You know that moment when you find yourself standing in line at the grocery store next to the ‘Put-Together Woman’?
Come on girls, you know the one. She very well may have just stepped out of a magazine centerfold while you are fairly certain you resemble something more along the lines of a real-life Fraggle Rock muppet. This woman is flawless. Her makeup is spot-on, her clothes are wrinkle-free. Her toes are manicured and her fingernails look like they never once, in the course of her what-must-be-a-dream-life, scrubbed a single dirty bathtub, poopy toilet, or messy kitchen floor. She certainly never had her hands in soapy dishwater so often during the day it was a miracle her skin didn’t fall off let alone demolish her perfect pink nail polish. She is a walking perfection of the female species.
I know you know who I’m talking about now…
But, here’s the thing, I don’t hate her. I don’t even envy her. Because I don’t know her. I have no idea what her personal struggles are. I applaud her for her obvious fashion skills and mad make-up abilities. I will probably even tell her I love her hair. Or her shoes. Or her something. And, for all I know, while I am admiring her trendy jacket and crop top, she very well may be admiring my children and my life.
Maybe, just maybe, she thinks my Danskin yoga pants paired with a hoodie and clean-ish Converse tennies along with my ridiculously huge diaper bag that doubles as my purse and kitchen fridge on-the-go are totally adorbs! (Okay, that’s probably stretching it a wee bit.) But, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?!
I will most likely scrounge up the courage to drag myself to a mirror sometime in the next hour or so just to see what exactly I looked like next to this magical being. Chances are I had pieces of green and blue Froot Loops stuck somewhere between my teeth, a messy bun that closely resembled a bird’s nest, and overly unplucked eyebrows. Chances are also extremely high there was not a lick of make-up to hide my exhausted, sleep deprived eyelids.
Listen, my seasons will change. All too soon, my kids will be older and I will have more energy to prep myself before going out in public. I will be more rested and will probably (hopefully) have lost some pre/post baby weight. I won’t be rushed to pick up peanut butter and milk after school drop-off but before nap. Brushing my teeth in the morning will no longer seem like a luxury. Heck, I may even be the “Put-Together Woman.” But, in this season, today, I am going to tell myself “I am enough.” Because I AM.
My babies don’t see her and her gorgeous, immaculate femininity. They see ME, their Mommy and #1 Person. They love me unconditionally. And I am enough. My husband respects me as his partner and the mother of his children. He tells me I’m beautiful and loves my body, including all of the wreckage and battle scars left behind from 8 babies. And I am enough. My friends see me for who I am. They know I’m clumsy, goofy, and imperfect. And they don’t even care that I wear pajama jeans. I am enough.
It is easy (entirely too easy) to look at ourselves as the lesser version of our reality. We, women, are our biggest critics and shamers. Our own worst enemies. And we are passing down these practices to our children. It’s so important that we begin teaching our daughters that they are enough. That who they are in the inside will manifest itself into what they are on the outside. Let’s teach our girls, together, to claim their beauty, their strengths, and their sense-of-self from within. First and always.
Everything on the outside is literally just the icing on the cake.
It’s time, ladies. And I know you can do it. Because you are enough.
This story originally appeared on Perfectly Destressed