Balancing the Frump

Hey Stay At Home Mom (or Dad), can we talk?

You, sitting there in your yoga pants or ratty cargo shorts, in a sports bra and a shirt with mysterious stains. You ladies who live in the “mom uniform” of unwashed hair, yoga pants, and a sports bra day in and day out, can we talk?

Go take a shower, wash your damn hair, exfoliate your face, and put on mascara. 

I get it, we have mommy wars about everything, and at this point it’s weird bragging from some sects to talk about how long it’s been since you showered. In fact, one famous “mommy blogger/writer/tweeter” has made her career about how hard it is to be her and have children and do basic things, like dress herself and feed them. While she’s sometimes funny, after awhile she’s just depressing and nasty.

Yeah, I said it. I don’t like her. I think her children will one day read her stuff and be heartbroken and have serious issues. I cannot fathom why she recently got divorced, or why if basic life things like showering, eating and dressing are so difficult, why she had any children much less several. It’s one thing to show solidarity with moms who are in the weeds, to say “hey, it’s real, I’ve been here too, you aren’t a failure”. It’s another thing to glorify it and make it the norm, though.

(And I know I know, don’t judge. Fair point. But this lady is just glorifying being damaged, and damaging yourself further, and having no self respect. It’s not cool.)

Not showering is not normal. Never putting on makeup, if you wore makeup before kids, is not normal. Regularly wearing clothing that you wouldn’t mind getting ruined out in public all the time is not normal. Not caring about yourself and your appearance and your hygiene is not, in fact, normal. It’s a sign you’re out of balance, or that you’re depressed. 

So can we please stop acting like the “Mommy frump” is normal and okay, instead of a sign that we’re having a bad week?


I didn’t realize, personally, how  bad I was doing after my daughter was born, until I looked at my makeup bag when she was around 5 months old, and I realized I was so out of practice that I was actually afraid of putting on makeup.

I didn’t feel like myself, I wasn’t doing things *I* did to care for myself in my life before mommyhood, and that, I realized, was part of my problem. 

I love makeup. I’m good at makeup. To go out for tacos with friends usually takes me about 20 minutes on my face, and this amount of product(s):

TheMagicsInTheMakeupI like makeup. My husband courted, won, and married a woman who takes care of her hair and skin, and wears makeup. And he likes it, a lot. Your thing might not be makeup. You don’t NEED a small collection of NARS and Urban Decay to take care of yourself. It might be a nice french braid and a swipe of lip gloss, if that. It might just be being really clean and having painted nails.

Whatever your thing is, you do you. But DO IT. Don’t completely stop taking care of yourself, that’s not okay. You’re still a person, you’re still you. Being a mom adds, to who you are, it doesn’t take away.

I get it, bad weeks happen. Bad months happen. PPD is real, and it’s a fucking bitch, and if you have a breastfeeding child under 4ish months old, none of this applies to you, because the 4th trimester is just about survival of you and the tiny helpless thing you made.

But after that?

Whatever you did before you had kids, whatever you did when you started dating your spouse, you should start doing again. Even if you don’t do it as often. If you wore funky blue sparkles mascara and eyeshadow more days than not, you should at least be making the effort a few days a week. If you ran, you should go run. If you baked three days a week because that was your zen, for god’s sake, let Disney babysit the kiddos for an hour and make banana bread.

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And take a shower. Showers are wonderful. You should shower every fucking day, even if it’s a quicky and you get ten minutes less sleep. If you have room, do some stretches in the hot water. If you can’t get in a full yoga practice, you can take five minutes in the shower and center yourself. Maybe even go crazy and put on deodorant and body lotion afterwards. And a bra that isn’t just a band that holds everything down.

You will feel better, you will be more relaxed, you will be a better wife and mom, and feel like less of a failure, if you can start to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of everyone around you. You are important, you should be cared for as well. 

The reality is that if you struggle with this, it still isn’t going to happen every day. And that’s okay. But efforts should be made. For your sake, for your family’s sake, for the sake of your marriage. Living in the frump, instead of making efforts to look like a reasonable presentable human being at least half the time, is not normal. It’s not okay. I don’t know how or why we’ve made it okay. We don’t feel better about ourselves with gross hair and yoga pants on, and what are we modeling for our kiddos, what kind of message are we sending our spouse?

Frump, 1,000%, has it’s place. Messy hair, old pants, a tee shirt that’s half holes but who cares because you love it and you’re just gonna sit on the couch and marathon something that isn’t PG on netflix? This is important. Bring it. Bloat pants for when you’re PMSing? Yes please. Friends who stand in sympathetic solidarity with you when you message them and go “It’s Wednesday and I haven’t washed my hair since Saturday”? We all need them. Life happens, and when you have tiny humans sometimes it’s just herding cats.

However, this whole mommy culture, and that one horrific semi-famous mom, who says that this is normal eight days a week? It isn’t. And the glorious comfort of not giving a fuck loses some of it’s allure and therapeutic properties when you LIVE like that. There has to be a balance. And daily showering.

You have to take care of yourself, and give a shit about yourself, and that includes your appearance. At least most days.

 

 

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This is my job. Or “There are worse things than your kid being gay and maybe you should take a moment ruminate on what God calls us to as Mothers.”

My name is Elisabeth, and this is my job:

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She’s two, and quite lovely. I am blessed to stay home with her. I know moms who work outside of the house not because they have to, but because they like having a big pretty house, and spending money on shit they don’t need, and driving fancy SUVs and having fancy purses. These moms, honest to God, are stupid selfish women who are doing themselves and their children and society as a whole a disservice. If you CAN raise your own baby yourself, you damn well should, even if it means going without. They aren’t puppies or status symbols, they’re human beings and raising them well is the BEST THING you can do for the world, from a Christian or non Christian perspective, from a socialist or libertarian political view. Stay at home dads, totally cool too. Or two part time working parents. Or work from home parents. Or parents who trade off day and night shift so someone’s home with the kids. Basically, daycare so you can have nice things? You’re doing it wrong, and society needs to start judging you again. The world needs mothers who love being mothers. 

ALL THAT SAID, we (yes I am the #1 culprit) get really uppity about being Stay At Home Moms, as if, just because we don’t work outside of the house, we’re fully focused AT HOME. But are we? My husband and I share a car, I am *stuck* at home, and I find that some weeks my focus isn’t on my child and my house as much as it should be. I read too much, I work (part time) too much and let her watch Tee Tee when she asks, I get lazy about the chores because “fuck it, there will be more dishes to do tomorrow, regardless of if I do them now or not”. Which is not, you know, an amazing attitude to have. Sometimes I’ll have two days in a row go by where I don’t put everything down, sit on the floor, and focus on playing with my kid, which is shameful and frustrating. Why am I home if not to make lego trucks?

I am passionate about being a mom and a homemaker, and I often miss the mark. This is not a default job I was plopped into, this is a job I waited and worked for, and I was very open with my spouse when we were dating about my career goals (achievement unlocked: making ridiculous costume child comes up with in their own brain. 2016’s “Moo Buggy”):

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I see it in myself quite often, this idea that just because I’m AT HOME, means my heart and prayers and focus are AT HOME. But I struggle, and I fail, and I’m aware that I struggle and fail quite constantly. Sometimes I don’t put Her first, and I plan more things than I know she can handle for a few days in a row. Sometimes I just don’t want to freaking read that same owl book again or watch videos of bunnies on youtube.
I think a lot of this ebb and flow is normal, and I’m finding that even being a full time SAHM, there are no “normal” weeks. I’m two years in and just now starting to find my groove. As soon as I find my groove, I’ll lose it again, flip out, become a Llama for a bit, and then refocus on the important things in life.

A lot of what I’ve learned so far is that physically being at home isn’t enough. My heart and my focus have to be on my home and my kiddo, or I am missing the mark. 

When my heart and my focus wander, and I miss the mark, I am unhappy. My kid is unhappy, my husband is unhappy. My well of patience becomes a shrinking puddle. Part of my “job” is to remember how important my job is.


Which brings me to a question I have wanted to asked Independent Fundamental Baptist women and pastor’s wives for over a decade:

What the ever loving fuck are you doing with your families? Who sold you the crack that going to church Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday Night, + Thursday and/or Saturday visitation, Special Events,  and “Conferences” was good for you? Or your kids?

It isn’t. It isn’t biblical, it’s modern American cult-ish busywork, and you’re paying for it with your children, and sometimes your marriages.

I know, many of you aren’t divorced, but a lot of your marriages suck. I know this, because I grew up among you and I remember it not so fondly. Or your marriage is “great”, and you are so out of touch with your children you don’t even realize that you’re losing them, don’t even have an inkling that they HATE the church-life you’ve chosen, because it’s broken their heart over and over and over. Jesus would have smacked you upside your head. Jesus hung out with whores and government officials, but he didn’t care much for the super religious. I think Fundamentalists tend to forget that, quite a bit. You’re the pharisees, guys.

I grew up under a horrible, controlling pastor who didn’t, for one moment in my memory, love me or my family. This piece of crap man guilted my mother into coming to choir practice to sing, to make him and his church look good, instead of spending her time with me and my brother. Every major holiday or birthday, my mom bought his wife’s gift and he reimbursed her. Even now, my mom spends way too much time doing random crap there, because of the expectations his reign set, and my little brother and sister in law are dragged into this (literally) ungodly, unbiblical, “LOOK AT HOW HOLY AND TIRED I AM” bullcrap. A Holy Sabbath, none of them have had, possibly ever. This pastor was vile, and a horrible example of a husband and family man, and yet, they have a shrine to him in the back of their church, because he got “numbers” on Sunday. Fundamental Christians, you are fundamentally missing the mark, and losing your children because of it.

 Sabbath is a day of rest, not a day of work, idiots. If you and your Children are tired on Sunday night, instead of refreshed and rested, you have failed the first of the ten. Sunday is not a day of work, even of “good work”. Your job as a mother, my job as a mother, is to protect my child from ungodly crap like that. And it is, most assuredly, ungodly. It has ripped apart families and stolen more joy than many can fathom. But please, keep crowing about time spent at church and bragging about your numbers on social media, that’s not a desperate cry for meaning and justification at all. 

I remember being a teenager, and crying because my mom couldn’t have coffee with me before church on Wednesday, because she had to go to choir practice, or her being harried to run the pastor’s errands every holiday. We’ve worked through stuff, we’re past it, but her devotion to Church before us, her family, was a huge issue in my life growing up and she was told from the pulpit and all those around her that she was doing the right thing, and I was just a needy troublesome child. I’d love to say this is a one off. That the busy business of church is a problem that’s strictly within my family but I know for a fact it isn’t. Churches everywhere, but specifically the cult like churches of Independent Fundamentalists in the US, are full of busy work to look good to each other and other churches.

And they can’t figure out why they’re losing young people in droves. They point to sin, to the young people, to the world, Britney Spears and that one gay neighbor they had that one time, but never look inward towards the utter burn out that the Children of families in ministry and pastor’s kids face. How have so many women, so many mothers, gone so deaf and blind to the cries, the weariness, the needs of their children’s hearts?

If you are a mother, God has called you to your family and to being a wife and mother FIRST. Things that distract you or take away from your first calling, your home, do not become Holy and Righteous just because they involve a Church.

You may teach the greatest Sunday School class, your pastor husband may have 5,000 people hear his sermon on Sunday and they all come back Sunday night too, you might pray with dozens of whores at the alter, but if you can’t see how it wears upon your children, if you can’t tell if their hearts are heavy, if you are not there and prepared and rested when they need you, if you are not a safe place for them to talk about their doubts, their lack of faith, their questions, their sexuality and know beyond a doubt they will be loved and wanted, you have utterly failed in your first calling. 

Those children have every right, every reason, to resent you and Church, and the false picture of your own version of god you have painted for them, every day of their lives. You are a MOTHER. They should never be afraid that you won’t love them, and they should never have a list of things you’ve placed before them in life, with the exception of your marriage. That goes equally for women who choose to work so they can have fancy shit, and women who dedicate their lives to a “church” so they can feel righteous.

We need mothers who love being mothers. Before they love themselves, their jobs, the other children at church, or the numbers on the bus, we need mothers who love their own children as Christ has loved us. Unashamedly, without excuse, putting nothing before our well being, and not giving a care what society or other religious people think, but boldly doing what is best for those who are under our care. What do we gain if we have thousands in church every Sunday, but we lose our own children?