Loving Myself without Make Up for My Children

Loving Myself without Make Up for My Children was inspired by a piece written by Violet’sMama called “I’m Not Pretty Enough”.  Whether you have children or not, this is a piece that should be read.

Just as I am

My daughter, 3, has started asking me to straighten her gorgeous and curly locks- that’s what she sees me do, and she wants to be just like me.

My daughter, and my son, ask me to put make-up on them, too.  That’s what they see me do, and they want to be just like me.

I don’t want my children to be just like me though.  I don’t want them to think that they need to alter themselves before they leave the house.  I don’t want them to think that they are less deserving of partaking in the world because their faces are red and splotchy, or because they are carrying extra weight, or because their nose is crooked.

I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin instead of trying to climb out of it.

My daughter and son want the real me- not the covered up, straightened out me.  They want to see my skin and touch my curly hair.  They want to connect with me without barriers and sheaths.

I suspect that it is only a matter of time before my morning routine of straightening and covering is forgotten, thanks to Violet’s Mama.  It is hard for me to believe this though, because when I look in the mirror at my unpainted face and curly hair, I see ugly.  I see messy.  I see out of control that is shining through the red in my face.

For today though, I will not wear make-up. Some days I will not feel strong enough to be so exposed. On those days I will straighten my hair and put on my make-up while my children are not looking.  This will bother me- because now I know.  I get it.  I understand.

For the sake of my children I am forced to learn to love myself exactly as I am.  This is daunting and scary and overwhelming.  I am smart enough to know though, that the inner peace and outward joy that this brings will be far greater than the fear I am feeling now.

This process will require inner work and self examination.  There will be lots of consciously overriding thoughts- the ones I have believed for 38 years.

I have done this before when I changed the way I parent, so I know that it is possible.  I also know that the result will be something unexpected and far greater than I could anticipate.

Mostly, I want the result to be two children who love themselves exactly as they are. For this, I am willing to do all of the work in the world.

I am so grateful to Violet’sMama for writing and sharing “I’m not Pretty Enough”.  It is, what I suspect will be,  a life altering piece for me. Thank you <3

17 Replies to “Loving Myself without Make Up for My Children”

  1. Thank you so very much Jennifer! You are beautiful! You have helped me feel more confident in the way I parent my daughter. You have changed the lives of so many children and parents by spreading your messages of peace, love and acceptance.

  2. This is interesting- I have something very opposite happening in my parenting with my daughters. I am pretty plain- not a make-up or fancy dressing person. not because i am so confident in my appearance, but more because a. I never have been, and b, I am still after 7 years about 70 lbs over my pre baby weight.. So i don’t feel pretty and am somewhat beyond caring. My daughters are unfortunately onto me. Despite my best intentions to hide my unhappiness with my weight from them, they frequently remind me that I should be skinnier and fancier– and so wish I could be beautiful and fancy for them. so sometimes (or kind of often even) I try, but it really isn’t me. The are so into fancy- and even wanted to do a beauty pageant (and still do) so here I am. an unfancy mom- with very fancy daughters. I often say they are filling in the hole in the universe I left in that world.

  3. You ARE beautiful!
    I do not wear makeup. I feel authentic in telling my children that they are beautiful and enough exactly as they are. So glad you are joining the club. 🙂

  4. My mom wore make up for fancy days (ha, there weren’t that many), but I liked it because we had something to dress up with but we saw it wasn’t necessary all the time. Now I don’t wear make up because I just dont have time, but I am glad to be proud of my natural face

  5. What a wonderful post. You should feel very proud for making such a brave change for your babies. Your picture looks very pretty to me, not ugly AT all! Also, re your complexion, it will *definitely* improve the longer you go without makeup, so just stay strong! Bravo, mama! Rock on!

  6. I struggle with this all the time. My daughter tried applying colored pencils to her eyes (thankfully no injuries were sustained) to be like me. While she might still associate me with makeup, one of my goals when raising my daughters is for them to have a positive self image. I don’t want them to think about the word fat. I don’t want them to have a picture of a mom always trying the next fad diet or talking about how she needs to lose weight.

  7. I understand where your coming from with this post, but I don’t agree with it. Why when we become parents must we stop caring for our self’s. Now let me explain I went through a bought of depression when I was in my 20’s and I stopped caring for myself, I stopped doing my hair and putting on makeup. As I got better I realized that I was worth the time it took to do those things, because it made me feel good about myself. And I think your children will lose a valuable lesson that they too are worth the time it takes to care for oneself. Because if you don’t do it who will. I think we can so easily loose our self in this role of a parent and forget they we are strong women as well, not just a wife, or a mother but all 3, and we must remember to care for our self. And if it makes us feel good to do it, then we should take the time to do it. And tell our children “I do this because it makes me feel good” and ask them what makes them feel good.

    • I think what Violet’s mom and Jennifer are trying to say is exactly that, loving yourself, taking care of yourself because you are worth it. Scrunch and wear your beautiful curls proudly, or brush and leave your hair straight and beautiful. Don’t try to hide who you are, don’t try to cover up your face. There is a big difference in taking care of your skin, cleansing, moisturizing and such, and feeling depressed and not taking care of yourself at all. I agree with you that as mothers we need to remember to take care of ourselves, especially to teach our children to feel self-worth. We do let ourselves fall to the way side a lot. The lesson here is to learn that you don’t need make up to make you feel good, that self worth is not measured by how you look in make up, or if you curled your straight hair or straightened your curly hair, or if you are wearing the pretty clothes. I want my girls to know they are beautiful without the tiara. Self worth and beauty comes from within.

      • Thanks, Jen :). Yes, that’s the point.

        As I said, I do still wear make-up sometimes. Isn’t it interesting though, that we equate make- up with self care? Many would say that make-up promotes precisely the opposite!

  8. Thank you for this. I am pregnant with my first daughter and am very conscious of becoming the standard for what it means to be woman to her. It terrifies me. My mind tells me that beauty comes in all packages and that others will judge me by my actions not my face but that same intelligent mind thinks up words like fat and ugly to describe me. I am so afraid to pass on my insecurities to her.

  9. as far as makeup goes, i have always found it funny that people use it to cover up acne, or skin issues…. what i wonder is if the makeup stopped, would the issues go away? the minute i put makeup on my skin, i break out the astringent because i know im gonna break out something fierce. those are chemicals and stuff you are putting on your skin; and that soaks in and affects your body! its likely that the chemicals and stuff cause just as many problems as you’re covering!

    i havent worn makeup in 4 years. i have MUCH more time, i dont worry about touching my face, or my kid kissing my face (which happens A LOT, even from my 6 year old boy!!) or sometimes he even licks me like a cat! i couldnt imagine what it would be like if i were wearing makeup; all of a sudden he cant kiss me like a cat because im insecure about a few spots?

    lol

  10. I am so inspired by this piece and also the piece by violets mamma. I have found myself just lately feeling overly self-concious and a little isolated in this …. A friend of mine recently pledged not to wear make up for a month…. And I was inspired to try leaving the house without make up a couple of times a week, on those days I felt confident enough to do so. I have two small girls (age 1 & 3) and a boy (age 5) and this piece made me address how my children perceive the fact that ‘mummy has to put make up on for the school run, quick trip to the shop etc’… I am inspired to make a more concious effort to find the confidence in myself and how I look as an individual without trying to attain something that society sometimes makes me feel is expected. Lets see how we go on! But it is so important that our children accept first and foremost that everyone is unique and individual and that is what society should focus on, not a tainted view of ‘beauty’

  11. I think one of the most important things to pass on to my children is that we need to loves our bodies, be healthy, and see the beauty of life. I do not wear make up and feel that women should not ever have to in order to be considered pretty or beautiful. Our world worries too much about how we look to others, “am I pretty enough?”, “am I fat?”, “does this dress make me look good?”. What about being happy and healthy? Why can’t we think and worry about feeling our best and living a happy life, instead of looking our best to impress others?

  12. I don’t wear that much makeup, but I never did anyhow. (When I remember, I use a little mascara and some lip gloss) My almost 5-year old daughter came in when I was putting on the mascara, and she was quite concerned about what I was doing. She questioned if it was safe. When you stop to look at it in that perspective, it is such a strange thing to do!

  13. I am a little conflicted on this. I have a rushed morning schedule and always had my make up box in the living room area. My children see me put on make up everyday, sometimes twice, I also straighten or fix my hair frequently. I never leave the house without make up, because it makes me look better(feel better) and I’m proud that I take time to take care of my appearance. My son has a facial difference so I’m very sensitive to praising emotional and intellectual attributes in each of us but this article makes me feel I’m demonstrating superficiality. It has motivated me to try and have my grooming done before they wake up that’s for sure.

  14. Pingback: Giving Jess memories. | Gump's Bump