I usually try to take care in my appearance. I put lipstick and mascara on because I feel prettier. I try to wear something attractive. But I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been ironing lately or washing any delicates (I put a lot of stuff in delicates that probably doesn’t need to go there), so my wardrobe lately has been T-shirts and jeans. And when I feel frumpy, I get grumpy.
I think it’s because that’s not how I want to feel about myself. Those of you who worked through my 29 Days of Great Sex series from February will remember this, but one of the first things I told you to do (I think it was Day 3) was to name 5 things you LIKE about your body. We’re so used to naming things we hate and fixating on the things that we’d change that we forget what we really like. And of all the challenges–from playing to foreplay to orgasm to just talking and praying–that was the one that I had the highest number of people saying, “I just can’t do this. I can’t find 5 things.”
Ladies, that’s a problem. When we don’t like our appearances or care for our appearances, we stop taking pride in ourselves. And then we don’t feel like wives. We feel like moms and maids. That sets a bad precedent for ourselves, but also for our relationship with our husbands.
I remember in university I used to put on makeup everyday. I’d curl my hair (especially my bangs; remember those days?). I rarely wore jeans.
Then came the babies and I lost my curling iron. I got a bob hairstyle that required no work. And I started dressing kind of boxy. The holes in my ears grew over because my girls would pull at my earrings. And I stopped wearing necklaces because they’d pull those, too, and break them. So I felt frumpy.
A few years ago a friend of mine, who tended to be rather dowdy, had an emergency and I had to head to her house to look after her kids while she headed to the hospital. When I arrived at her house, I did what I always do when I’m at someone’s house for the first time. I check out the pictures (I’m just nosy that way). And I couldn’t believe how stunning she was! All of these pictures on the wall and she looked like a model. She sure didn’t look like that in real life.
And then I realized that this is because when we get those family pictures taken, we don’t want to remember how we looked on a daily basis. We want to remember how we WANTED to look on a daily basis. We dress up and do our hair and makeup, even if we never would in a million years normally. So we look our best in the posed family portraits.
I am now going to show you a posed family portrait from about 1999. Remember, this was the BEST I looked. This was top notch. And here I am (hey, I even found a necklace!):
I know a large part is that I no longer have babies. When you’re exhausted it’s hard. But it’s also because one day I woke up and said: I don’t want to be frumpy anymore. It wasn’t just about my husband; it was about me. I wanted to feel better for me. I don’t think it was a vanity thing; I just wanted to feel like I was appropriately valuing myself and taking pride in myself. And when I never cared what I put on, I gave the impression that I didn’t care about much of anything. And that’s how I started to feel. I became a completely different person. And I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I had once cared about myself, but I had let motherhood take that away from me. Now I didn’t have the big struggle that many have with their weight; I’ve always been on the small side, for which I am eternally grateful. But I don’t think this is a size issue. I think it’s a how-I-feel-about-myself issue. And feeling frumpy is no fun.
We don’t have to be frumpy, even if we’re plus sized, or even if we have kids, or even if we’re busy. As my daughter says, it takes no more effort to put on a pair of jeans that looks good on you than it does to put on a pair of mom jeans. It takes no more effort to put on a nice fitting top than it does to put on a baggy T-shirt. Same amount of time. But you feel totally different about yourself. And if you just don’t know how to buy clothes that will look good on you, or even where to begin getting a lovely wardrobe, The No Brainer Wardrobe is here to rescue you! It’s a great little book helping you choose the basics, and then learn to accessorize, so dressing every morning is easy. My favourite part of it was when she took the picture of an outfit she had pinned on Pinterest to a thrift store, and then figured out how to replicate it. She can help you build a great-looking wardrobe inexpensively, too!
Makeup takes effort, I’ll grant you. But I can go from no makeup to full makeup when I’m speaking for an audience in under five minutes. I can blow dry my hair in under five minutes. I never, ever take more than 25 minutes to shower, get dressed, and do my hair and makeup (that’s how long it took to get ready for picture #2). Sometimes I think we complain that it takes too much time, when it’s really that we don’t know where to start. But you don’t have to put on full make up everyday, either. Just a bit of lipstick can make someone feel so much more attractive.
Flylady, for any of you who follow her, always says, “put on your shoes!” even if you stay home, because then you give yourself the impression that you are working. You are not a slob. You have a purpose. And when you feel like you have a purpose, you tend to act that way. And so let me add to the “put on your shoes” two more things: “put on a nice fitting top, and put on some lipstick!”. It doesn’t need to take much. But it makes you feel more feminine.
It also shows our husbands that we respect them. You don’t have to be drop dead gorgeous; few women are. But when you take pride in how you look, it’s like you’re saying to your husband: “I want to look my best for you. I want you to be happy to have me on your arm.” And it shouldn’t be about looking better than anyone else; it’s just about making the effort because you care about him. After all, you’re the only woman he’s allowed to stare at!
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to give up being a woman. And I think that if we took just a little bit of time, we’d feel so much more invigorated, energetic, and feminine. It’s not a vanity issue; it’s an issue of respect for who you are and for who God made you to be. You are a woman. You are a wife. Those are both good things. Don’t put them on hold because you’re a mom, or a busy work woman.
I have a friend who is overweight, and she’s felt badly about her appearance for years. She’s tended to dress all in black to try to hide it. But lately she’s been going to the gym. She dyed her hair. And she’s started wearing colours. And not just that; she’s getting out of the house more. She feels better about herself. It’s a mental change, too.
What do you think? Do you feel frumpy? Do you fight the frump? Or do you think it doesn’t matter? Let me know in the comments!