The other day Jack and I jumped in the car and headed to a meeting together. As usual we were running late, and since the red lights didn’t work in my favor, I sat in the parking lot an extra minute or two to throw on some mascara and lipstick. And as usual, Jack had some questions.
“Mommy, why are you putting that stick in your eye?”
“Uh, well, it’s not IN my eye. It’s called mascara, and I use this stick to put it ON my eyelashes.”
“Why do you want… mas car a… on your eyelashes?”
Walked right into that one.
But I was in a rush, so I dodged the implications of the question and my own self-reflection, and went with simple; I said, “It makes my eyelashes look pretty.” By that time I was opening his door and holding his hand as he climbed out and we ran in to meet our friend. (In case you were wondering, Jack was so well behaved that even I was impressed.)
This morning while I was still bleary-eyed, Jack asked me, “Mommy, why aren’t your eyelashes pretty?”
And also, crap. So we had a faltering conversation about makeup. How you don’t need makeup to be pretty, but sometimes a girl likes it and it makes her feel good. Like when you wear a nice shirt instead of a Tshirt.
“I don’t like nice shirts.”
“Yes, I know.”
And so on and so forth.
Friends, I did the best I could.
In case you’re dying to know, here are my not-all-that-well articulated thoughts about makeup: If you like it and it makes you feel a bit more confident, then wear it. But let’s also try not to tie our beauty or worth to it.
A little easier said than done. And not so easy to explain to a 3-year-old! The truth is, I like my eyes! I like their color and my smile lines and my eyelashes.
There are definitely things about my face that I like a lot less. As women we are pretty hard on ourselves when we look in the mirror, and I am no exception. I’d go so far as to say I was discipled in the art of self-critique. We are constantly apologizing for ourselves, aren’t we?
Which brings me to this little bit cheesy but pretty darned poignant little Ted talk:
Let’s get better at how we talk about our own beauty. Let’s be kinder to ourselves. Whether or not makeup is involved, let’s take note of our best features. And hopefully at least some of that will rub off on our little ones.
And If you’ve got a great makeup speech to give kiddos, I’d love to hear it!