I spent $948 on makeup last year. Here's how it helped me be a better mom.
- When I was in my 20s I loved experimenting with make-up, but as I got older I didn't have time for it.
- Now I use makeup as "me" time, I have 20 minutes a day to just focus on myself.
I was obsessed with makeup in my 20s. Growing up with a mom who was too busy working and never had time to herself, I never got to play with makeup as a kid. However, I realized that makeup could be a creative outlet in college.
But as life got busier as I got older, my interest in spending time applying a cat-eye or red lip waned. Then, when I met my husband shortly after turning 30, makeup became an indulgence on special occasions. It was no longer a part of my identity the way it had been earlier in my life.
After becoming a mom two years ago, I completely forgot what it was like to "dress up" or "get cute" as the world shut down. I never thought about these things in the throes of the new parent chaos. But then, a year after my son was born, I realized that I could no longer stand the dark circles under my eyes during work Zoom calls.
Some call this "Zoom fatigue." I called it a call to do something just for me.
Self-care without guilt
Despite the commercialization of "self-care" and my husband encouraging my "me" time, I quickly felt guilty over my new makeup ritual.
I went slowly. First, I bought a foundation and concealer. Then I got mascara. Finally, I found my favorite blush and red lipstick. Little by little, I would sneak in a few minutes here and there in the morning to apply these to my face on days that I knew I had virtual meetings. Soon my mom noticed my change.
Although she had started to take care of herself, and even wear makeup in the last decade, she didn't understand my newfound fascination with applying makeup when I barely left the house. My husband didn't get it either.
He supported my new hobby, but he had become used to my makeup-free face through the years. Even mom friends and coworkers with kids, who always said I looked cute, didn't get it. Instead, they commended me for "making the time" for me when they simply couldn't.
This constant feedback emphasized my growing guilt over spending time and money on myself — until I realized that it made me a better mom.
My makeup routine gives me 20 minutes to be alone
As a mom with an anxiety disorder, my mind was constantly racing. There is no "off" switch.
A few months into my habit, I noticed that I felt better on days that I applied makeup. I felt confident and energetic and smiled more. I was also more patient when my toddler had a tantrum. I soon realized that the difference in mood was due to the time I spent in front of the bathroom mirror. It was the only time of day when I wasn't thinking about everyone and everything else.
It turns out that taking care of myself not only allowed me to get creative with my look but also provided the kind of self-care that relieved my new mom anxiety.
At the end of the year, I tallied my makeup expenses and was shocked to find I spent almost $1,000. But honestly, I would spend that all over again for these 20 minutes of peace every day.
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