Candace Ganger

10 Things I'd Rather Be Than The "Put Together" Mom

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As I write this, I'm relaxed in an old shirt, leggings, and what I call my "librarian cover-up." This is typical attire since I work from home and care for my two children. I mean, who's going to see me? No one, really. Still, in the drop off line at my daughter's school, there's always a few moms who look like they've got it together way more than me. Sometimes I envy them, but mostly I realize there's a lot of other things I'd rather be than a "put together" mom.

I give all those "put together" moms props because, like me, they're probably just as busy every morning, noon, and night. Still, somehow, they find enough motivation to make themselves appear more presentable than I do. Even times I think I'm doing OK, I'll see another mother who's doing it better. Comparison is the thief of joy, right? Sigh.

Before kids, I put in a lot more energy into my appearance before going anywhere, including the mail box. Looking back, I see that time used as selfish vanity. While there's nothing wrong with it, and it did (and still does) make me feel good about myself, I just have more important things to focus on now (for the most part, anyway). I still put myself together sometimes, it's just not to prove to others that I can. I'm pretty comfortable within my skin (finally), so I no longer feel the need to do all that extra work unless I want to. That's the difference. With that, here are some of the other things I'd rather do than change my shirt and leggings (and brushing my hair, putting on makeup, or much of anything else) before going out.

A "Present" Mom

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It's not to say that put together moms aren't present for their children or partners but, in my experience, I'm not completely there for any of them if I'm spending too much time getting ready for literally no reason. I get taking the time when there's an event or big plans, but on a daily basis? Yeah, I'd rather devote my attention elsewhere and stick to my baggy shirts and stretchy pants.

A "Self-Assured" Mom

I'm not always confident with leaving the house the way I often do, but at least in the particular looks I choose, I can at least present self-assurance to the world (even if I don't necessarily feel it). When a mother appears self-assured, there's a radiance the omits that you can't manufacture through fancy clothes, accessories, hair, or makeup. Not that I omit it, but I've seen moms wearing something similar to me that exude confidence. That just goes to show it doesn't have anything to do with what's on the outside.

A "Comfortable" Mom

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Have you ever worn jeans at home all day for no reason? If you do, good on you. If you don't, well, you're not alone. I don't prefer to wear jeans at home, especially when I have clothes that are actually comfortable (and can be cute if paired wisely).

A "Transparent" Mom

I'd like to think the way I present myself on a typical day like today is me. Like, what you see is what you get. I'm not hiding behind anything but my glasses and untamed hair and I've spent more time on making sure my kids got off to school without a hitch rather than take inventory on what I'm wearing. Likewise, I'm OK with others assuming whatever they want about my presentation as long as, when they look at me, they see me and not hours of prep.

A "Flexible" Mom

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Instead of being a "put together" mom, the small amount of time I invest each morning means I have more time to run a last-minute errand. I'm not "high maintenance" and although those women look amazing, I don't have time or patience to sit through a full-face makeup tutorial every morning when the kids are yelling for all the things before school. I like to be ready at a moment's notice, which often means relying on my go-to comfy clothes, wild, carefree hair, and minimal makeup.

An "Approachable" Mom

I'll be honest. When I go to a school event (even a track meet in the blazing sun) and see a group of moms totally put together, I start to feel insecure and retreat into myself. A woman who's able to accessorize while rocking a perfect winged liner intimidates me. And while, again, I do these things from time to time, it's not everywhere I go. My "natural" look might be a little more approachable than some, because I'm not afraid my hair will go flat if I hug you too tight or that I'll smudge my lipliner on your shoulder.

The "Interesting" And "Mysterious" Mom

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The thing about my look is that it's relatively the same everyday and yet, I might wear a shirt I've never worn before, two socks that don't match, or I might have on mascara but no other makeup. I'm still a woman who enjoys feeling pretty, but I have to pick and choose when time is short. I might even glam out with hair and makeup, but wear sweats or vice versa! This keeps others guessing and, honestly, entertains me.

The "Empowering" Mom

Having a 10-year-old daughter means watching very carefully how I present myself, or how I portray what it means to feel good about yourself in both traditional and non-traditional ways. I'm hyper-aware of her looking to me for those messages, so whether I put myself together or whether I look the way I do right now, I want her to know it's all good and we can feel empowered no matter what's going on. No matter what she looks like on the outside, it does not define who she is on the inside. Period.

The "Body Positive" Mom

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I often hide beneath baggy clothes but the truth is, I've gotten into pretty good shape since I took on running just over four years ago. The way I eat is healthier and after taking the time for a solid run most mornings (this I do make time for), I feel strong. No matter what I wear after, or how much energy I put into looking like some of the other moms, that strength translates into my attitude for the day. Basically, I slay, like, with or without all the excess. Believe that.

The "I Have Other Things To Worry About" Mom

Being a work-from-home mother of two who trains for competitive marathons, has a partner to pay attention to, bills to pay, and meals to cook, there's always something that needs my attention. Guess what it's usually not on my radar? Maintaining a put together facade. Because, generally, I'm just not. However, I'm good with that so instead of taking one look and deciding I'm a hot mess or lazy or that I don't care about myself or whatever it is, find a mirror and do your own self-inventory first.