There was a time when eyebrow-tweezing and leg-shaving was part of my daily routine. I straightened my hair and actually thought about what I would wear each morning, instead of groping blindly among the pile of laundry that I hadn’t had time to put away yet. I always wore at least a little bit of make-up. And sometimes I even painted my nails!
And then what happened? It’s not that I stopped caring. It’s just that I had kids, and like many other women, there were no longer enough hours in the day to do everything. Some things had to give. Now, a hungry baby or a toddler with a dirty diaper takes precedence over my personal toilet. These days, I’m lucky if I can brush my teeth and remove my contact lenses before I drop into bed at night, totally wiped out from the day’s activities.
At least I’m in good company. A new report reveals that 77% of moms don’t do enough to take care of themselves:
For many women, an important rite of passage for womanhood is becoming a mother. However all too often, after the baby is born, the focus quickly shifts and the routines that were once rituals are buried in the bottom of the family laundry basket. While it’s not surprising that their children and families come first, a new report of 3,000 U.S. moms reveals that although most (76 percent) agree it’s just as important for mothers to take care of themselves as their families, nearly eight in ten moms don’t do enough.
One of the first things that falls to the wayside seems to be a woman’s personal needs, including the time to indulge in things that make her feel beautiful. 84% of women polled admit that they have let their appearance slide since becoming a mother.
So, can motherhood and womanhood co-exist?
Beauty brand Suave developed the Suave Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report to investigate the trade offs women face when they become moms, the consequences of these sacrifices, and the benefits that occur when moms put themselves back on the to-do list.
The Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report found that:
- Although 67 percent of moms would rather get their pre-baby body back than their pre-baby sex life, exercise opportunities are tough to come by. After shopping for themselves, exercise is the second most desired activity to pursue during coveted “me” time
- 66 percent admit they sometimes don’t have enough time to take a shower or bath
- Some 80 percent have gone weeks or months without a haircut (even though they felt they needed one)
- Over half (53 percent) say that they’ve forgotten to brush their teeth in the morning
“I’ve studied women and family dynamics for more than twenty years, and I’m not surprised that there’s a conflict felt between being a woman and being a mother,” says Professor Gerson. “Despite the rise of busier lives, mothers remain key family caregivers who are relied upon heavily by the whole family. So it’s not surprising that moms often set aside or even forget their own needs. But moms also need to look out for themselves, which means doing things that help them keep an identity of their own apart from the role of mom.”
It’s not surprising that when moms do take care of themselves, they feel happier, more attractive, and more self confident. They feel more feminine and some even feel they are setting their children a good example (I agree!)
Professor Gerson adds “Mothers are caregivers, and taking time for themselves will not change that. Yet it’s important for moms to find opportunities to put themselves on their list of priorities. It comes as no surprise that moms feel happier when they do take this step, and that doing so can have huge benefits for the entire family.”