When I became a mom, I knew that my beauty routine would go on the backburner for a while. I figured that my sense of style might change (hello Spanx, nice to meet you) and that the luxury of manis and pedis would be limited to extra special occasions. But, like many moms, I didn’t quite grasp how having children would shift my self-care world to the extent that a mere shower could feel like a vacation.Beauty and style trends don’t come naturally to me. Much like motherhood, I have to work hard to keep up! I know I’m not alone. I get questions from new moms all the time about how their new identity can still allow for their individuality (spit up on the shoulder is hip this winter, right?) Style can truly feel like an extension of yourself, so when it gets a major overhaul by changes to your life and body, it’s common to question how to express your new self through your looks and appearance.
In a world where Instagram reminds us to only take selfies in perfect lighting and follow people who have it more together than we do, it can feel daunting to bother with things like beauty and fashion. Yet, most moms miss this part of their lives after having a baby and find it frustrating to balance being their “best self” as well as someone who was up all night rocking a screaming hyena to sleep.
This is normal! You will survive. But, if you avoid mirrors and sunlight, your fashion sense may not. It takes a little effort to get back in the groove of what you like, what you look good in, and most importantly what makes you feel your absolute best. Even if you are still coming to terms with those stretchmarks on your new mama tummy, or if you can’t quite bring yourself to cut those natural locks you grew out during your pregnancy, that’s okay. Regaining a sense of your style starts on the inside anyway.
Step one to figuring out your post-baby self is to take inventory of your overall wellbeing. Before you start picking out blushes and blouses, make sure your emotions are in check. It’s common to feel a new sense of “mommy guilt”, but you should know that you’re well worth the time and effort it takes to feel pretty (or feel like yourself) again.
Once you’re ready to rediscover your preferences, the fun can really begin! Fair warning that social media is wrought with content that’s more shame-inducing than inspiring. So, as you begin your search for what’s trending, only lean in towards what fills you up with joy. The second you sense yourself comparing your non-filtered life to that of a highly-edited blog or photo, close the browser and keep looking.
Here are a few of my favorites to get you on your way!
If Carrie Bradshaw had grown up and had kids, she would be Beth Jones. Beth is originally from South Carolina, but has lived in Orange County California for the past several years. Her vintage-meets-modern style and flair for fun makes thrift shopping with children feel like a haute couture scavenger hunt.
Ultra chic moms, Meggan and Brooke, totally rock the young mama scene. These gals know where to shop, what’s worth buying, and how to make it look good whether you are just strolling to Target or actually jet-setting to New York for the weekend. They know how to wear oversized style and make it look like you haven’t just been vegging out on the couch since 1993. From beauty to baby, they got you covered.
Lauren McBride has a lifestyle blog that’s just, well, lovely. She’s open about her struggle to get pregnant, sharing her heart about her own family as she dishes out the DIY on creating a gorgeous wardrobe and home with her passion for design and style. Her photos make you want to clean up your act, and her charm makes you want to call her up and chat. Her blog is perfect mix of help and hope.
By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz surrounding Beautycounter and their skincare and makeup products that are safe for the whole family. If you need someone to personally guide you through the “what’s what” then please follow the link above or inquire about a local rep in your area. But, what I really love about Beautycounter is that they have an entire YouTube dedicated to tutorials!
Their effort to clean up makeup and make cosmetic and personal products that are safer for everyone, while creating more jobs for women along the way is definitely something that will empower and inspire your day!
No matter where you find your new sense of style, wear it proudly. This phase of life is full of chaos, and there’s no shame in the top-knot and yoga pants that get you through the thick of it! As your energy ebbs and flows with the demands of little ones, try to take time to care for yourself in the way you deserve. Look at yourself in the mirror and remind that beautiful person how strong and lovely she is (it’s okay to lock the bathroom door, I won’t tell). Sure, you may not feel like a supermodel most days; but, you’re something far more important, a role model.
Emily Pardy is a counselor and founder of Ready Nest Counseling in Nashville. Ready Nest Counseling helps couples prepare for parenthood by caring for their relational wellness as they transition through conception, pregnancy, post-partum, and infertility. Emily has written for multiple parenting publications including Thriving Family magazine and ParentLife magazine. She has her Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Lipscomb University and is the author of For All Maternity, a humorous memoir of her own journey into motherhood. Emily resides in Nashville, TN with her husband and three rambunctious daughters.