Hot on HuffPost Parents:
Is it really possible to be a 'Glama Mama'?
Filed under: Newborns, Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Your Pregnancy, Places To Go, Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, Life & Style, Celeb Parents, Day Care & Education, Mommy Musts, Feeding & Sleeping, Baby-sitting, Research Reveals: Babies, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Expert Advice: Babies, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Development: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Behavior: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Gear Guides: Babies, Gear Guides: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Expert Advice: Toddlers & Preschoolers
It started when I lost my sunglasses. You know how they tell you that when you get pregnant you start to forget everything? Some call it baby brain or pregnancy brain, or, as my OBGYN's lovingly refer to it, placenta brain. Turns out it's real--no joke! Also turns out it lingers well after the baby. Anyhoo, at some point toward the end of my pregnancy I had a severe case of placenta brain and managed to misplace my Ray-Bans.
I was particularly annoyed with myself over this because I had, up to that point, taken the best care possible of these sunglasses. They were really, really nice sunglasses too, ones I'd never normally purchase for myself. See, I have a history of misplacing or breaking sunglasses. I also have a habit of not spending a bazillion dollars on anything as paltry as a pair of sunglasses, especially when I have New York City rent to consider (even if it's in Brooklyn, it still ain't cheap). My mom happened to have a coupon and I happened to have lost or broken my last set of sunglasses which allowed me the luxury of picking up the Ray-Bans.
And, boy, were they COOL. I looked pretty good in them too. I'm not what you'd call a natural beauty by any means, but in these sunglasses I looked HAWT. Then I got knocked up and I lost them. Then I had a baby and remained indoors for a long time and basically no longer cared. I also no longer cared about my appearance. After all, no one but my husband and assorted in-laws and parents were seeing me, and they expected me to look like crap.
Then one day I decided to venture outside to get a breath of fresh air. I looked at myself in the mirror. Woah. There was simply no way I was going to go out looking like THAT. I can't even describe for you what "THAT" is--it's just too horrifying.
On top of this the weather had broken and it was delightful outside...but also very sunny. And I had nothing but a cheap pair of old sunglasses I fished out of my sock drawer to protect my eyes--and my identity. It's not like I wanted people to know it was ME out there looking like THAT.
The one thing I've managed to come up with to justify purchasing expensive sunglasses is that they really do better protect your eyes. The really good ones are polarized but don't make everything look orange and offer a broad spectrum of protection. Plus they make you look really, really sexy.
That last part shouldn't matter, but you know it does. At least, it does to me. Now that my son is almost two months old and I go out all the time, I want to look good again. For me, looking good is tantamount to feeling good (and vice versa). In order to look good (and also properly protect my eyes) I realized I was going to need some new sunglasses. The other ones showed no sign of turning up, so it was off to the store for me...and my husband, and our baby. There was no longer going to be any such thing as alone shopping time, I realized--at least not for a while. This was fine with me as I needed their opinions.
Ten minutes into the store I saw them. There they were: the most beautiful pair of sunglasses I'd ever seen (still are). Wow. They were Prada and they were luminous and I should never, never, NEVER have tried them on. They looked really good. No, I take that back--they made ME look really good, not like the chubby, nursing pad wearing, husband's shorts borrowing, pale-faced new mommy I was. In these glasses I was a megastar, the glamorous mama I'd always wanted to be--you know, like Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie, et al.
And it could all be mine for $245. Seriously. The price was staggering. Just in case you didn't know, I am not Gwen Stefani, et al, nor do I command their salaries. While I have enough money to shell out $245 for a pair of sunglasses I don't really want to. Actually, I really, really, really DO want to, but I just can't. I have my kid's braces to think about--he's definitely going to need them considering the messes in both my and my husband's mouth. I have college to think about--it's going to be like a bazillion dollars by the time my baby hits eighteen. I have any other kids I might have to think about--they're going to want to go to college too!
I also have my image and reality to consider. What's a gal like me going to do with such an expensive pair of sunglasses when the rest of her is so obviously out of touch with the glam gal she used to be? It's a long, hard road back to the fashionista I was pre-baby. Sure, a pair of stellar shades might set me back off on that journey, but is it even one I am willing to take, that I need to take? I couldn't directly answer that question so the answer to the Prada sunglasses was a resounding NO.
Leaving those shades behind and opting for something cheaper (I ended up going with essentially a copy of what I lost, meaning as soon as I get the call they're ready for pick up my old pair will resurface so I'll have spent $100 or whatever for no good reason) was difficult, but it had to be done. My husband told me at the time I could've purchased the Prada glasses if I'd really wanted them, and I did--really, I DID--but I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. Even the baby wanted me to get them--honestly, he wants a hot mama too--but I just couldn't part with the cash.
The sunglasses incident got me thinking, though: is it possible to even be a glamorous woman once you've had a child? We know that celebrities can do it; they do it every day. Their jobs are to invoke glamour at every turn. Celebrity moms are somehow able to be glamourous too. But what about the rest of us? Don't we normal gals want to be fabulous too? I know I do. I just want to be able to afford it as well.
After about two weeks--yes, it took that long--I was over my desire for the $245 Prada sunglasses. I had a less expensive pair on the way that my wonderful husband stated looked better on me anyway. I'm lucky--he's always telling me how beautiful I am and how great he thinks I look, especially since he knows how I am struggling with post-baby weight and appearance. Whether or not those statements are true is incidental. His telling me worked and continues to make me feel good.
And that's the point, after all, isn't it: feeling good? That's what glamour does for women. It makes them feel good about themselves. It makes them confident, which is really what makes a gal look great.
I started thinking about all the ways I could add a touch of glamour back into my life, bit by bit. The sunglasses were one thing, but the more I thought about it the more I realized there were other cheaper (or free) ways to look great and feel great too. For example, rather than spend hundreds of dollars on luminous skin creams, I've decided to bask in the glow of motherhood for as long as possible. That's free. And it feels great.
Got any great tips or stories about being a glama mama of your own you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them, and maybe even try them out for myself!