Mama & Little Guest contributor: The Real Reason Why Red Lipstick Boosted My Confidence

Avie Herman is disorganized homemaker who hates messes but thinks discarded socks belong on the living room floor. She's working on it. She believes in using social media to bring Godliness and light into the world, so she writes about modest fashion, Jewish womanhood, marriage and motherhood on her blog, Fashionably Frum. Her work has also appeared in the YU Observer, Hevria and the Forward.

Most moms can relate to the struggle between finding time for self care and managing all the other priorities that accompany motherhood. For me this started from the moment I found expecting my little bundle of joy and needs. Still, we all know that we have to meet our own needs before we can meet anyone else's, especially if we want to make it through the day with a shred of sanity.

Today I'm sharing a way I try to hold onto a piece of my pre-mom self, a small way that I can incorporate self-care into my day… or at least my week. I look forward to connecting with you as we all make our way through the ups and downs of raising our littles!

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Before I got pregnant with my daughter, I had become the kind of woman I'd always aspired to be: the kind who puts on a full face of makeup everyday. In fact, at one point I had become so dependant on wearing makeup daily that I began to participate in Makeup Free Mondays on my fashion blog. It was a fun way to begin engaging with cosmetics and the beauty industry in a healthier, more critical manner and to feel more in control of my relationship with both makeup and my unmade-up face.

Then I found out I was pregnant the day before starting my last, most hectic semester of college. Between putting together outfits that looked good, felt good and hid my expanding bump, all while trying to find something palatable to eat for breakfast and trying to avoid a face to face with the porcelain throne, I didn't have time for anything else during the morning rush, so putting on makeup slowly ceased all together. To my surprise, I didn't mind skipping the makeup and flaunting my bare face (read: dragging my nauseous self out of the house, with or without makeup) at first. I felt somewhat free as I unshackled myself from the fifteen or twenty minutes I'd previously spent in front of my mirror after getting dressed every day. I owed this feeling to my journey with Makeup Free Mondays, where I'd gotten more comfortable with my bare face and shed the notion that skipping makeup for a few days was akin to "giving up" on my appearance for the day.

Still, makeup or no makeup, I found myself in a mid-winter, early pregnancy, final semester of college slump and I had to get over it, or at least try to. So one morning, I woke up, got dressed, tried to eat something and then spent some quality time in front of my mirror with my makeup collection. And it was amazing. I felt alive and was reminded why I love wearing makeup: the self-love vibes that a few morning minutes spent pampering myself bestows; the creative rush that comes with selecting and applying various fancy products to my face; the meditative peace that accompanies a moment focussing on the colors, textures, and curves of my incredible, one of a kind face.

I'm not going to lie, the rest of that day was still pretty dull. It rained and my umbrella broke. I was tired and nauseous and had to leave class frequently to pee. I forgot my book for class, so I had to borrow a copy, but it was the wrong edition, so I couldn't find my place and  my favorite English professor called me out for not following along.

I can't say that my mascara or lipstick made these minor annoyances and discomforts any less frustrating. My day was probably not much different than it would have been if I'd skipped the makeup. Still, those moments in front of the mirror gave my day a peaceful start and I believe that they stayed with me as I trudged through the rain between classes.

This return to wearing makeup for one day didn't change my life or turn me back into my former daily-makeup-wearing self. I went on to mostly skip the makeup and do up my face sporadically through the rest of my pregnancy,on days when I had a particular occasion to wear it or when I needed a boost.  

Now that my baby is here, I wear makeup even less frequently than I did when I was pregnant. But I still strive to accept my face's inherent beauty, similarly to the way I aim to see my body for the wonderful things it does and has done, rather than just for how it looks. Makeup still has a special place in my life and my heart, but I don't have the time or energy to concern myself with applying it every morning, while trying to get myself and my baby dressed and off to start our day. Now even more, makeup has become an occasional, incredible treat, something special I do for myself from time to time, rather than a daily necessity -- although, of course there's still a niggling part of me that would love to go back to being the girl who couldn't leave the house without "putting on my face."

Avie Herman
October 02, 2017 by Arleene Taylor
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