Monday, 30 April 2012

Make up and Me

I have an open relationship with make-up. I know I can hook up with it when I feel the need and I value it's contribution to my life but we're just as able to live without each other. Frankly, committing to make-up turns it into a bit of a high-maintenance leech on your time.

For many years, I barely wore the stuff at all unless I was going out somewhere that required some of sort of effort to be made, which I didn't do often. It's not a coincidence that I've worn make up more often in my thinner times than my fatter times. As with all the ways in which I present myself to the public - hair, clothes, method of vision correction etc - I care less when I think I'm bound to look awful anyway. Now I've lost the weight again, it seems a shame not to make more of an effort. I lack a lot of the basic training and being completely honest, I'm lazy.

I'm also busy. I have a two year old, a husband, a house to keep up, meals to prepare, a job and a LOT of internet surfing to do. Hauling out of bed when your kids wakes, pulling on comfy sweats (hairbrush optional) and getting on with the day is one thing when said kid is 6 months old, your on mat leave and you have no sense of self anyway but these days I like to try a little harder.

On my terms.

 My hair is dead straight and waist length so I can get away with a minimum of effort there. This is just as well as unless I'm pleating it or putting it in a pony tail at the nape of my neck, I have no styling skills whatsoever. My proudest hair moment in the last year was probably the purchase of those Goody Spin Pins, so I can at least now put in a bun without it unravelling itself half an hour later.

With make up itself I have no patience for messing about. If Small catches me putting it on he's desperate to get in a little Drag time so speed is of the essence. Lily LoLo mineral foundation brushed all over face and neck, their blusher too.
A few months ago I discovered these wonderful Soap and Glory eye pencils with shadow on one end and liner in the other. There's only 3 pairs of colours but they're so fab. It takes like two minutes to apply total and once it dries, it's not moving until you scrub it off. I've slept in it (Lazy, remember?) and it was still almost untouched the next day (I still washed it off then - I'm not that lazy) I haven't used any other eyeshadows since discovering them, it's just not worth it*
Lipstick I'm fussy about. I don't like gloss, my hair gets stuck to it for one thing and I hate, i hate anything that feels claggy or sticky. You may have noticed I didn't mention mascara above, that's because if I wear mascara I spend the whole day trying to pull my eyelashes out because they feel clogged. Urgh. I also dislike the rigmarole of reapplying it and finding it gumming up at the corners of my mouth. In times past I would wear all other make up and avoid lipstick. So it's quite fortunate that in the years of my absentia from the world of cosmetics Max Factor have developed Lipfinity lip tints. Almost could have been developed just for me.

And I'm good to go! Not every day, but now every day that work and sometimes other days if I'm wearing something particularly nice from my new skinny wardrobe and feel the need. When it was nice weather back in March, I even bought self-tan. I bought body scrub. I mostly keep up with removing hair from all the areas western culture suggests women should remove hair from. I wear dresses, some days. Any minute now you could mistake me for a proper girl.

Not yet though, not until I've got a proper hairstyle.

*I am not receiving any incentives from S&G for that endorsement, nor from any of the other cosmetic companies mentioned. Dammit.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Rainy Sunday

This morning, Big took Small out to the rather good playgym we discovered yesterday and left me at home so I could do what he thinks of as a rest and I know to be a rare opportunity to get some housework done without Small either screeching at either the noise interrupting his enjoyment of Justin's House or better yet, deciding to come and 'help'. I rarely have to worry about help from Big.

Leaving me alone to tidy up means leaving me alone with my thoughts, never a good plan.

I got to thinking about a wee stooshie amongst a couple of friends on Facebook, which developed two heads and drew in a lot of opinions from all over the place. It was about, in essence, whether children are damaged by their mothers working.
Research can point either way, you can find studies which show that young children in daycare are better socialised, more independent, more educationally developed than those who stay at home with their mothers. At the same time, you can find research that shows how the abandonment issues involved can blight a child so badly that the adult they grow into is forever scarred.
Opinions raging in the debate ran from the idea that being a stay at home mum makes you boring to that being a working mum makes you feckless and selfish.

Myself, I walk the line. I do work, but I squeeze half a week's working hours into two days while Small goes to his grandparent's house. The amount I earn this way makes the difference between living hand to mouth, and pretty much getting by with the odd treat if planned for carefully but if I had to pay for childcare, like many families I'd be much worse off.

The debate has been raging on around me and what bothers me most is not so much the dire warnings about Small's future mental health - hell, I'm a parent! Everything I do is supposed to have a dire effect on my child's future mental health, it's what I'm for - it's that people queue up to have a pop at each other over decisions that have no bearing on them whatsoever. Being a parent is hard enough, being a mother, oooof. Perhaps I should have asked Big about this before writing but I don't know if fathers get the same sense of being watched and judged for every move they make. As a mother, everyone is looking. What your child eats, what they say, how they react, how they play, where they play, how they develop... it's all a reflection of your worth as a human being. If you can't get it right (and gods alone know what 'right' is supposed to be as everyone has a different version) then WHY DID YOU HAVE A CHILD IN THE FIRST PLACE?
So do other mothers then, understand this constant scrutiny and join you in a little solidarity? Um... no, they stick the boot in too. Harder.

No, that's not fair. This is the whole point. You can't say 'this is right' 'this is wrong' 'everyone does this' 'everyone reacts like that'. Well, you can but if you do then you're wrong. Everyone is different and responds differently. It's possible to say that your own child would be terribly affected if you didn't spend every waking moment with them but it's important to remember that someone else's child might only thrive when it's getting to meet new people every day. You can't say that a child will be protected from abandonment issues in later life if his mother stays home with him, if that mother can't interact with him and just leaves him to his own devices. Children have different personalities too, different needs, enjoy different things. Just as there are as many mums I know who are wonderfully supportive of each other, counterbalancing the times I see other parents attacking someone's choices.   It's important to recognise that before you dictate what someone else 'ought' to do with their offspring. Maybe it's not what you'd do, maybe you can't understand it but you're not that child's parent.

Anyway, what did I do with all this introspection? I finished the housework, and made cupcakes.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What am I thinking?

I'm not exactly new to blogging, but I've never intentionally blogged for strangers. Not that I imagine many strangers will be popping by. I'm not expecting to be that interesting.

What shall I be blogging about? Well your guess is probably as good as mine. I'm married with a two year old and a part time office job, I have a currently unspecific chronic fatigue condition which I work on getting diagnosed whenever I have the energy to chase it up. I bake, I decorate cakes, I make jewellery, I make cards (badly), I make candles (also badly), I listen to rock and metal music and teach my toddler to throw horns. I'm a left wing, libertarian, secular pagan who lets things get to her and picks up hobbies like other people catch cold. I catch colds too.

At any given time I could write about any of these things so all I can say is that I'm in here somewhere.

If you drop by, say hi. Don't leave me hanging.