In every household, there is only room for one cutest person. For new mothers, that cutest person happens to be tiny, adorable and filled with the power to suck every ounce of energy out of them.
I would know. I adhered to the Dr. Sears style of parenting and sleep training with my first child. After three months without sleep, my Dad saw a photo I had posted on Facebook and called me to tell me, “Hon, if you want to have a second child, you should probably do it soon. You’re starting to get old.”
I did…have a second child that is. And I did look pretty rough. However, three years and a new job later, I have to say that I’ve finally gotten my act back together.
On behalf of my formerly beaten down self, and for all of the new moms who are going through the same thing right now, I offer the following advice.
How to Look Good (or at least OK) After Having Children:
1. Invest in a good under-eye concealer. I use a Neutrogena one, but I have many a veteran mom friend who recommends MAC. Whichever budget you want to go by, find yourself a makeup counter and buy some concealer.
2. If you’re feeling tired, don’t eat. Sleep. If you’re feeling hungry, sleep, but many of us eat because it’s an easier remedy to exhaustion. Resist the urge for potato chips and diet coke, and call a friend, relative or spouse to tell them you are exhausted and need help. Or hire a babysitter just to get some sleep. He or she will be cheaper than a personal trainer or Jenny Craig. (A note for some street cred: I spent 10 years as an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor and a year as a fitness columnist. I’m not just some random blogger attempting to give health advice.)
3. Choose a hairstyle that goes with your hair type. Many moms opt for shorter hair because of this, but I have found that long hair is easier, and that a bun or slick ponytail at work is a great, chic option.
4. If you don’t have time to do both your hair and makeup, pull your hair back into a bun and do your makeup.
5. Start mixing a tinted face lotion with foundation for your make up base. It will seriously speed up your makeup process. Observe: a squeeze of lotion, two pumps of foundation, rub your hands together, and apply to face like a face lotion. Add blush. Add mascara. Boom, you’re done.
6. If you can, work out on your lunch break. You’ll have less mommy guilt at night, and many a study has found that movement at lunch helps your brain clear so that you can perform better in the afternoon. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas on the cross trainer, lovingly called The Velociraptor by my roommate from college and me.
7. If you are reading this while pregnant, walk or swim as much as you can during your pregnancy. If you are reading this directly after having a child, consider a month or two of weekly Pilates Reformer classes. I know they are expensive, but they help your abdomen tighten up after your last seriously body-altering nine months.
8. Negotiate with a spouse/partner/relative to get one hour per week of personal hygiene time. Block out waxing, tweezing and exfoliation for that time. If you’re as pale as I am, you may also want to opt for applying self tanner during that hour; it too can help dark circles to look less prevalent.
9. If your adorable baby has been rubbing his/her adorable hair, face and sticky hands against your chin all week and you have developed Mommy Chin, do not lose hope. Buy yourself a facial scrub with antibacterial properties and a Clarasonic or the drug store equivalent. I actually asked for it as my Mother’s Day gift last year, and it may be the best gift I have ever gotten.
10. Work on your posture. Carrying around a baby or toddler is rough on your back and shoulders, and you can look weighed down even after your little person is walking on his/her own. Do your best to stand up straight and proud. You survived; you should be proud of yourself.
That is all. And if any of my readers saw me at the gym this morning looking absolutely terrible, please don’t tell anyone.