Her Bad Mother

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Self-Portrait Of Truthiness

When my good friend Tracey took the very brave step of revealing her self - her true, untouched, un-madeup, un-caffeinated, first thing in the morning self - I thought, wow, awesome, so brave, you go girl! Then I muttered something to myself about the virtues of cowardice - Aristotle argued that an excess of courage was, in fact, a vice, and I live by that argument - and maybe something about would shoot myself in the head first and then wandered off to make an espresso.

But mid-coffee - and, yes, I am aware that this may have been the caffeine talking, even though it was Starbucks Decaf Espresso beans that I used - it occured to me: what, exactly, would be the big deal about revealing my morning face to the world? I mean, really - my morning face is not so much different from my afternoon face and my evening face. Sure, it's maybe a bit more crumply, but here's the thing: I am a work-at-home mom. I have a two-year old. I am 7-plus months pregnant. I don't give a shit what I look like anymore.

**Somewhere, in the mists of time, my twenty-year old self (she may, in fact, be in a huddle with all of my previous selves up to and including the self that I was until about the eight-month point of my first pregnancy, at which time I was still wearing pointy-toed heels for fun and spending $50 a tube on Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat for under-eye circles) is right this very minute shrieking in horror. I believe that she may be screaming something to the effect of didn't we swear to take ourselves out back to be shot if we ever gave in to frump? Didn't we swear that we would NEVER EVER become Slovenly Mom? Didn't we swear to always, always care about what we looked like and to never, ever give up on make-up and straightening irons and Bliss products and... BOOM (*twenty-year old head exploding*)**

I'm sorry for the loss of the esteem of my vain-glorious former selves, but it's true: the aesthetics of hair and make-up and fashion have slid to the very rock-bottom of the list of things that I am currently worrying about. I mean, I'm not a total frump-monster - I manage to get out of the yoga pants before going anywhere other the grocery store, and I do, occasionally, brush my hair - but still. If you look at me first thing in the morning, and then again mid-afternoon, I think you'll find that the one state is virtually indistinguishable from the other, save for, perhaps, and I do stress perhaps, a change of clothes.

As I said, I just don't care. I'm too tired and busy to care. Beyond the minimal task of ensuring that I don't terrify my husband or alarm the neighbours, I've just stopped working on my appearance in any concerted way. And, for the most part, for now, I'm happy that way.

Which brings me to the following point: why not share my Self-Portrait of Truthiness with the world? It's not like its anything you wouldn't see if you stopped by coffee (which, would you? I could use the distraction. And if you do, could you bring some chocolate croissants? kthx). So, herewith - The Untouched, Unedited, NSFW Self-Portrait of Truthiness:

Wait - how do you work this thing? where do I point it? am blocking head... whoops... NEED COFFEE... here we go...


Self-Portrait of Truthiness. Behold, and be afraid. Or encouraged. Whichever.

I dare you to do it too.


Wonderbaby is much improved, as of today. Too much improved, maybe. Thanks for all the love.

Also, if you're interested... I'm singing the eco-praises of Bob The Builder here, still angry about that abortion protest here, and even angrier about Dr. Laura here. Also, had a bit of a rant about Christina Aguilera and why everybody obsesses about celebrity post-partum weight-loss, here. Which, yes, been there, ranted that, but still. I'm nothing if not a parasite on my own issues.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, you can look like whatever...as a mother, what really counts is your heart, your abundance love for the family.

I like your hair, btw.

11:30 AM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Oh you know I can never back down from a dare - 'specially one in the name of truthiness.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I looked that good without combing, coffee and makeup, I'd never bother doing anything else ever again. You're gorgeous! Love your hair!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

You look fab. I don't think I'll subject my limited number of readers to me though. It's bad enough when I AM ready to face the day.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Animal said...

Your eyes are a fantastic color!

12:43 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

First of all, you look great -- far less exhausted than I look when I first roll out of bed. Also far more put together. Second of all, the picture I had of you in my mind was totally different. You had long brown curly hair and a serious-if-smiley expression. Funny, huh?

12:55 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Awesome. I love this dare.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you have a resemblance to mary louise parker when she was in that movie, fried green tomatoes. you look great!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Did you comb your hair before you took the picture? Because mine honestly sticks up all over the place and is cause of much laughing (at my expense) around here in the morning. Don't know if I'm brave enough to do this completely unedited but I applaud you (and others) for doing it.

1:16 PM  
Blogger MamaMo said...

uncanny - I was just thinking about Fried Green Tomatoes this morning! motherbumper got me to take the dare, and I say "Towanda!!" we all look great.

p.s. info on "Towanda" here: http://www.americanpopularculture.com/archive/film/towanda.htm

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take your challenge, but seriously I gave up so long ago on the primping. 14 weeks of bed rest followed by a very colicky baby who became very, very, very active toddler = wearing whatever I found on the floor first and running from the house coffee in hand often wondering if I brushed my teeth! Carried a lot of gum the first year. I'm getting better with age though and second baby is much more relaxed:) Glad to hear wonderbaby is back in better health.

1:38 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

What a second -- that's you without make-up or brushing you hair?

1:51 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

The hair is unbrushed. It was, however, blown dry some days ago when I got it trimmed, and I have yet to wash it (lazy, and also have very thick, coarse hair that can only take a couple of washes per week). So, it's in better than usual form. But no, no brushing. And, god, no - no make-up either.

3:19 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

You look better uncaffienated, first thing in the morning, than I do post-afternoon nap when the huz is taking care of the kids and I've just taken a shower.

So, like, in my fantasies is what I mean.

3:26 PM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Been there, done that. But Bossy didn't feel the cathartic experience. So next time she's taking the photo of a few minutes *before* she wakes up.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you be mad at me if I say you look great?

I mean, at least better than when you had the googly eyes on your glasses at BlogHer.


3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, I did that about a year ago, but I'll put another one up tomorrow morning.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I am blowing no sunshine up your ass when I say that if I looked that good untouched I wouldn't be worrying about my appearance either. You are really quite pretty.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

1. you are gorgeous

2. you need to email me. ASAP. like, yesterday.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

How on earth does your hair look so good first thing in the morning?? Mine's a mess.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

NME - professional blow-dry not too long ago. Holds well in my coarse hair.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Deep Fried Yankee - yeah, um, not too hard to beat that particular look. Me in the morning at 7-plus months pregnant is a whoooole different ball game than me after passing out and being assaulted by dear friends.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I'd participate but the internet might explode from my morning face/hair. Seriously.

But you look gorgeous. Bitch. ;)

7:59 PM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

Wow, you look good to me!

8:00 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

i can only hope to be that gorgeous someday when i'm 7 months preggo. go you. not sure if i have the balls to do this or not, but we'll see...

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning. Yep. But I guess I still love you xoxo

10:18 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

You look GREAT! Much better than my raggedy old butt in the morning, much less any other time.

11:17 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

Still? Beautiful.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Karen Bodkin said...

Catherine, you are WonderMama - totally beautiful. p.s. I totally rock the wife beaters in the morning. :)

2:14 AM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Glad to hear Wonderbaby is getting back to her energetic self.

As for your self-portrait, you have NOTHING to fear. You look fab.

I find I have so little time with the two kids that brushing my teeth is a luxury. There are days I wonder, hmm, did I brush my teeth let alone my hair? I know, ick, but it's the sad truth. No wonder I had two cavities filled last year. Sigh.

8:53 AM  
Blogger mamatulip said...


9:25 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Looks about... like you. Maybe even a little fresher faced for not being at the end of the day, when I often see you.

I don't think I look that different in the morning either, except for there are usually a few hanks of hair tumbling out of whatever clippy-thing is holding it out of my way. But you know, I'm not about to post pictures just because of the dare when I don't normally. Sorry.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Girl con Queso said...

Beautiful. Of course. Bitch!

11:01 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

You look marvelous. Hey just getting out of bed is enough to wear you out when you are 7+ month pregant and have a toddler. I am happy to make out the door for work each morning with my face washed/teeth brushed and hair (somewhat) brushed. I get the make-up in every new moon.

1:40 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I wish I looked that good in the morning!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if I looked half as fantastic as you do in the morning by the time I'm your age (snicker) I will be a happy, happy lady.

That said, I'm kinda trollish in the morning. Still, I may consider the dare.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HBM, you look fine in the morning. You've got great hair...I wish I could go a couple of days without washing mine and not looking like a grease pit. Having said that, I do think you would look better if you put on some foundation, concealer, and mascara.

Before you get defensive (or anyone else who disagrees), I am a die-hard makeup lover and believer that no matter how beautiful someone is, she can always look just a little better with some foundation/concealer/mascara, whatever, applied in just the correct way. And no, I don't sell cosmetics at a department store. I did, however, take a shower and put on a full face of makeup before going to the hospital when I went into labor with both of my kids.

I think I rebel against the notion of "I'm a busy mother and I'm chasing toddlers all day (or fill in the blanks) so I don't have time to be bothered with putting on makeup or wearing anything other than a sweatshirt and pajama pants..." because of two reasons. First, due to my mother's strong opinions, I never considered myself pretty enough (or pretty at all for that matter) without makeup. She as much told me so. (Yes, I could probably use years of therapy to get over this, but I've already moved on.) Second (and I don't mean to offend anyone...really), I know women who APPEAR to consider motherhood to be almost a reason for people to feel sorry for them. Yes, motherhood is HARD work. But, for moms who have worn makeup and took more care with their appearance before having children, it seems to me as though they're saying that motherhood is the ONLY thing they can do, and it should be more than enough that the kids are fed and the house is clean, etc. Not that those aren't extremely important things, of course they are, but I feel that when you allow motherhood to completely take over your life to the point where you no longer care what you look like, then how is that good for you...the mom? It's almost as if putting on makeup and making yourself look nice while being a mother is taboo. Like, women who do that are making motherhood seem easier than it really is, or they're more concerned with their appearance than their kid's well being.

And what about our husbands? Lucky for me, my husband has gotten better looking and more attractive with age, and I'll be damned if I'm going to look like some rag next to him when we go out (which, trust me, I can very easily do). Not that it isn't easier for him; he didn't have to bear two children and all that goes with it. But the fact that I did doesn't mean that I can't take pride in my appearance anymore.

I guess I'm thinking that if we don't give a shit what we look like, how long till we don't give a shit about taking care of ourselves? When does it end?

I used to have these discussions in college all the time...girlfriends speculating that if you wore makeup, people weren't seeing the "real" you. Wearing makeup and taking pride in my appearance is the "real" me. And as can be seen with reality TV and today's society, do we all want/need to see the "real" them? I say, God no.

I really don't mean to offend, but am I the only mother out there who thinks it's a good thing to wear makeup and take some pride in her appearance? Sometimes I really feel like I am, especially in the blogosphere (and I don't even have a blog).

I'll get off my soapbox now.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon - I *do* look better with some make-up, for sure, no question. And I luurve opportunities for dress-up where it's worth making the effort (ask anyone who's met me at a BlogHer. I totter around in painfully gorgeous shoes, destroying my feet, just because GOOD GOD why not, if the toddler's not there?)

BUT, but... I'm kind of enjoying not giving a shit, within limits (I stay clean, I wash my hair, I change clothes). Within the context of my mommy-life, I don't need to impress anybody with my looks, and it is, in many respects, a profound relief. I *love* having gotten to this stage in my emotional development, where I'm happy enough with how I look without the trimmings to just walk out the door and say FUCK IT.

I still loves me a good lipstick, it's just that I don't need it. And at this preggo stage where I'm too tired to worry about needing it, that's all for the best.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

I adore you all the time.

I'm going to take a pic of myself during a 3am feeding. That ought to take the cake.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i've seen WAY WAY worse than that. Must have been the hangover and lack of pregnancy glow.

I'll get on this one myself soon, but first I need the right lighting.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

i think you look lovely.

Running on empty

8:35 AM  
Blogger Miss Merry Sunshine said...

Wow the color of your hair is gorgeous!! That's the first thing I noticed!! I think for fairness we should do a before and after...so at least strangers can know my full hotness potential!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh HBM I heart you...and you look gorgeous when you get up.if i didn't think i would scare the bejeezus out of you i'd send you a pic of my ghostly white paleness- odd coloured -hair sticking straight up like medusa,-naked well okay i'd put on a shirt first-black shadowed eyed self...LAVANDULA

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sort of agree with anon who said that it is sad that a lot of moms "give up" once they have kids. Along with something being seriously wrong when a mom quits taking care of herself, it sets a bad example for the kids.

As wrong as this may be, people are judged by their looks. And that goes beyond God-given beauty. It includes stuff like hair, make up, clothes, and shoes. And that stuff doesn't even have to be the expensive kind!!! You are teaching your kids that you are worth something and you value taking care of yourself.

Sure, I have some worse days than others, but I can't imagine ever leaving the house sans make up and brushed hair. My hair is short & silky, so it must be done everyday. And my husband would DIE if I left the house in anything resembling sweatpants. He is always dressed very nicely when we go out, so I should return the favor.

Not to mention my mom friends who blame their kids for the lack of time or ability to get ready drives me nuts.

12:13 PM  
Blogger MamaMo said...

Count me in!

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang! You look really good first thing in the morning. And in this shot, you don't even look pregnant. When I was pregnant, my face got HUGE and puffy!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

good thing this was a double dog dare...

but here's me:

4:02 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Imagine a fat alice cooper and you have me. down to the initials. Its uncanny.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Mouse said...

I just posted something--all words, no pictures.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

OH, your HAIIRR. It is Teh BEUTIFUL. I can't get mine to do that after an hour of work, let alone in the AM. Even IF I had it blown dry recently.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I absolutely could not do it. I look like stone cold crap in the morning... while you look rather awesome. How'd you manage that?

5:06 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

AWESOME? You cannot see that small piece of crud stuck at the corner of my lower lip? The bloodshot eyes? The inability to focus said eyes?

Um, thank you.


9:10 PM  
Blogger gwendomama said...

omg we are like sisters or something! I have bloodshot eyes! I have crud in corner of mouth!!

i have joined the shameless ranks of y'all y'all.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

You look lovely, dear. Simply beautiful.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was getting ready to take your dare when I remembered that I already posted a picture of me, sans cosmetics, right after the Haircut of Horror, which is even worse than an early morning picture. See for yourself.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am taking the fabulous dare.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never one to shy away from a dare...I'll raise your non-made-up-self with a bad case of eye baggage!

Check it!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

You look great! And I think Wonder Baby looks just like you.

I think I will claim that Aristotle philosophy and not post my own photo....

3:45 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

i did it, and it can be found here.

yay! :)

8:59 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Ok, I did it. It can be seen at http://www.momtothescreamingmasses.typepad.com

Thanks. I think.


9:54 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

Dare accepted!


9:56 AM  
Blogger Killlashandra said...

Hmmm, you look pretty good in the morning and I'm quite sure you're not going to scare anyone. :) Well, maybe the wide eyed look could be a little softer but I bet that's just the bright lights coming on after rolling out of bed. ;)

9:45 AM  
Blogger M said...

You are very pretty. I especially like your nose. Props to les femmes sans maquillage.

10:55 PM  

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