset at work and give off a confident and professional vibe to your boss, peers, and customers.
- You never know when God may bring “Mr. Right” into your life, and wouldn’t you prefer to look your best at that first meeting?
On that last point, I do think Mr. Right should be able to see the “real you” (AKA no makeup) before marriage. But that’s just my opinion! 😉
What is your view on beauty? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And just for fun and to put my natural naked face out there, here’s my “half-makeup face”. I typically don’t do heavy eye makeup AND red lipstick, but I thought I’d see how it looked and do it for dramatic effect!
P.S. “Dear Dad, I hope that you don’t put me in the “letting myself go” category, but after a day in my house I think you will understand why getting to my makeup bag and treadmill can be a challenge and most days it just doesn’t happen.” 😉