Toddler talk Metroplus

Why I’m not the best-dressed mom in town



I recently had a morning appointment for which I made a bit of effort to dress up. By this, I mean that I put on some eyeliner, a dab of lipstick, a bindi and a pair of pretty earrings. When I went a bit later to drop my kid off in school, a teacher commented on how I looked different with jhumkis on, my daughter informed me that I was ‘pretty’, and another parent told me I was looking good.

It was one of those times when it really hit home how little care I take over my appearance these days. As a stay-at-home mom whose life revolves around catering to the needs of a little person, I often go days without looking in the mirror. Showers are hurried, and yes, sometimes optional. ‘Getting ready to go out’ means making the kid eat (which she won’t, so you pack a snack to give her later), making sure she’s pooped/peed (then running behind her to get her pants back on), negotiating her choice of outfit and getting her to put it on (only to start all over again because she got a drop of juice or water on it and can’t bear to wear it a moment longer and simply must change). By the time all of that is done and she’s taken 10 minutes to laboriously put her shoes on “all by herself”, the husband’s gone down and is honking on the car horn, so you throw something on, barely run a comb through your hair (even that’s an accomplishment some days), and put on (hopefully) matching chappals and run out the door, only to spend 15 minutes climbing slowly down the steps with your toddler who a) won’t use the lift and b) stops to examine and chat about the stars and moon above, the shape of the clouds, the size of her shadow in the stairwell, the drawings on the walls and the possible activities of each of the neighbours whose front doors we pass on our lengthy passage down the building. By the time we get downstairs, the husband is hopping with impatience and I’m too focused on getting the kid into the car (she’s still busy discussing the whereabouts of each of her little friends) to care about how I look.

That doesn’t change while you’re actually out, whether it’s at a restaurant or to a mall or to visit a friend. In your pre-parenting days, you’d catch sight of yourself in a mirror here or there, and think about improving your look. Or you’d worry about what people thought about your outfit. But now, you’re either running behind your kid, terrified of losing her in the milling mall crowd, or you’re keeping her occupied so all the tableware in the restaurant doesn’t end up on the floor or you’re making sure she’s not knocking over various breakable knick-knacks on display in the house of the people you’re visiting. There’s very little space left in your brain to worry about whether you’ve accessorised successfully.

Until, that is, you suddenly see yourself through the eyes of the people around you. When wearing earrings or kajal or washing your hair is actually an event, something people notice and comment on, you realise how far you’ve let yourself slip in the personal grooming department. It makes you stop and think about how you must look to them the rest of the time – hair all over the place, face un-made up and sweaty, and not a pretty trinket in sight.

My daughter decided to give it to me straight. A day after the morning I got dressed up, I was back to my normal earring-less, lipstick-less self, and as we were about to leave for school, she looked at me and said, “You’re less pretty today, amma.” And then stuck a bindi on my forehead. Well, I promise to make more of an effort in future, darling, if you’ll promise to eat your breakfast faster. And get dressed without a fuss. And climb down the stairs minus the conversation. Or perhaps take the lift for a change. Do we have a deal?


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:42:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/toddler-talk-why-im-not-the-bestdressed-mom-in-town/article7049697.ece

Next Story