I'm not sure when I started to care less about my physical appearance. Or maybe it wasn't so much a lack of caring as it was a lack of hanging out in front of the mirror for a ridiculous amount of time, trying to look "just so," trying to make my hair do this, or trying to make my makeup make me look like that.
But if I had to guess, I'd say it was a few years after leaving the television newsroom, somewhere in the process of donating all my suits to Goodwill, venturing into the maze-like world of self-employed land, and becoming a mom.
To walk into the preschool and the elementary school looking like I just rolled out of bed takes a whole new level of self-confidence (that's what I tell myself). I can still "bring it" if the occasion calls for it. But I get tired just thinking about it.
A couple of years ago when I was pregnant with Cate and started rocking the pregnancy bun (hair twisted into a knot on top of my head) Blake would cry, "No! Pretty hair. I want pretty hair," directing me to leave my hair down. And now, Dillon has started making comments about my appearance.
He tells me my face looks bigger when I'm wearing makeup. To demonstrate, he holds his hands up to his face, his fingers shooting out like sun rays. "And when you don't wear makeup, your face is smaller, like this" and he closes his fingers, the sun rays wilting like dead flowers.
I'm trying to decide how I feel about this. I've decided that I'm not that offended. His observation is accurate. My eyelashes and eyebrows are light, so when I'm makeup-free, there's a definite difference. And I can't deny the signs of aging and the less-than-radiant, sleep-deprived, dehydrated self I often find staring back at me in the mirror. Eye cream. Sleep. Water. It can't be that hard, right? But I get tired just thinking about it.
Somewhere along the way, I shifted from feeling liberated by the lack of hairspray in my life, to feeling like, "Why bother? What's the point of getting prettied up when today's audience is made up of mostly children?"
So perhaps, I'm feeling surprised that my sons actually see me. They notice.
I want my sons to understand that I am human. I want to be a super mom, but I'm not aspiring to be supermom. So, when I dab on concealer and apply a few strokes of mascara, I'll remind myself that it's not about vanity, it's about the vibes I'm giving off. My kids feed off of my energy (and my lack of it). They notice, and it reminds me to remember to take care of myself (yes, I have to remind myself to remember).
I'm worth it. They are worth it.
More sun. Less wilting flower. Got it.