‘Yummy Mummy’ and ‘Slummy Mummy’. Two phrases that relate to appearance, that are not at all unfamiliar in this day and age. I say ‘phrase’ but I think what they really are, are ‘labels’.
Over the past couple of years, since being a Mum myself, I’ve come across discussions and conversations, in particular, about Mum’s on the school run who appear to look ‘perfect’ and don’t have half of their child’s breakfast or spit up down their clothes. They may not have intended to be perceived in a negative way, but I interpreted them in this way. Whilst listening in, or reading the comments, I felt that these Mum’s were in some way looked down upon because they had made an effort with their appearance.
There were comments such as ‘How do they find the time?’ or ‘What’s the point? It’s only the school run?’ or even worse ‘They must really think something of themselves!’ There were other comments that appeared in a jealous nature, such as ‘I wish I had my shit together like she must have’.
So this got me thinking. How much are we judged by how we present ourselves? Are we a ‘Yummy Mummy’ because we put on a face of make up and put on some nice clothes to leave the house? Are we taking too much time on ourselves in the mornings and not enough on the children if we spend a few minutes in the company of a straightening irons and curling tongs? Or are we considered a ‘Slummy Mummy’ if we choose to dash out on the school run in yesterday’s clothes, or even our pyjamas under a Winter coat? Are we looked down on if we choose to spend an extra ten minutes of precious time in bed before the kids surface demanding every bit of our attention? And the question is, can we win either way?
Appearance v. Reality
What pushed me to write this piece today was a recent experience I had on the nursery drop off. I caught a couple of other Mums looking at me in what I can only describe as a judgemental way. I can’t guarantee there was a sneer or a smirk but whatever it was made me feel uncomfortable.
Now is the time to admit that yes, I do wear a full face of make up most days. Yes, I do make sure my hair is nice before leaving the house and yes, I do have to be happy with the clothes I’m wearing before setting about my day. This is who I am.
Does that mean I substitute my time with my son in the morning and spend it with my make up bag and curling tong instead? No. He’s fed, watered and perfectly presentable and above all, happy when he starts his day. Do I ‘think something of myself?’ Not at all. I’m no better than the next person whether she has greasy hair or whether she looks like she’s just stepped out of a beauty salon. Do I have my shit together? Hell no. On most days what these people don’t see is me in a flap like every other person out there trying to get their kids out of the door. Forgetting hats, scarves and gloves and having to go back for them. Panicking because I’m worried we’re going to be late arriving at nursery and then having to rush the goodbye cuddles. I am far from having my shit together, believe me.
I present myself in this way because it gives me the confidence to be who I am. Without it I feel uncomfortable with myself. Some might say that is sad and I should be happy in my own skin. Yes. I probably should. I have been known to step out ‘au natural’ but I just prefer not to. That doesn’t make me a bad person and I certainly don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I do it for me. Not anyone else. And why shouldn’t I?
A Bigger Picture
I wanted to get a wider view on this subject so I asked some of my fellow Mum bloggers if they had any stories, experiences or opinions on it.
Rachel at Coffee, Cake & Kids
I never used to bother much for school runs, but we recently moved to a new area and new schools. I’ve found myself putting on a full face of makeup on now for the school runs, and don’t quite live in legging and Ugg boots anymore. Not sure why – I think subconsciously that it’s a need to ‘impress’ the other mums (which is ridic!) where I was best friends with the mums at the old school – they’d seen me drunk and in my PJS many times! However, I feel better for making an effort every day, and I think I feel more like my old pre-child self now rather than a ‘slummy mummy’!
Naomi at Tattooed Mummy
I never wear make up. Mr TM says I look scary when I bother to put on a bit of lippy to go out. So I just don’t bother. In the 80s, when I was a teen, I wore loads! Think boy George and Madonna, but as I’ve matured I realise the real me is just as much fun as the painted me. I’m more likely to be wearing face paint at a festival than makeup
Natalie at Mumworthy
Went to a toddler group today with another mum I know. There was a lady with her little one, with gorgeous high heels and a cute knitted mini dress, lovely swishy blond hair and nice make up, and big smily face. I looked at her and though, oh she looks great, wish I could look as glam. The mum I went with said ‘omg omg look what she’s got on, seriously, we’re only at a toddler group’. Funny how we both looked at her so differently.
I didn’t care too much about my appearance before becoming a mum, and I’m less bothered by it now. I was never a make-up kinda girl anyway, and it’s not for want of trying. And now with my bump, I’ve recently not even bothered much with jewellery. And I don’t care much for what people think.
Laura at Five Little Doves
I never wear make up unless I’m going out OUT, or brush my hair to be fair, and have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen other Mums on a night out, or even teachers from school, who have been shocked to see me dressed up and said, “Oh wow you look really good when you make the effort!!”. Such a back handed compliment!!!
Sarah at Run Jump Scrap!
I have to wear some make up as have no eyes but never bother with my hair. Clothes wise I hate looking scruffy I have to admit and try and make a bit of an effort. I always wear jewellery. This was me before kids and I’m not changing.
Katie at Mummy’s Diary
I only wear make up on the two days I’m in work ? do feel judged by others especially on the school run. I used to wear make up every day I’d never go anywhere with out now I just don’t care I don’t have the time for it lol.
Becky at Little, Big & Me
I don’t wear make up unless I’m going out out but always put on mascara and do my brows if I’m going anywhere with other mums. I like to feel like I’ve made a little effort. Recently someone asked me if I’d had my hair done as it looked a lovely colour. My reply was that I’d washed it so it no longer had the grey tinge of dry shampoo!
Vicky at Being Tilly’s Mummy
I am doing the school run more and more in my pyjamas. I have to walk there and back and it takes the stress out of having to rush if I cut out the getting dressed. My older daughter told me off the other day for doing it. She is 24 lol.
Helen at All The Beautiful Things
I have worn makeup daily for as long as I can remember! I adore putting it on and would never leave the house without a full face of makeup and my hair done. I would literally feel naked without it. I often have comments like ‘where do you find the time’ or ‘your makeup is always nice’ which is nice to hear but honestly I have putting it on down to a fine art of about 15 mins!!
Katie at Mami To Five
Most days I wear wellies and ‘allotment clothes’ on the school run. I occasionally get the odd surprised looks and comments about how lovely I look when I go wearing normal clothes. I think some of them presumed I was a slob and never realised I actually owned nice clothes too!
Gemma at Somewhere After The Rainbow
I put pressure on myself to put makeup on now, as the few times I haven’t, I always get comments that I look poorly or tired. I’m very much mum uniform of jeans and jumpers, but I have to have my make up on!
Jenny at Monkey and Mouse
I don’t even know how to put make up on, I’ve never been interested in it. But no one has ever commented or looked down on me because of it, I’m just treated like anyone else!
Kirstin at With Hope and a Swear
I wear make up pretty much everyday. I’m also a ‘young’ mum and have a tattoo sleeve and my knees tattooed! The knee tattoos get A LOT of disapproving looks!
Sophia at Tattooed Tealady
Both my partner and I are fairly heavily tattooed and pierced. I have had comments from strangers, mainly those who are in their 50’s+, make comments in the street about what bad influences we are and what a bad example we are setting our daughter. Whereas others see our modifications as cause for concern, we see it as a way to bring our daughter up showing her that you can express yourself in many ways, and still succeed, be happy and healthy and live a fulfilling life, regardless of whether you have body modifications or not.
Rebecca at Becster Dot Com
Don’t wear makeup. Never have and never will. Wouldn’t even know where to start with the stuff. Haven’t noticed that people have been judging. If they have I’m not bothered by it. The judgement I know I get is from the hubby because I keep wearing my “I ❤ Mark Webber” hoodie!!
Nellie at Little Shits and Giggles
I don’t feel pressure to look good but I like to every now and then. I’d only wear make up on occasions because I’m too lazy and sometimes wear a tinted moisturiser to take that slight look of death off of my face. I overheard some young one call me a milf yesterday anyway so I can’t be that disgraceful!
Frances at Whinge Whinge Wine
I am fairly certain that my daughter’s preschool think I’m a tramp (a homeless one, not the other kind). I’m not. I’m just really tired and can’t be arsed to spend ten minutes of my life painting my face to walk over the street. They always apologise before handing me invoices though and say I don’t have to pay it til x or i can pay weekly, no rush, really sorry. There is a school mum who always drops off her son in really short miniskirts and platform shoes as well as a full face of makeup, and so I guess by noting this I am not entirely without judgement myself I suppose. She looks SO COLD.
Kayleigh at Candyfloss & Dreams
I love makeup and I love wearing it. It can take me up to an hour to do a full face. However I think it’s important to give your skin a break from time to time and let it breathe! I also think it’s good for Evie to see me without makeup, and that I don’t “need it” every day. We both love a good pamper though, makes us look and feel good.
Natasha at Mummy & Moose
My day to day look can best be described as “I wasn’t expecting to get out of the car”
I have worn (black) pyjamas outside. When I think about it actually I wear them often, but they’re black! I occasionally do make an effort but I work from home so I just don’t really see the point? Admittedly I have upped my game since starting blogging as now photos are more likely!
Nicole at The Mum Reviews
Most of the mums in my son’s class all have exactly the same style of coat. I often wonder if they would accept me into their tribe if I had the right coat.
I realise there were quite a few there, but I felt there was such a big range of thoughts and opinions, I didn’t want to leave any out!
Can’t We Just ‘Be’?
To conclude this post, it simply shouldn’t matter to anyone else, how we dress, what we do or don’t put on our face or how we style our hair. If someone has an issue because I drop my kid off at nursery whilst wearing a pair of heeled knee high boots and red lipstick, that’s their problem not mine. Just like I shouldn’t and don’t care if someone rocks up in a onesie – good for them – they look super warm and comfy!
Can we please just be who we want to be with no judgement? At the end of the day don’t we all just endeavour to be good Mums and good people? We all try our best. I just like to do my best with a few coats of mascara and a curl in my hair.
Must go, I think I left the curling tongs on…!
Have you ever experienced anything discussed in this post? Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your stories and opinions.