There, I thought, putting the mascara wand back into the tube. That looks pretty good. Now I’ll just add a sweep of lip gloss and a spritz of hairspray and I’ll look totally fabulous!
Wait. No. That never happened. Or maybe it did, but it happened long ago in those hazy days of my life before kids so I don’t remember it.
Here’s the thing. Now that I’m a stay-at-home-mom with more little kids than I know what to do with, it takes A LOT of effort to look good. And “good” is actually as good as it ever gets. It’s never “fabulous.”
But when the holidays creep up like ill-fitting underthings, so do the holiday parties. And for some of those parties, especially my husband’s office party, I just want to look as close to fabulous as I can get. It shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Magazines often have features like “Beauty Tips for Busy Moms!” or “The Only Beauty Product You’ll Need to Look Great in Five Minutes!” And they always use terms like “a sweep of lip gloss,” which I really don’t understand because I’m pretty sure that if I “swept” lip gloss anywhere near my face, I’d end up with a shimmery pink eyebrow.
So these magazine claims? Lies.
It takes WAY more than five minutes for me to come anywhere close to looking great.
First of all, there’s the shower, and since I only really get to shower every few days, it means everything needs to be done: the shampooing, the deep conditioning, the shaving, the exfoliating – basically every one of those bottles and tubes lining the shower walls gets put to use.
Then I really need to moisturize because it’s winter again, so without some heavy-duty body cream, I feel like the cheap kind of construction paper they used to have in elementary school. That shit had specks of trees in it, that’s how rough it was.
Since I’ve had kids, my hair is like a young, misguided celebrity trying to reinvent itself constantly. It doesn’t know whether to be curly, straight, wavy, limp, or frizzy, and it likes to keep people guessing. So that takes some serious product use and time-consuming heat-blasting to look presentable. My arms actually get tired if I blow-dry it and then use a curling iron. Yes, maybe I do have freakishly weak arms, but also, it’s just too much hair.
Then there’s makeup. While I may have an over-ambitious head of hair, my eyelashes didn’t get the memo, and for a while there, I was seriously considering buying some of whatever that weird eyelash medication was that Claire Danes was inexplicably advertising. I’m sure it had side effects like diabetes and anal bleeding though, so I’ve just been sticking with my hyperbole-spouting drugstore mascara (150% MORE VOLUME!! ULTRA-ULTRA-MEGA-LENGTHENING FORMULA!!).
Then it’s time to get dressed. I don’t really have time to shop for anything new in the lingerie department, so the stretched out, flesh-tone, romance-repeller that is my nursing bra is my only choice there. It doesn’t really matter what kind of panties you pair with that thing, which is good because I don’t even know what sexy panties look like anymore.
And then – the Spanx. Because let’s be real. If I want to wear something festive and not some waistline-up-around-my-ribcage mom jeans, I’m going to need to get the muffin top under control. Yes, Maria Kang, I know you think that my muffin top is a choice, and maybe you’re right, but it’s here nonetheless, and sometimes I just want to keep it a secret. Or at least I’d like for it not to announce its presence too vigorously.
It takes a good five minutes just to get into my Spanx, so this part alone is enough to kill any hope of getting ready in five minutes. Once it’s on though, my clothes magically look a whole lot better than they would otherwise, so hopping around the bathroom and praying that no one comes in while I’m in this ridiculous position is totally worth it.
Next up: clothes. I have approximately two-and-a-half outfits that don’t involve yoga pants or a hoodie, so it’s a pretty easy choice. I rely on sparkly high heels and peep toes for any semblance of sex-appeal in my party attire. Thank god for cool shoes, huh? No matter how you’re feeling about your body or how many gray hairs you get, you can always find some fun shoes that fit.
And then, WOO HOO! I’m ready! My husband is wilting from waiting for me to get ready, but I like to think he totally appreciates that I put in some effort. And you know what? He may have been waiting for the better part of two hours for me to get scrubbed and polished like Grandma’s Christmas dishes, but you have to take into account that I only take this much time to get ready for a special occasion. So if you get creative with some math and divide 120 minutes by the 12 days of Christmas…
Let’s call it 10 minutes.
I can look fabulous (or, at least good) in 10 minutes.
Feel free to use this logic on your own husband/spouse/friend or whoever. Merry Christmas!