Since I've become a mum my general level of "self-care" has somewhat changed. BC (before children) I used to start my day (every day - how?!) with a shower, washing and conditioning my hair, scrubbing some sort of unctuous potion or lotion over my body, that would promise to transform my extremely "snow-white-esque" skin into something plump and wonderful. While I've never had a skin-care "routine" I was pretty committed to my Liz Earle habit, much to my husband and mother's bemusement (she doesn't wear a scrap of make-up or use a single product, and can't quite understand how she has produced two daughters who love all the lovely things...) I'd slather moisturiser over my body, stand like a star (in the shape of one, though sometimes I did feel like a little insouciant star-let) and let myself dry off, before slowly and luxuriously choosing my outfit, whilst slurping my morning cuppa. Then I'd carefully apply my make-up, finishing with a confident application of lipstick and a big smile to myself in my mirror (my favourites have always been MAC, Clinique and Revlon, but anything with plenty of pigment makes me happy!)
AC (after children) things have changed a smidge. Having a morning shower has become a topic of genuine interest and excitement in my household: the husband and I will spend good chunks of a "date night" saying:
"Remember when you just decided to DO IT? And you even SHAVED YOUR CHEEKS. In the MORNING?!"*
*his cheeks, not mine. And on his face. Just to be clear.
Now I make time for a bath in the evening (because we all know that #selfcare is important, and it means I properly relax. I even read sometimes. I often slop on some moisturiser then, and remember to get out the Liz Earle and the HOT CLOTH OF LOVELINESS.
In the morning however, no such rituals from BC remain. I pull on my outfit I hurriedly chose the night before (not because I don't love clothes - I do, as my Boden habit will attest - but because spending too long is keeping me from my bed of loveliness). I sort out the old fringe. And get on with the day.
But there is one part of my routine that is as sacrosanct as that morning cuppa I mentioned before. Without which I don't feel like me. That always happens after breakfast regardless of whether or not we are going out. I find my lipstick of choice for that day. I apply, normally smiling into the selfie-part of my iPhone (because who's going to be faffing about with a mirror when you've got a 3 and a 1 year old to get sorted). And I SMILE at myself.
From my first day of my PGCE, to my first professional singing gig, to my first day training as a KGHypnobirthing teacher, to leaving hospital with Adam, lipstick has been my weapon of choice.
Because we all know, it's not just lipstick.
It's "I've got still got my identity. I'm still that awesome woman that used to mooch around the beauty counters in John Lewis and just play with colour and texture. I'm still that 20-something who's getting ready to go out out. I'm strong. I'm powerful. I'm a Mum, and I'm so much more than what you might expect.
Laura, founder of Power of Mum