Motherood + Needing Less
"Womanhood is something you don't consider until it hits you." Laura Marling
Maybe it was the curve of my bulging belly or the way I now knew what I wanted out of life, but I did not realize all of my potential as a person, as woman, until I knew I was about to be a mother. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I've changed over the past two years. I've always been a feminist, and I tread lightly on that because I feel this poor word has been violated with too many ideas, too many ways to twist it around and make it something negative. I believe all women are different; we have different opinions about our own bodies and how we should use them, how we should decorate them and strip them, it's difficult to know who is right and what they are even trying to preach about. I do not want to preach, especially not about the politics of feminism. I fear if I did, I would never be right.
I want to bring to the light the way motherhood has affected my womanhood. Before I had my son, I was obsessed with personal care and beauty products. I owned way too many eyeshadow palettes from Sephora, and loved finding new skincare products to wash and moisturize my face. I tried all of the latest trends that I could find on blogs: face oils, natural hair dyes, oil pulling, face masks, dry brushing, etc. I suppose, then, I had the time to mess around with all of that.
I was in the shower the other day, my first in about a week, and I realized that all I ever did in there anymore was shampoo my hair. If you're a more beauty-forward person, you're probably cringing on the inside. A week? What the hell is wrong with you? I began to think about all of the hours I used to spend preparing my body for the day, and how I no longer had the time for that anymore. Hair mask, shampoo, condition, body scrub, shave, face wash, toner, acne treatment, moisturizer, hair oil, texturizer, deodorant, lip balm... it was too much, at least looking back. Now my life was consumed with picking up toys, changing diapers, washing sheets, running a business, and finding a spare moment to eat or catch up on a show, over and over again.
Shouldn't I be doing all of those things, shouldn't I take better care of my myself, I asked my own reflection. But I was suddenly overwhelmed by the irksome feeling that, no, I shouldn't be doing those things, and it had much more significance than my personal hygiene.
Because I am a clean person, and I don't need those products to make myself anymore of a woman. In fact, me having less time to do those things made me feel like more of a woman, more feminine than I had ever felt in my entire life. I was empowered by using less.
It was an epiphany in the oddest of places, but most great ideas happen in the shower, right? I still don't really know what this means to me, me spending less time on my personal appearance. What once used to dominate my life, now seems insignificant in so many ways. I still love what I love; I use a face mask because it makes my skin feel healthy, and I put sea salt spray in my hair because it accentuates my already natural, bushy, curly hair. The others? Well, they're for the girl who wanted to cover herself up. The one who thought her hair needed to be straight and her teeth needed to be whiter; who picked her skin (and still does) and had less important things to do with her time. Now, I am embracing my natural attributes, the things that make me feel feminine without someone telling me if they are. I plan on writing more about embracing my womanhood by using less, but for now I'll leave you with this:
I encourage you, women and mothers, to take a deeper look at your life and discover, what do you need less of?