Hey adventurous Mamas! Maybe you can relate to this. Someone told me the other day, “you’re a mom of four kids, its okay if your hair is messy.” This someone was a fourth grade girl in the bathroom at my daughter’s school where I was brushing my hair.
It was so cute, and so funny, and it got me thinking about the journey I have taken in regards to how I care for myself and my appearance. A few years ago, I would have completely agreed with this sweet girl, but today I say NO WAY to the lie. It is a lie that having children is an acceptable excuse not care for yourself.
For several years after becoming a mom, I believed the lie. I didn’t feel pretty, I didn’t really care how I looked most times. I wore baggy clothes to hide my post-baby body. I felt uncomfortable going out without my kids because I needed the excuse I thought they presented that the reason I looked tired, unkempt, overweight, and frumpy was because I was a mom. I hated shopping for clothes for myself because it just highlighted what I did not like about my body so I avoided my wardrobe and let it fall into a disreputable state. I rarely if ever had my hair colored or cut, I rarely wore any make up. I felt old and not pretty and I let that become my identinty.
I was not recognizing my own VALUE by neglecting to care for myself and that’s easy for mamas to do. We spend our birthday gift cards on new clothes for our kids, we don’t take time to do our makeup in the morning because we are getting kids ready for school, we don’t plan healthy meals for ourselves because the kids won’t like it or we’re too busy managing busy schedules, we don’t make time for regular exercise, we don’t budget for new clothes or make up or eyebrow shaping or hair care or get our nails done…the list goes on and on.
I lived that way for years, neglecting my own God-given beauty. Then one wonderful New Year’s Day I made my life-changing resolution: to regularly exercise at the YMCA. So I started a class with a bunch of fit mamas that were super intimidating to me. The class is called “stroller fitness” because you bring your kids to class with you in the stroller, and work out like a fiend while they watch open mouthed and in awe of your power.
It was SOOO hard, I was SOOO week and I’m sure I looked ridiculous in my ill-fitting exercise clothes and I didn’t know anyone in the class. I really hated it but I had paid the money, told everyone I was doing it, and I wasn’t going to quit, no matter what!
I fell in love with exercise… eventually. But I hated it for a long time. I didn’t see any change in my appearance, every class felt harder than the one before, the other moms had cooler outfits, were more fit, had cliques, and I felt like I didn’t belong.
I kept going.
I started to get stronger and I was slowing losing weight. I began to need less breaks during workouts and started trying heavier weights. I started seeing muscles I didn’t know I had. I felt good about myself. I felt accomplished and in control. For the first time in a long time, I was caring for myself with real intention and making sacrifices to do it. I signed up for Stitch Fix, because I loathe shopping for clothes, and I made room in our budget to update my wardrobe.
Caring for myself is a journey I’m still walking and learning. Since I started stroller fit, I gave birth to our fourth daughter, and my fitness was set back, but I had the confidence this time to jump right back in. I tried a keto diet and lost some baby weight, and then really got in gear with Weight Watchers which is really perfect for me. Today I am stronger than I have ever been. I love getting new clothes again, I don’t dread events that might involve swim suits or running and playing with my kids. I’m not perfect, but I am confident!
I believe we are ALL created beautifully. Look around at the women in your life, ladies at the grocery store, mamas at your kids’ school, anywhere. When we care for ourselves, when we are intentional about our appearance, we put forth the best versions of ourselves. We women are wonderfully made! Let your beauty shine by taking the time to care for yourself as well as your marriage, children, home, careers, friendships etc. Focus on your health, make the effort to find clothes that make you feel confident, put on a little makeup and brush your hair. Stand up straight and win the day knowing you are living up to your potential and you look and feel good doing it!