Written by Shannon McCarty, published in In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood.
You are you and that is the beginning and the end —
no apologies, no regrets.
"And what is your skin care regimen?" my sister-in-law asks me at the Mary Kay party. My sister-in-law has just become a consultant, joining the ranks of my other stay-at-home mom friends who have started home businesses selling products such as Pampered Chef and Discovery Toys.
"Um, well, the kids have this great new soap that foams when it dispenses," I start.
"No," she laughs, "what products do you use on your face for cleansing and moisturizing?"
"Like I said," I continue, a little annoyed, "the new foaming soap with the monkeys on the front does quite nicely for my skin care."
"Oh, honey," she says. "You do need help. First you must start with a clarifying agent." She starts a long speech about the 10 steps of facial awareness. It's not that I'm opposed to spending 20 minutes a day cleaning my face; it's just that I can't see where I can fit it into the schedule with the kids. I decide to keep my mind open.
By the end of the party, I am equipped with facial cleanser, moisturizer, clarifier, lipstick, lip liner, lipgloss, foundation, concealer, two kinds of blush, four colors of eyeshadow, as well as a host of other products. All for $250, with a promise to make me a new woman. I feel great. I can't wait to start my new life the next day.
I wake up early to spend a little extra time using my new products. I'm not even through with the seventh cleaning step when my 4-year-old groggily appears downstairs. "Bunny milk," he mumbles. "Teletubbies." I turn on the television for him, get the requested milk and continue to step eight.
I am proudly applying my new Pink Pout lip color when my 3-year-old daughter joins him. "Your lips funny Mommy," she says, and before I can move she swipes a hand over my mouth, smearing my Pink Pout all over my freshly applied foundation and two layers of blush.
"Dammit," I say under my breath. "Back to step one." Undeterred, I get her settled in front of the video and begin the process of putting together the new me.
It isn't five minutes later and both kids are in the bathroom with me. "Are these toys?" my son asks, climbing on the vanity, sending my applicators all over the floor.
"No, they are for Mommy," I say. "It's makeup."
"Put it on me!" my daughter shouts.
"No, this is special for Mommy." They both start whining and crying at the same time. I cave. "OK, just a little." My daughter grabs the lipstick, opens it and smashes it on her eyebrow, completely breaking it off. My son turns the 50-dollar moisturizer over and spills half of it in the sink.
I lose it. "OUT! OUT!" I scream. My husband comes in. I mutter, "At this moment I am a danger to myself and to others. I need to be left alone in this bathroom for 15 minutes." Knowing that look in my eyes, he backs out with the children, careful not to make any sudden movements. I'm alone, minus a few products, but I have enough to regroup and start over; the monkey soap sits in the corner of the vanity, mocking me.
Thirty minutes later, I emerge from the bathroom. "Wow!" my husband says. "Is that all the Mary Kay stuff you got at the party last night?"
"Yep," I say proudly. "I am a new woman."
"How much did all that stuff cost?" he asks, trying to sound nonchalant.
I give my usual answer. "Twenty-five dollars."
My beauty is wasted that day since we never leave the house. Soon it becomes clear that the emotional price of wearing Pink Pout and four types of eye makeup is too high.
I'm back to the monkey soap now, and life is easier, but every now and then, I don a Pink Pout face just to see the jealous looks of other women marveling at my perfection. My husband says they are staring and I need to "tone it down a bit," but I know they are marveling. Women can tell these things.
No matter what products she used, Shannon realized that a pretty face wasn't worth the emotional stress of having it on while being a mom and wife. Do you have your own version of monkey soap? Pick up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood for other mommy moments.
Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC © 2013. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.