I never thought I’d write an essay about how motherhood has profoundly changed my relationship to beauty, but here we are. I suppose it’s more the relationship with myself that feels profoundly changed, but since that’s wrapped up in my love for beauty, it’s all connected.
Before having a baby, it was easy for me to imagine that my appearance as a mom would likely land somewhere between day-two-of-a-hangover and haven’t-slept-in-years. I fully expected to be covered in spit up, my hair unwashed and unbrushed for days on end, lucky if I could yank my disheveled strands through a worn out scrunchie to keep them out of my baby’s mouth.
It’s true that the early days made it nearly impossible to indulge in beauty rituals that once seemed simple, like doing my makeup or styling my hair. But new ones emerged, where they could. They were ordinary, mandatory—taking an epsom salt bath, applying sunscreen, filing my nails. Their compulsory nature didn’t make me love the moments any less. In fact, I savoured every second because it meant embracing a moment that wasn’t completely wrapped up in someone else’s well-being.
And yet, the new reality is that my whole existence is wrapped up in someone else’s well-being. That reality has completely transformed my sense of self. Where I was once a perfectionist, I can now dive in. Where I was once self-conscious, I now feel uninhibited.
There was a time not long ago when I never would have posted my bare face onto the internet, but now I just… don’t care? This is how I look. Knowing that how I perceive myself, how I talk to myself, and how I present myself is how my daughter will learn to perceive herself, talk to herself, and present herself, has silenced so much negativity.
Not long ago, that negativity gave me more than pause. It completely halted and kept me from pursuing my passion—connecting with others about beauty products, self-care rituals, and deeper issues within the industry like racism, colourism, and ageism. Being on maternity leave, and away from my work, has made me miss this engagement so much.
I thank my daughter, for ushering in this unanticipated transformation. For making me a mom. And for sleeping enough during the day so that I can ruminate on these topics while indulging in the rituals I took for granted before having her.