Mom Hair

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The other day I posted a picture of my feet strapped into a pair of new Target sandals. These cute little gladiator spin-offs with a wraparound ankle strap were the first non-athletic shoe purchase I’ve made post-partum. And by post-partum I mean I’m already one whole year into motherhood the second time around (is that even considered post-partum? Because I still feel like I JUST had a baby). My Target sandals are cute, cheap, and comfortable, a purchase home run into the stands of mom land. So, of course, I was excited to share pictures of them with my five Instagram followers.

Within minutes of posting I got a text message from my best friend: “GET A PEDICURE ASAP” it read. When I looked back at the picture, I saw how right she was. My right toenail was practically curling over like a witches’ talon it was so long and my left was sporting a jagged edge that looked like it could cut a person. In a world of glossy nail art and all the hashtags, my unpolished, unbuffed nails just didn’t belong. I couldn’t (and still can’t) remember the last time I sat uninterrupted in a vibrating chair at the nail salon. This got me thinking about how much my beauty regime has changed since having not one, but TWO, human beings to take care of.

Hair

Remember when regular haircuts and highlights were a thing? There was an actual time in the history of my existence as an adult person with a bank account where I observed the “every 6 weeks” for a haircut rule. I laugh thinking about that now.
With my first kid, it was months before I thought to address my reverse skunk stripe. I remember finding some woman in my local mom’s Facebook group to come highlight my hair at home so I could continue breastfeeding my ten week old, who refused the bottle, on demand. This was a disaster. My baby screamed the entire time, the poor stylist got hair bleach on her black pants because I tried to nurse my squirming daughter under the cape, and half my hair turned out white. Not blonde. We’re talking white like a snow leopard white. This debacle forced me to book an expensive and even more time consuming corrective procedure – months later – because I hadn’t found a babysitter I trusted right when it happened.
So when baby number two came along, I was two years into the best thing ever to happen to mom life: Ombre. Easy. Low maintenance. The perfect style for my budget and new lifestyle. Is the ombre trend over? I’m not sure I care. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Even if fashion tells you otherwise.
But when I started losing fistfuls of hair three months after the birth of my son, sporting near bald spots at my temples and scraggly strands that make the Fraggles of Fraggle Rock look like hair models, I was forced to chop the locks. Forced. The thought of sitting under bad lighting with a bunch of outdated magazines when there were kitchens to clean, kids to kiss, and books to write did not sound appealing.
When I finally did it, cut my hair shorter than it’s ever been and updated my Ombre, I DID feel better. But not better enough to come back for round two anytime soon. I’m a twice a year kind of girl these days. And now that I rarely blow dry, flat iron, or curl my hair because I never leave this prison I call my home (kidding!), I actually think things have balanced out. My hair is healthier and my pocketbook is too.

Waxing

I got waxed in various places every month before I became a mother.
After my daughter was born, I tangled with the torture a few times a year.
By now I’ve given up on the illusion that I’m part of the hairless cat family. And that at home laser I dropped entirely too much on? I’ve used it once. It just takes too freaking long. I rather spend the extra time doing something I enjoy in those rare quiet mom moments instead of having hot wax slathered on places I probably shouldn’t show anyone but my husband. Lucky for all of you, I won’t be posting any close-ups of my bikini area anytime soon OR probably ever.

Nails

As discussed above, I just don’t have the time. I mean, you make time for the things you care about, so maybe I just don’t care. As much I’d love to have charms dangling from my nails like a Kardashian they’d last for all of five minutes. I’d probably lose one in my toddler’s smoothie (where I hide all the green things) or I’d snap them all off in anger one morning because long nails and kid sweater buttons are like environmentalists at a Trump convention: frustrated and depressing.

For now, I’ll settle on polish less short nails that look healthy-ish because I’m not shlacking them with toxic paint. Or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself when my best friend comes over with her newly applied spring pedicure and I dream about how nice it would be to spend forty-five minutes being doted on by my neighborhood nail ladies. Okay, maybe I kind of care.

Makeup

I love it. I will always love it. What else can I thank for making me look half alive for the family photos I took two weeks after my son was born? Or for reuniting me with the wild hot pink lipstick wearing single girl from my youth? While my habits have changed – I’m more a mascara and tinted chapstick kind of person on the every day – I still love the way makeup can make me feel beautiful and glamorous. It’s just that now I’m a lot more comfortable leaving the house without it. That’s probably the greatest unconventional gift my children have given me – I’m 50% less vain and 100% happier because of it.

Motherhood has drastically changed my beauty budget, my grooming habits (whole weeks will go by without so much as a lick of deodorant gracing my armpits, but that’s a whole different story), and the level of time and energy I spend on my looks. But I still do like to get pretty. Hopefully my red-lipstick-just-because days, for example, are teaching my daughter and my son that it’s okay to want to feel beautiful. To have fun with your appearance. To get creative with your look. But it’s okay to skip the salon too, let those roots grow dark, and those nails grow natural. When beauty is taking time away from the things you love, it’s not worth it.

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9 comments

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  1. Sara

    Bless you for making this new normal feel a little more, well, normal! I feel like other Moms are so much better put together but I just don’t care about it all like I used to.

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    • Steph Mignon

      I def still like to feel pretty now and then, but man I used to stress about these things! Lots of pressure here in LA to look perfect. Now I’m like an hour for nails or an hour at the gym….i can only choose one. There’s just no time for all the things!

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  2. Mamalife

    So so so true. I actually let my eyebrows get bushy ever so often. I haven’t had a mani pedi in ages( I used to be the 6 weeks gal there). And I have a lot more white in my hair than I care to acknowledge.
    Somehow, after having 2 babies, it just doesn’t matter. To m,e good looking means, neat hair, daily shower and well ironed clean clothes.
    Its not that I don’t care about vanity, I do, its just that its no longer a priority. Am sure when kids start school, we will start getting to our older selves.

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  3. theunexpectedtrip

    Love this post. I feel like a frumpy, tired-looking person with a body made of taffy (oh that new sensation when I don’t wear a bra, the feeling of my breasts lying flattish on my ribs, eeeeee). I recently started doing box color for my tenacious gray hair…the salon is so much better, and I love highlights, but the box color costs $7 not $70 and I actually don’t enjoy hanging out in a salon chair when I could be screaming with laughter during bedtime antics with S and Dada. So what if it looks a little brassy? At least no one is calling me S’s grandma. I cut and file my nails and go without polish. I haven’t had the patience for blow drying or styling for years but sometimes I wish I had the time and energy to do a little something nice for my mop….usually I’m lucky if I get it up in a nice-ish looking ponytail. I recently got color correction tinted SPF 30 for my face and when I have the time to put it on, I breathe a little sigh of relief. I’ve been wanting so much to switch to the oil cleansing method for my face, I love it when I’m able to do it, but it’s messy and time-consuming and there just isn’t enough time and energy some nights. Thanks for sharing. I love this topic. All our lives we’ve been trained in the beauty arts and then motherhood comes and we have to give up so much of it! Worth it, of course.

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