I remember it like it was yesterday. The slide show comes on, my picture comes up, and some voice says, “After high school, Cayla plans to move to New York and become famous.” And everyone laughs… because I am being sarcastic and as witty as a 17- year-old can manage: this was high school graduation, after all.
Fast forward to four years later: I was working in one of the biggest salons in Atlanta, quickly working my way up. Atlanta was not New York, but to me, it was just as good. Within five years of working in this salon I had moved up 6 levels: I was a stylist, colorist, makeup artist, and had grown a reputation for myself within the salon as a sort of “Bridal Specialist.” I was an educator for the salon, and was in the process of pursuing an education path with internationally-known Redken. I also had been given this amazing opportunity to work with an actress in a very popular movie, and for me, the path that I had planned was working out perfectly. I was all career, and I loved it.
So when I half-heartedly took a pregnancy test one night (that I forgot about for two hours) AND it came back positive, the shock I felt cannot even be put into words.
What is the need for the history lesson? Credibility. Albeit if you ran into me in the little town I now live in, you might view me as the typical mom in work-out clothes. Also? I. GET. IT. Mommyhood wasn’t even REMOTELY on my radar.
So here I am now. My little man is two. I left my salon and life in Atlanta. I moved to a small town south of the city, and I am a cloth-diapering, gardening, furniture-restoring, Pinterest-junkie, stay-at-home wife and mommy. It’s a HUGE shift from the “perfect” plan I had for my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Good thing that our lives don’t always work out the way we plan. :) When I am not doing all of those things, I also operate a blog, write for an Atlanta-based magazine, run an on-site business that caters to clients who need a stylist to come to them and dabble in my little Etsy shop. I love what I do, but it has been a huge change and a balancing act!
I think being a mom is ALL about balance. Coming from what I was to who I am now, I have seen the extreme need for a beauty regimen. I went from seeing people dress in designer clothes with $500+ hand bags, to living in Old Navy workout clothes. Good grief. I am THAT mom. In my opinion, I have a legitimate reason to dress that way, believe me. If you met my never-stopping, doesn’t-understand-walking, must-RUN-everywhere child, you would get the running pants and tennis shoes. However, whether I am in my workout gear or not, I find there are some things that I have to do so I don’t feel like that mom we all grew up seeing: the crazy ponytail, stretched-out-clothes, food-smeared-on-the-side-of-her-face, jumping-into-a-van mom.
First, I realized the need for a schedule. Yes, a beauty schedule. I am religious about a few things.
1. Wash your face every night and every morning. Seriously. It does wonders to make you feel better. I personally use Aveda skin care. It’s been my go-to product for years. (I was educated by Aveda so I am a bit of a loyalist.)
2. Deep condition your hair once a week. There are a lot of options from the expensive (my go-to is Aveda Damage Remedy) to the natural (I ADORE coconut oil).
It makes a huge difference when we, as moms, realize the need to take care of ourselves. Yes, I know that the dishes need to be done, the floors need to be vacuumed, or we need sleep, but I realized early on the necessity of allowing myself "me-time," for sanity, if anything else. It is a ritual in my home once a week that I take a bath (I absolutely steal my son’s bubbles), do the girly stuff, and the hubs and little man are NOT allowed to bother me. As in: not even ONE question.
3. If you cannot keep your nails manicured professionally, keep the polish off them but do, by all means, KEEP THEM FILED. I know this sounds like something little and silly, but it makes you feel better, and looks more put-together. I do tend to keep polish on my toes though. Seeing color on my toes always makes me feel better- especially if it is some really bright color that shouldn’t be worn… ever. :) That makes me happy.
4. Mascara and lip gloss go a long way. Most of the time, I am so busy doing a thousand other things that the last thing I want to do is apply any makeup. However, when I was in the midst of a personal tragedy, after the birth of my son, I realized that getting up, showering, and putting on mascara and lip gloss always made me feel happier. It brings out the best features of us. After all, said best:
"I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness. And then, you know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”- Coco Chanel
5. Take a walk. I know this is a silly, "I’ve-heard-it-a-thousand-times" statement. But to me that IS a beauty tip. Get outside with a friend, or by yourself, and get some exercise! Did you know your hair, skin, and nails will tell on you?! When working with a client, they can tell me a thousand times that they work out and take care of themselves, but I can always tell by their hair, skin and nails. A glass of water and a walk (or run) will not only do wonders for your hair, skin and nails but wonders for your sanity and confidence too.
These are little tips, but they are the tips that help maintain my sanity. They are the things that still make me feel like a human being, not just "mommy" (an identity that I am still learning about). It is the most awesome gift I have ever been given, but I have found that if I don’t take the time to do these things for myself I quickly lose who I am in the piles of laundry, sticky finger prints on my walls and cuddle naptimes with the little man.
I have a quote that I read every day. It’s my center. My yoga peace. My reminder.
“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” –Ernest Hemingway.