No sweats allowed: Bouncing back from the grungees

Ways to free yourself from the elastic waist band in order to look and feel more like a woman than a tired mommy.

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  • Shortly after having my kids (boy and girl twins) I went back to working full time. It was easy to keep up my appearance. I needed to look put together and professional and yoga pants and mom jeans were not allowed in the office. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom it is not so easy. The first thing I think of when I wake up is my kids. I go straight to their room and get them ready for the day. Then it's making breakfast, cleaning the house, entertaining two-year-olds and the list goes on and on. Before I know it the day is almost over, and I'm still in my pajamas. While there is no rule that states you have to wear make-up every day, it was getting out of hand. I got my real wake-up call when I went into my kid's room in the morning fully dressed, and my little girl said "go bye-bye?" Really? Did wearing actual clothes equal leaving the house? Something needed to change. Here are some rules I now follow.

  • Get ready before you leave your room

  • I learned that if I got myself ready before stepping foot outside my bedroom it made a world of difference. My make-up was on, my hair was done, teeth were brushed and wearing something besides lounge wear; now I could face the day with a fresh start. Even though my kids had to wait an extra 10 minutes before getting out of bed it helped me start my day off right.

  • Don't neglect your upkeep

  • Now that I have kids I do not want to spend money on myself. I think this is something all moms struggle with. How can I justify spending $100+ on my hair weave when my kids are growing out of their clothes every three months and need something to wear? Especially now that I am a stay-at-home mom and have lost my entire income. Money is more tight than ever. I have learned to decide what I can and cannot live without. I can live without a pedicure. That is something I can do myself. However I cannot live without my eyebrows being waxed, it just can't be done. I have changed up my hair color so I can now go longer between dyes. I used to love going shopping for clothes, and now I find myself having an inner battle each time I step into a store. I need new clothes, but I would rather spend money on my kids. While I wish there was an easy fix for these feelings I do not have one. I have definitely cut way back on the amount of clothes I buy a year for myself, but I still try to get a couple of new things every season to freshen up my wardrobe.

  • Exercise regularly

  • Not only does exercise help you stay fit and look good, but it helps with stress and gives you happy endorphins. Even if you exercise for 30 minutes three times a week, it is something. I know life is busy (believe me, I know), but I have learned that when I make time to exercise it makes me happier, and a happy mom means a much happier home. I used to be a frequent visitor of the gym, but with kids I find it very difficult to go so I switched to working out at home. I have several workout DVDs and videos on YouTube and Pinterest that I can do in my own living room. My kids also love to workout with me. While sometimes they can make my workout really challenging, exercising is something I want them to learn to love and incorporate in their life, as well, so I don't mind the extra obstacles they create.

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  • Remember what makes your spouse do a double take

  • My husband loves when I wear my hair down, especially when I straighten it, but it is not a style I can wear every day. I make it a habit to wear it down when we have our date night. I also put a bit more effort into my appearance when I know I am spending time with my husband. Nothing makes me feel prettier than when the man I am attracted to compliments me. We don't always get to actually leave the house for our date night, but even if it is take out and a movie at home we try to spend alone time together each week. This is vital to helping me feel like a woman and not just a mommy.

  • Be an example

  • We all know that our kids mimic everything we do. Our looks are no exception. While developing their inner beauty is a priority, teaching them about caring for themselves is important as well. Feeling good about yourself and your appearance is an important factor in promoting a healthy self-esteem. When you complain about your weight, big nose, limp hair, or whatever it may be, it teaches your children that it is not only okay to do but also to look for things to criticize in themselves. Good hygiene, a clean appearance and being healthy promotes a good body image.

  • Keep in mind that outer appearance does not determine if you are a good mom or not. I still have days when I look more like I just rolled out of bed then a beautifully put together mom. But by putting in a little bit of effort, it reminds me that I am not only a mommy, but also a wife and, most importantly, a woman.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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