I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a few days ago. I mean, I really stopped and looked.
I didn’t recognize myself.
I used to be a full hair, full make-up kind of gal. Hair curled or straightened every day, freshly painted nails and makeup applied with precision-like accuracy. I even did my hair and make-up before I went to the gym. Yeah, I was that girl.
Some people who haven’t seen me in a while might look at me now and say that I let myself go. But you know what? I don’t care.
I don’t care that I forgot to shave my legs in the shower this morning, or that there are two visible pimples on my chin. I don’t care that my eyelashes aren’t curled and my hair isn’t teased. I don’t care that my last pedicure was four months ago or that my hair is super overdue for highlights.
My daughter isn’t going to remember if I had on eyeliner or if I had the latest lip gloss from Sephora. She isn’t going to remember if I had painted nails or glamorous hairstyles. She isn’t going to remember if I straightened my hair or even washed it that day.
What she will remember, is did I give her my all? Did I take her to the park and play with her on the swings? Did I get down on the floor with her and line up the dolls in her dollhouse. Did I colour with her, paint with her, draw with her, make messes with her? Was I there? Was I present?
Being a single mom means that my life is crazy. I work full time and when I’m not working I want to spend every second possible with my daughter. Maybe it’s because I feel guilty that she doesn’t have two parents present in her life every day. Or maybe it’s because that’s how I remember my mom. My mom spent every minute she possibly could with her children. And that’s all I remember. I don’t remember if she wore make-up or styled her hair, but she was always beautiful in my eyes.
There’s nothing wrong with still taking time for yourself when you’re a mom. You don’t need to fully change who you are or stop doing the things you love. There are days when I can still find the time to style my hair, paint my nails or wear mascara. But some days, I can’t find the time for those things. I see it not so much as ‘letting myself go’ but just ‘letting go.’ I’m letting go because I don’t have a lot of free time and I’ve realized that what little free time I have, I’d much rather spend it with my child. I may not recognize myself anymore, but maybe that’s because I’m becoming someone new. Someone different.
I like this new me. She may not be the most stylish person you’ll ever meet, and she might not have brushed her hair that day. This new me might not always have a lot of time for herself, but she’ll always have time for her daughter. And that’s what counts.