raising strong girls · slice of life


photo(11)I want my little girl to grow up to be confident woman who doesn’t feel like she needs to wear makeup. Reality: she will sneak  eyeliner and lip gloss in her backpack in middle school if I restrict her makeup use. That will sure be hard to do since she sees me putting on makeup each and every morning. While I’ve embraced my curls, I sure haven’t embraced my less than perfect complexion.  Therefore, I’m walking on a tightrope every day between getting myself ready so I’m presentable without seeming too fussy about how I look.  (A little background: Before I became a teacher, I worked in the beauty industry.  I was an assistant beauty editor for iVillage.com right out of college.  Then I did p.r. and merchandising for a variety of hair care and makeup companies. While I hate to admit it, I can be a bit vain.)

We were rushing to get out of the house this morning when Isabelle decided she wanted to put on some makeup too, which means I hand her a makeup brush and she swipes the makeup-less brush along her face as I apply my makeup.  Moments after I put on my concealer, she said, “up, up, up.”

Pick up?”  (We’re trying to get her to add the word pick before she says “up.”)

“Puh,” she replied.

“Pick up, put it together.”

“Up!” she responded.

“As soon as I put on my powder and spray my face, I will pick you up,” I responded.

I applied my face powder as fast as I could.  All the while, Isabelle is turning the knob on my makeup mirror, which kept dimming the light.

“Put it back on, please.”

“Ahn (on),” she replied as she brightened it up.

“Yes, on,” I said as I misted my face to set my makeup.  “Do you want some?” I asked.

“(Ye)sss,” Isabelle said.

“Close your eyes,” I commanded.

She didn’t.

“You may close your eyes,” I said.

Her peepers stared back at me.

“If you don’t close your eyes, the mist will get in your eyes.”

She continued to stare at me.  Seriously?

So, I did what any normal person would do.  I covered her eyes and sprayed her face once.  Her face moved slightly from the shock of the spray and then she smiled.

“Do you want me to pick you up?”

She nodded.

I hoisted her on to my lap and then the real fun began.  Isabelle began to move around my makeup brushes, picked up the eye shadows and pretended they were telephones, and then rearranged the placement of my blush.

I don’t let Isabelle actually put on any of the makeup for real when she’s playing at my makeup table.  I let her pretend to apply blush and face powder.  I’m not sure if that’s the “right thing” to do, but it’s what I’m doing.  And so far, I think we’re doing fine.


15 thoughts on “Maaaay-kup!

  1. Make up! I am a minimalist, too, mostly because I don’t know what I’m doing…but my girls liked fooling around with the little I had. I think it’s an identity thing..a phase they try (like clothes and so on later) to try and figure out what kind of woman they will be. Isabelle will learn/is learning so much more about being a strong woman from watching you – something tells me, Stacey, that she already is…just from the stories you share!

  2. Your opening gives us an intimate window into the essence of the intimate moment with your daughter. Kids have to “try on” all kinds of ways of being in order to discover themselves. Including make-up.

    1. Ellen – Yep, I know. At first I was hesitant, but I realized that if I didn’t let her do it, then I would open up a whole other can of worms. Hence, she loves getting ready with me in the mornings. We even apply “beauty cream” to her face (just lotion to keep her skin hydrated in the winter). She thinks it’s the funniest thing!

      1. My girls ebbed and flowed in their love of pink and beauty. The “no dresses” and black lipstick only lasted a moment, but it seemed to last forever. Two of them are teachers now – dresses every day since high school – and make-up, just a touch. My 15-year-old may never embrace dresses and pretty, but I am forever hopeful. “I don’t like pink, Mom!”

  3. I guess it’s a good thing I only had a son. A daughter would not learn much about make-up from me. A little blush and I’m done. Never could get eye liner on straight and mascara took too much effort to take off at night. I think you’ve got it right Stacey, let her be a part of the mommy/girly world. She wants to be just like mommy.

  4. This is a sweet story Stacey. I think as long as you are following your instincts, you are doing the right thing. Your daughter is curious, as all kiddos are, and you are providing just the right amount of safe exploration. What a lucky girl your daughter is to have a mom who is willing to take the time to let her check out the world around her. That’s how we all learn!

  5. Stacey, I think it’s more about the time you are spending together rather than whether or not it is the “right” thing to do. It was also fun to learn something new about you. I did not know about the beauty industry part of your history.

    1. I just looked on my bio on TWT and realized there’s nothing about it in there. I guess I haven’t included it in anything “about me” for awhile since it doesn’t seem relevant. Oh the stories I could tell you about my first career…

  6. What is it about us that gets in the way of embracing who we naturally are? I love that you worked in the beauty industry but still believe in balance and acceptance. What a sweet scene full of patience you painted for this slice.

    I am facing the need to embrace my curls. I can wear my hair curly to school. I also occasionally go with minimal make-up. I can do it because I do it for the girls in my classes. I have yet to do it at a conference or in professional setting, but that is coming. You can’t blow dry or straight iron one-handed.

  7. Everyone has their own Mommy-child rituals and if yours involve make-up, so be it! You know that I don’t where much makeup, but sometimes I wished I did.

  8. Sounds like an adorable way to play together! It’s sweet that she wants to be like you. I had no idea you were ever anything other than a teacher! That would be an interesting slice sometime!

    I don’t wear makeup. I’ve worn minimal, very natural makeup for dances and my wedding, but that’s it. Lip gloss is the only thing on my face every day. My mom always acted like she couldn’t possibly let anyone see her without makeup on, and I resolved to never be like that. My skin is just fine, and I don’t want to feel like I have to cover it up to impress people. My students actually just assumed I wore a little makeup because everyone does, and they were so surprised when I said I don’t wear any!

    I do straighten my hair almost every time I wear it down, but I wear it curly occasionally. Mostly, I straighten it because I shower at night, so I’d have to wet it down to wear it curly in the morning.

  9. Stacey,
    You are doing what comes naturally to you at the time-it’s cute to hear how Isabelle is so curious about what you’re doing…it’s also endearing to hear how the two of you converse and connect with each other-both trying to understand what the other is saying and doing. It’s all good!

    I have noticed that Nattie watches me like a hawk if she’s around when I get ready in the morning. I pretend with her to put on lotion or perfume-she just giggles! I look at it as a part of our special bonding time. I can tell you that my son was not interested in this at all when he was her age-so maybe it is a girl thing.

  10. Think it’s a good thing I only have boys, because I’m horrible at makeup. But I totally agree with you- either you do it with her or she hides it in her back up and puts it on in the middle school bathroom! Before she hits adolescence, you need to read REVIVING OPHELIA, if you haven’t already. It’s all about raising strong, confident girls.

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