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I’m a Stay at Home Mom and I Wear Makeup Everyday

When my best friend had her first son, I was still a few years away from becoming a mom. She was the first person my age, who I really knew, to have a baby. I went over to her apartment armed with gifts: a bunch of onesies I now understand she didn’t need, and books for her son that he wouldn’t read for two or three years, but hey, what did I know? I came in and washed my hands without even being asked, so I figured I had this whole baby thing figured out.

My friend was exhausted. She and her husband hadn’t really slept since before the baby was born. Laundry was everywhere and dishes covered every surface that wasn’t occupied by laundry. My friend couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a shower. I rolled up my sleeves, trying to decide where to dig in. A timer went off. “Let me get it,” I offered, picking up an empty laundry basket. “No,” she stopped me. “I’ve got it.”

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She disappeared into the tiny alcove of a kitchen and, in the time it took me to fold two or three tiny, adorable baby shirts, reemerged carrying a plate of cookies. Freshly baked cookies. She brought us both coffee and motioned for me to join her at the tiny table. “You made cookies?” She nodded sleepily. “From scratch?” I asked incredulously, looking around at the unwashed dishes and unfolded clothes. Again, she nodded, but this time, looking pleased.

I took a bite of a delicious cookie. And then: “I have to ask... why?” My dear, wise friend smiled patiently at me. “Baking makes me feel like myself.”

I didn’t understand. “In the past few weeks,” she continued, “almost everything about my life--about my world-- has changed. But for the 20 minutes it took me to make those cookies...” she trailed off, but again I saw a hint of that pleased smile. We sipped our coffee and had a few more cookies before the baby woke from his all-too-brief nap, looking to nurse for the 80th time that day.

I visited this family many, many times in the next year before they moved away, and whenever I was there, I’d hold the baby so she could shower, or contribute to the sisyphean task of folding laundry, and my friend would feed me amazing, homemade food. “It just makes me feel like myself,” she would say.

Cut to three years later, and I was a few months into motherhood with my own daughter. My husband and I soon saw how the dishes and the laundry can pile up, and how we would learn not to care about it at all.

I had made a pledge to myself, a former self-care junkie, that I would shower every day after becoming a stay-at-home mom, even when it seemed unnecessary, and while some days it seemed epically difficult, I stuck to that. I got out of the house daily, rain or shine, at the advice of my therapist, nursed my daughter constantly, cried a lot, but generally thought I was doing an okay job of taking care of myself. Then, looking through photos one late night, waiting up to do a midnight “dream feed” before crashing into bed for 5 or 6 hours (hopefully!) of sleep, I realized I didn’t recognize myself. It was as much a literal lack of recognition as it was a metaphorical one. In addition to seeing, as my friend had said years before, that my life looked completely different in almost every way, I truly looked different.

I hadn’t worn makeup since the birth of our daughter. Who had the time? Why did I need to wear lipstick to pace around the block with the stroller? I didn’t want to get lip gloss on the baby’s pristine skin when I kissed her compulsively, and, in the bigger picture, what kind of message was I sending to my daughter if I wore makeup? Suddenly, I felt like everything I did was informing her perception of the world, and if I placed value on my appearance, what was I teaching her?

Aside from the fact that she was all of 7 or 8 weeks old at this point, I realized like a bolt of lightening that this line of reasoning was as easy to puncture as a balloon. What kind of message was I sending by NOT wearing makeup? I had worn-- and loved-- makeup since I was 13. It was part of me. It made me happy. It made me feel like myself.

And suddenly, I remembered my dear friend, baking cookies. Because they made her feel like herself.

I started wearing makeup again the next day. It took a little extra time in the morning, but I saw myself smile in the mirror and it felt right. My lip gloss did get on the baby, so I invested in organic makeup. Some days, no one saw me besides my husband and daughter, but I still felt like it was a good use of blush. I could throw on a sweatshirt and jeans and still look kind of put-together, because a little mascara goes a long way towards being polished.

For me, it’s make-up. For some moms, it’s baking. Or riding motorcycles, or spelunking, drinking wine, or driving the crosstown bus. Whatever it is for you, find a way to go do it occasionally.

If your world has recently turned upside down in the best way, and yet you’re still not sure what it is that makes you feel like you, may I suggest a swipe of bold, red lipstick? Or just a coat of mascara. You never know-- it’s a pretty easy, cheap way to feel like you’re doing a little something for yourself, and it just might make you feel like you.

Image source.

 

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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