Apparently, Julia looks just like me.
We hear it almost everyday. It comes in different ways.
“Do you know you look just like your Mommy?” A stranger might ask Julia sweetly on the bus.
“Wow. She’s your twin.” We hear a lot.
“You’re so pretty. Just like your Mommy!” We get this one from sweet grandmas, as well as creepy men on the street. Read more
I’m over on NadineJolie.com this week talking about maintaining good hair amidst the tolls of motherhood. I’ll give you a hint: dirty hair is isn’t a bad thing.
Five Hair Rules for Moms
I don’t want to be dramatic, but motherhood is a doozy on your body and your beauty. Not a permanent doozy, mind you. Generally, what goes up goes back down (your belly), what expands eventually retracts (hips, belly buttons), what surfaces (zits, rashes) usually resolves—and months of strange cravings and unwieldy emotions usually lead to that one indelible moment (holding your new baby) that (almost) cancels out all that un-fun stuff.
Also, by the end, you have a full, lustrous head of hair.
There are many theories why pregnant women grow wondrous manes. Hormones. Prenatal vitamins. No one really knows for sure. The important thing to realize is that full head of hair is fleeting. A few weeks after giving birth you start to shed. Like, hundreds upon hundreds of strands a day. Your shower drain will clog. Your brush will look like Cousin It. While it will be a little scary, it will stop. I promise. And over the course of the year, you will grow baby bangs (remember Katie Holmes’ wedding photos?) and have an undergrowth of short fuzzy hair around your entire head.
In time, it will all settle…around the exact same time your baby turns into a toddler you can’t take your eyes off of because she has started climbing the furniture and you caught her thisclose to actually hanging from the chandelier. Or maybe that’s just me. More likely, your little one has dropped his morning nap and you’re wearing a ponytail every day because you either:
A: don’t have time to shower and wash your hair
B: you just can’t.
Hair. It’s complicated. If you’re reading this and you have children under the age of three, I feel for you. There is no harder time as a mom to look good. But it can be done. With two kids under my belt and a lot of trial and error, I’ve put together some guidelines that I hope might empower you to break out of that bun.
Head on over to the original beauty blogger NadineJolie to read my Hair Rules for Moms.
Lena is very open about the great love and admiration she has for her artist mother, Laurie Simmons. In fact, Dunham’s first film, Tiny Furniture, the one that caught the eye of Judd Apatow and lead to her HBO Girls’ series, featured her mother and her highly regarded dollhouse photography. Simmons was one of the pioneers of “set-up” photography in the 1970s and is quite famous in her own right. I think it’s fair to say that to one generation, Lena Dunham is “Laurie Simmons’ daughter,” as much as Laurie Simmons is “Lena Dunham’s mother” to another. At the heart of Tiny Furniture, though, is really a story about mothers and daughters.
I went downtown to the Lower East Side to look at Laurie Simmons’ latest photography series, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See. It is an exploration of a Japanese art form called Kigurumi and its sub-culture of performers called “dollers.” Dollers wear head-to-toe latex body suits to dress up as their doll-like characters and are known for wholly becoming their doller identities. Simmons became fascinated by Kigurumi and how the costumes, as tight and uncomfortable as they are, might actually be freeing. So she got some Kigurumi costumes made, brought a few girls together in the country in Connecticut, and staged them like dolls in an abandoned house.
What do you think?
My first thought was “creepy.” Those big eyes. (Which, by the way, are impossible to see through. Doller’s have to be led around by hand.) Then I thought, serenity. Beauty, even. Is there peace in hiding yet feeling the freedom to express yourself? I was struck by how a doller can feel so fragile—blind, constricted to move, yet also feel so bold. Yes, I can see how being so masked could be empowering.
I was curious about the exhibit as a writer because it explores beauty and self-image and the idea of “masking” oneself. These are themes I’m fascinated by and are surely relevant to BeautyMama—how women might feel about cosmetics, for sure. That putting on a “mask” can affect our personality.
But I was also interested in seeing the exhibit as a mother. I am in awe of Lena Dunham, by her talent and capacity and depth at such a young age. I am in awe of her self-confidence and her bravery. Her resilience in the face of criticism. I love her humor. And her ability to so deftly capture the nuance of relationships astounds me.
I wondered if I could learn anything about how a girl like Lena got made. What did she see growing up? What did her mother think about?
One aspect of How We See speaks to the heart of Simmons’ work: what is real and what is constructed? How do we see? Simmons’ dollers look like dolls in doll houses. The photos are double life-size. Are they people or are they dolls? Simmons’ art begs questions as much as it makes statements. Lena’s work aims to do this, too, but I think the similarities end there—while Lena’s work is so much about the flesh, her mother’s is all about plastic. As New York City artist Viviane Silvera, of VS On Art, points out, “Laurie Simmons’ work is actually more shocking but she doesn’t expose herself the way Lena does.”
It’s all so interesting to think about, isn’t it? I keep wondering how any of this applies to motherhood. Do you think Laurie Simmons taught Lena to see that life is full of illusions—of beauty, of ideals, of truth? Maybe she wanted her to understand that we all see differently and encouraged her daughter not to waste time trying to appeal to someone else’s vision—of her body, her face or her art.
I may not be an artist, but all this did make me think about the “statements” I’m making to my own girls. About the “masks” I take on and off. I’d love to know your thoughts.
P.S. Viviane Silvera takes small groups on art tours around the city, offering an unparalleled experience of discovering and understanding art.
I try so hard to think about gratitude as a life practice. Being mindful everyday of the friends, family and the many good graces I’m so fortunate to have. Sometimes it’s hard, though. This year, I’m missing my family. But Thanksgiving is serving as my reminder to be grateful. Even, or rather, especially, when life isn’t perfect. I want to demonstrate to my daughters that, sometimes, all we have is all we need. We will decorate the table, we will have a (mini) feast and we will exercise that (sometimes lazy) gratitude muscle.
In addition, I’m thankful for these awesome beauty sales and all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals flooding my inbox!
Have a very happy Thanksgiving!
I love this sweet video. It’s kind of poignant, too. Makeup is such a tough subject to talk about with our kids, isn’t it? Enjoy and have a great weekend!
The good people over at Mosaic have offered up free photo books to three lucky BeautyMama readers. In case you missed it, here’s my post on how awesome, easy and fast Mosaic makes putting together a beautiful photo album. From your phone. And delivered in four days. I love love love this app!
(Bonus if you subscribe to receive BeautyMama updates to your inbox…just scroll down to the right of this page and enter your email address.)
My oldest daughter, Julia, will pick her three favorites this Friday.