The other night, JP and I were doing something that required us to leave the house, and, since leaving the house is a special occasion these days, I decided to put on a bit of make-up, which hasn’t happened, I don’t think, since maybe Thanksgiving? I heard a speaker once talk about how long make-up lasts and I realize now that everything I put on my face that night was probably expired and I’ll likely be breaking out in a rash at any moment…but it’s hard to justify buying new make-up when you only wear it a few times a year!
Anyway. Felicity came into the bathroom where I was finishing up. I thought she’d be like “wow mom you look so pretty.” Or “wow mom you look so fancy!” Instead, she crinkled up her nose and said “why do you have so much make-up on your face?”
This, my friends, was an interesting moment. I’ve worked very hard to teach my children that the way God made us is good. And that it’s okay for us to express ourselves with color or fashion. But that we shouldn’t use those things because we feel like who we are isn’t good enough, they should just be for fun.
I grew up with a mom who was coming into her own in the 1980’s, so I saw her wear pretty heavy make-up every day, and touch it up often before we went anywhere. I’ve always had a bit of a different relationship with make-up than that, but one side-effect of the pandemic for me has been that I pretty much stopped using make up at all. I had reduced my usage significantly over the past several years, especially during my pregnancies when I just didn’t feel good enough to do anything ‘extra’ at all. But when Covid hit, it made it easier for me to think about the role I wanted make-up to play in my life as a whole. I also started using the Curly Girl method (albeit loosely) for my hair, and have been enjoying embracing my natural waves!
But back to make-up, from a cultural perspective, I think it’s interesting that women in America often ‘paint’ their faces when they go out in public. Just the general routine of that is interesting to think about, especially when men don’t wear make-up at all. Though, if we lived in a different country in a different century, wealthy men would have worn make-up out in public all the time! I’ve also had conversations with people who thought they should be perfectly put together for their husbands each day, and that put together meant doing their hair and make-up fully. That’s always felt a bit odd to me because I feel like somewhere in there is the assumption that there’s something wrong with my normal face and hair.
In the end, I just told Felicity that I felt like adding some color, but that it honestly felt a bit weird for me, too! She said she likes my non-make up face because that feels more like her mom’s face. Her warm, snuggly mom that she sees every day. And, oh my heart. The face she sees reading her a bedtime story, or cooking dinner, or teaching her math, is just my straight up normal face. And she loves it. And that’s super cool.
I don’t do it perfectly, but I’m working hard on loving myself as I am, so my children grow up loving themselves as they are, too.
So here’s me. And my normal face. 🙂