When was the last time you stood in front of the mirror and thought, “I look good!”? For new moms, the thought might not have crossed their mind lately. Who has time to look like a decent human being when you’re caring for a tiny version of you 24/7?
It’s a reality that’s all too familiar for mom and freelance journalist Minhae Shim Roth. In an essay for Glamour, she writes how becoming a mother at 29 changed her. Whereas she was always well-rested and had the “luxury of time” as a single woman, motherhood effectively crushed her self-care habits. “Suddenly it felt like my life was about taking care of everyone but myself,” she writes.
It did not help that her social media feed was filled with women who looked picture-perfect while taking care of their kids. Whenever she went to the mall, she would see “polished moms in heels” with their strollers. It made Minhae feel like she was a failure and that she was letting herself down.
So, on her 30th birthday, the mom of one booked an appointment to get eyelash extensions. Why? “I liked the way makeup gave my eyes dimension. I decided that my 30th birthday gift to myself would be a semi-permanent version of this look and feeling,” she writes.
The next morning, Minhae caught herself in the mirror. “Here I stood, wearing pajamas, my hair in tangles, looking like I had meticulously applied eyeliner and mascara. This mom had an instant glow up,” she shares. “My mood lifted instantly.”
Moms are aware that they need to invest in self-care. They talk about it, maybe even complain about the lack of it. But when it comes to actually doing it, moms often feel guilty to indulge. But know this: you are not a bad mom for wanting to take a break from taking care of your kids. You are not a bad mom for wanting to look and feel good.
We hear it often enough from moms — taking care of yourself is not selfish. You owe it to your family to look after your well-being because it’s also how you can take better care of your children and husband. If a two-hour semi-permanent beauty treatment is your form of self-care, why should you stop yourself from pursuing it? You might even be surprised and empowered by the process.
For Minhae, the simple act of getting eyelash extensions gave her a boost of confidence. Even when she was tired from changing diapers, feeding the baby, and managing the household, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror made her think that she could power through all the responsibilities. “I’m a mom who certainly can’t ‘do it all,’ but at least I look the part,” she says.
Most importantly, it made Minhae feel like a better mom. She was no longer conscious of being out in public with no makeup on, so she could focus on having more meaningful interactions with her son. “I can be more silly with him at the playground, throw him up in the air another time, and feel less uncomfortable around other moms,” she shares. She also found that her lashes were a great conversation starter — even if it’s just a quick compliment from other moms, it already does wonders for your self-esteem.