How my perception of beauty changed once I had kids
In 2014, American women spent over 55 billion dollars on beauty products including skin care, makeup and hair products according to Statista, the leading statistics company online. Beauty is big business and we literally buy into the idea that these products will fix our flaws and improve our lives.
I am as guilty as the next woman and have a countertop littered with makeup spills and various bottles of lotions and potions, most of them age-defying, though I see no real evidence of that.
Despite the effort I make on a daily basis to improve my appearance, this does not make me feel beautiful. I feel beautiful when my 5 year old cuddles up next to me and we make goofy faces at each other until our bellies hurt from laughing. I know my face lights up when my 10-year-old daughter tells me about her day, explains her love of space or describes the planets in our solar system. When my 8 year old, who desperately wants to be more grown-up than I would like, calls me “mommy,” I feel beautiful. I am beautiful when I hold my kid’s hands as we cross the parking lot or walk to the park; that simple act of holding a hand is a symbol of caretaking and protection.
These moments might happen when my hair is straightened and my makeup is in place, but it more frequently happens when I am at home wearing threadbare yoga pants that I am too cheap to replace, or running errands in jeans and a t-shirt.
When I see a mom chasing her toddler at the playground, or splashing in the pool with her baby, I also see beauty in her. I wonder if other moms realize their beauty in these moments. Does the mama sitting in the baby pool smiling at her little one worry more about how her body looks in a tankini, or does she know how beautiful she looks while engaging with her child? The raw, exposed expression of love is so much more beautiful than anything we can get in a bottle or slather on our faces.
I probably won’t give up mascara and lip gloss anytime soon, but I have realized making changes to my outward appearance doesn’t make me feel beautiful, nor does it create beauty in others. Instead, the feelings generated from giving and receiving love, from truly enjoying life and those that we love, make us more beautiful than we realize.
About the Author
Jen Frey, health enews contributor, manages the Transportation Department at Advocate Condell Medical Center. Jen has a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her master’s degree in Recreation Administration from Aurora University. Jen’s favorite things include traveling with her children, exercising and finding a great bargain.