1) (Derogatory) A dirty, slatternly woman
Now I’m as image-conscious as the next 21st Century woman. Things our mothers never had to worry about could cause us to be landed with a photo of us on our worst possible day available to everybody who we’re in contact with. It just takes one quick snap on someone’s phone at toddler group and all our ‘friends’ on Facebook can see how gruesome we look after 5 consecutive months of broken sleep, living off biscuits and caffeine and no bloody makeup to disguise the effects.
However, I have found a few quick cheats which mean I can meet other mums at the preschool gates with – at least – equanimity, if not pride.
1) Don’t wash your hair very often. I have long hair and, since switching to a ‘Lush’ shampoo bar it doesn’t seem to get as greasy as it used to so, as long as I tie it up, I can get away with not washing it very often. Damn but that’s a time saver. For those who really can’t do that then maybe try dry shampoo. I’ve heard great things about Natural Essences dry shampoo. I sometimes grab a few more extra seconds by not even brushing it. Sleep with it tied up, then you just take it out, twist it back up and bish bash bosh – there ya go. French plaits can be good for this too.
2) Don’t take your mascara off at bedtime. As a fair-complexioned woman mascara is really my makeup essential but I don’t always have time or mental energy (or remember) to do it in the morning. I find the best solution to this is leave it on at night, then just take a quick swipe under your eyes with some makeup remover first thing. Saves time at both ends of the day!
3) Wear big scarves. Not only warm and cosy on chillier days these can also be used as a handy cover-up for stains (esp baby sick on the shoulder) or to change up the t-shirt and jeans combo you’ve been rocking for 4 days.
4) Cultivate your floordrobe. No time to fold and put away? Why not do as I do and deposit clean and used clothes alike on a chair or an artistic heap on the floor? Saves time at both ends as you can also just lift off yesterday’s outfit and add a fresh pair of pants for a new and exciting twist on an old look.
5) Don’t wash clothes automatically. With the exception of knickers (because even slutty mummies have limits) don’t just throw your kit in the wash at night unless one of the following applies: it has visible stains, it smells or you just can’t face hanging it up and it’s easier to squirrel it away in the laundry basket.
6) Only buy shoes you can slip on. Not only does it save time with laces, zips, velcro and other fastenings, but you know you’ll have to run upstairs at least twice on your way out of the door to get essentials you’ve forgotten and if, like me, you don’t like shoes upstairs then slip-ons are vital. Why do you think we all wear Birkenstocks and Ugg boots?
7) Always have your baby with you. Not only is s/he your living, breathing excuse for looking like a walking scarecrow, but nobody will be looking at you if you have a cute dumpling of a baby to coo over instead…not so useful for business meetings perhaps.
8) Wet wipes. Wipe off old makeup, fresh sick, freshen up your underarms – a multitude of uses and none of them related to baby bottoms.
9) Fake it. A spritz of perfume, a neat set of pearl studs, a cheery smile. If you look like you think there’s nothing wrong with the way you look then who will dare to question it. After all, if you’re wearing jewellery and perfume then you must have made an effort, right? Right? Oh well, maybe see point number 10 then…
10) Avoid mirrors. You’ve done the best you can in the time you have. Seriously woman – why torture yourself by looking at the result multiple times in a day? Give yourself a break, assume the best and get on with your day. You have more important to things to think about, haven’t you?
Like whether Doctors is on today, or if it’s still cancelled for Wimbledon…