I am organized. I am efficient. I have my stuff together.
This is part of my daily mantra.
I include this in my mantra because there was a time when I was a hot mess. And while it was hard at the time, I learned so much about myself as a mother and as a woman that I wouldn’t take it back.
The moment I realized I was a hot mess is etched into my memory. It was my rock bottom moment.
I had just picked my son up from pre-k and he was wearing a sticker reminding parents of picture day the next day (thank you to his amazing teachers).
Seeing the picture day sticker, I realized that my son needed a haircut. Bad.
So we drove to the nearest Supercuts with a grumpy baby sister in tow for a quick haircut before dinner.
As he was getting settled in the salon chair, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I almost cried. I was wearing maternity pants, had baby boogers on my shirt, a messy top knot (not the cute kind), and no makeup. I looked exhausted and beaten.
And I was.
I had two kids under five. My 8-month-old was nursing like a newborn during yet another growth spurt and wasn’t sleeping through the night. I was working from home and we had just moved from the East Coast to the Midwest away from all our family and friends.
I realized how little I was taking care of myself. Brushing my teeth and putting on clean-ish clothes was the best I could manage on any given day. Between work, kids and a new home, I was frazzled and stressed.
I knew I wasn’t taking care of myself but I told myself I had babies and I wasn’t supposed to be taking care of myself right now.
But at that moment in the Supercuts mirror, I realized the way I looked was a reflection of how I felt on the inside.
When I got home I had a good long cry and then decided I needed to make some changes. I needed to start taking better care of myself.
I remember somebody telling me that in times of economic downturns, sales of lipstick and nail polish skyrocket. Whether this is true or not I have no idea, but the theory is that these small purchases help women feel better during times of stress.
So, the next day I woke up and put on a cute pair of jeans and a top without baby boogers on it. I did my makeup. The only people who saw me that day, and most days, were the teachers in the car line. But I wasn’t doing it for them. I was doing it for me. For the first time in what felt like forever, I felt better.
That little bit of positivity felt like so much. And it motivated me even more.
I threw my maternity pants out and drank more water. I did yoga for the first time since my oldest was born.
Instead of focusing on all the things that needed to get done, I started focusing on gratitude. Gratitude for the big things and the small things in my life.
And the amazing thing was that I started to feel better. I started to feel like myself again.
That one moment at Supercuts, when I saw myself as I really was, was a powerful moment in my life. Through the process of becoming myself after babies, I learned the power of gratitude and mindset. I learned that with enough mental fortitude we can talk ourselves out of, or into, anything. And a great lipstick can go a long way.