I'm A Makeup-Free Mom

by Wendy Wisner
Originally Published: 
no makeup
Wendy Wisner

The other day, my son, in perfect 3-year-old fashion, was following me around the house as I did this and that. Suddenly, he burst out with: “Mommy, don’t paint your lips again, OK?”

“What?” I asked.

“You know when we went to Mother’s Day at Grandma’s house and you painted your lips red? Don’t do that again.”

I laughed. It was funny that he suddenly thought of that, and that he described my lipstick wearing as “painting.” Knowing him, he must have literally thought that I’d gone into our cluttered craft jar, opened a can of red paint, and used a paint brush to paint my lips. How very strange. And messy too!

He didn’t like it because he’s a finicky 3-year-old who doesn’t like it if I cut his bagel into halves instead of quarters. He despises change of any kind — it’s very unsettling and totally odd.

But what our little conversation made me realize is that he never, ever sees me in makeup. He doesn’t even know what it is.

I don’t really think of myself as a “no makeup mom,” but I guess I totally am. I mean, even before kids I was never a girl to wear a ton of makeup. I have been blessed with pretty clear skin, and I always thought adding something like foundation would just mess that up. In my pre-kid life, when I taught English at a university, I would throw on some light mascara and lipstick, but even that was inconsistent. And truthfully, I was only doing it because I was 25 and wanted something to make me look more like a grown-up to my college students.

I’m not sure I ever got past the stage when first you try makeup on as a tween or teen, and it feels like you’re playing dress-up.

Now that I’m a full-time mom and a part-time work-at-home mom, there is really no point in applying makeup, like, ever. I only wear it for special occasions, which quite frankly happen rarely these days. (I almost always wear it when I attend an event at my older son’s school, but that’s because even though I am 38 and have a 9-year-old, I always feel like a little kid when I walk into his school, and makeup makes me feel like I can pose as an adult for a few hours.)

The rest of the time, I live in yoga pants, soft T-shirts, and sweaters. A good day is when I’ve taken a shower, my hair is down instead of in a messy bun, and I’ve put on a brand new pair of yoga pants.

It doesn’t matter if I’m home or out. I present myself this way on excursions to the library and trips to CVS or the grocery store. I see moms sometimes — at the park, at after school pickup — who are done up nicely, hair blown out and gorgeous, wearing jeans and boots, a button-up shirt or cardigan. I think they look great, and I will admit that a bit of envy kicks in when I see them. But my question to them is: “How on earth do you manage that?”

Truly, I want to know. I can barely make myself lunch and sit down to eat it. But eating is a priority so I have to do it. So is feeding my kids, peeing and pooping, and getting dressed. I shower because I can’t really be a member of society otherwise (but I absolutely don’t have time to do it daily). Exercise is also a priority — without my daily dose of endorphins, I would go nutso. I can’t really deal with a filthy house, so I tend to that too.

Basically, my life is so freaking full and busy that I have to prioritize big time, and wearing makeup and fussing about my appearance is very low on the list — so low that it almost never makes it on the list at all. I suppose that if I cared about making myself up as much as I care about clean toilets, then I would damn well make it a priority. And maybe I should.

My husband thinks I’m sexy no matter what I look like (bless his heart), but I wonder if somehow wearing makeup more frequently would add a bit of liveliness or flair into my life. I wonder if I would be spunkier, a bit more fun. Would my life be more interesting? Would it feel less like everything revolved around my kids if I took more time to beautify?

I have a feeling that my focus on my appearance will return a bit as my kids get older. There will be more opportunities for going out and dressing up. I’ll have more time to shower, to look in the mirror and apply a bit of mascara without a toddler trying to climb up on the sink and pluck my “paintbrush” out of my hand.

But for now, I’m a makeup free mom. It works for me. And my kids — especially the opinionated little 3-year-old — do not seem to mind.

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