(Click HERE for Part 1 if you missed it…) 🙂
I caught sight of myself in one of the over-sized, Sephora mirrors and thought, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize I looked that bad…”
Frizzy curls gone wild. Ketchup stain on my left shoulder. A splatter of blue paint on my right cheek. Rushed attempt at foundation streaked across my forehead that had since been melted off. Mascara smeared. Baggy t-shirt that had seen better days.
I was basically sporting a look that screamed “I just don’t care right now”, “I haven’t slept in three years, ” AND “help me”.
A Sephora employee whose makeup was so perfect it looked porcelain walked up to me but stopped before she got too close, because the ‘mom look’ is apparently contagious.
I smile and say, “Hi! I’m just hoping to find a lotion that helps me out, because mom life…”
She waits for me to say more. I’m confused, because I thought that already explained it all.
She says, “What do you want it to do?”
I pause a moment and then reply, “Everything?”
I laugh (a little too hysterically), because I think I’m being clever. And I’m really tired and over-caffeinated. She’s looking me up and down a bit in horror, and I realize that I am walking birth control. I am the epitome of what young women say will never happen to them.
And I feel that slight sting for a moment… The memory of days-gone-by when I had time to paint my nails. Straighten my hair. Dress up in an outfit that was classy and current. Free moments to giggle with friends over a coffee or run out to a restaurant with my hubby.
Life has changed… drastically. And I’m going to be honest, that’s really hard some days. It’s especially hard on the days when the environment almost requires a level of primping that I just don’t have time for. I mean, when I’m out walking through a nearby campground with the kids, I fit right in! Those camping moms who haven’t showered, or did their hair, or packed makeup? Those are my peeps! They’re confidently celebrating rustic and natural, and – gosh – I fit right in!
But when it’s date night with the hubby and I didn’t have a free moment to do my hair and makeup… Or when we’re attending a wedding, and I have to wear the more practical, I’ll-be-chasing-after-children dress… Or even when I’m out with a girlfriend, and I have to throw on a hat to cover my crazy hair. In those moments, I fully realize that I am so engrossed in mom life right now that I have – like it or not – embodied the mom look.
But unlike the rustic, outdoorsy hikers and campers who are respected for their back-to-nature vibes, we moms are often seen as…. sad. Frumpy. Without any real accomplishment. And it’s kind of like kicking a mom when she’s already down.
We aren’t flashy enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough, or whatever-else-it-is-that-we’re-supposed-to-be-doing enough. Most of us don’t bring home money (or enough money). We don’t drive fancy cars. We don’t have board meetings while wearing smart suits and sipping over-priced lattes.
We just aren’t cool enough.
And I get it; nothing that I do is glamorous. At all. But what I do DOES matter to the children that I am raising. And although it’s usually not riveting, exciting work, it is THE most important work. That lego tower that I just helped my son build? It might not be designs for a Boston skyscraper that will one day house hundreds of people. But it did impact one life. And I truly believe that just as God fearfully and wonderfully created each and every one of us, a moms impact on one life is an impact that can make this world a better place.
One life at a time, we’re changing things for the better. Because although a grain of sand may seem small and insignificant, when multiplied by thousands, it becomes the coastline which stretches as far as the eye can see. And we moms, we’re responsible for our grains of sand, which will – in turn – become an army of love and compassion.
One day I’ll have time to paint my nails again… To do my hair. To look myself over in the mirror and make sure that everything fits ‘just so’. But while those moments of free time will one day come back, I will never get back these busy – yet precious – moments of molding my children’s lives. My ‘job’ right now is to inspire them. Encourage them. Let them know that they are beautiful creations of God and that they can do absolutely anything. Right now, my mornings are filled with chubby feet dancing down hallways and bowls of cheerios scattered across the kitchen floor. Skinned knees that need kissing, bad dreams that require hugs, temper tantrums that need guidance, and faith that needs building.
Those moments won’t ever come back. I won’t ever again have this chance to pour into their lives.
This is where I find my purpose and fulfillment. My determination to keep going, even though I might not look put together and perfect on the outside. This world may never recognize – as trophies – the lines on a woman’s face, her gray hairs, the stretch marks, the often less-than-glamorous wardrobe she wears for the personal sacrifice that she willingly gives every single day. But I know that my trophy is in heaven and in the lives of my children.
Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for moms taking care of themselves, because we need to be filled in order to continuously fill our families. We do need personal time. We need pampering. We need to feel human. (I totally ended up leaving Sephora with some over-priced night cream that I’m hoping will do at least one of the five things it promises to accomplish). 😉
And I love shopping just as much as the next woman and am already planning a bit of fall season retail therapy for next month… 😉 BUT I refuse to believe that this phase of life – the phase that oftentimes requires me to look a bit exhausted and thrown together – is less than.
Our children are worth it. Everything else in this world is just stuff… It’s glittery, shiny, eye-catching stuff that will only tear, rust, and fade away. Magazines, movies, and even people will try to claim that money, fame, eye shadow, and the perfect pair of shoes is the key to success and happiness. It’s how they try to measure someone’s worth.
But I know that my life possesses a beauty that can’t be bottled or sold on shelves. Because I’m a mom. And my babies are worth more than anything money could buy. So on the busy days that it’s required of me, I’m going to hold my head up high and wear my mom look proudly! 🙂