I am not a morning person. Against my will I peel my eyes open to the sound of a very energetic baby, then drag myself to the bathroom to hastily wipe my face. I throw on a black top and leggings and call it a day.
I never expected my routine to be like this. I grew up idolizing the 13 Going on 30 mantra, “30, flirty, and thriving.” Like Jennifer Garner in the film, I thought adulthood would be glamorous. I’d wake up early to waltz into a steamy shower, carefully apply a full face of makeup, and craft a meticulously put-together outfit built on the foundation of chic lingerie.
By my late 20s it became increasingly clear that this morning routine just wasn’t going to happen for me. A perpetual late riser, I would get ready at my own pace, slowly sipping on an espresso, checking my email, and putting on makeup when and if I wanted. Being a freelance writer afforded me the luxury of time, and I always felt well-rested.
But everything changed when I became a mother at 29. As every mom knows, your sleep is the first thing to go. Instead of my getting up when my body felt ready, the baby’s incessant cry woke me up at 4:30 a.m. Rather than making an espresso for myself, I was trying not to fall asleep while feeding the baby. Motherhood forced me to become an early riser, and my self-care habits crumbled. Suddenly it felt like my life was about taking care of everyone but myself.
As the days counted down to my 30th birthday, “flirty and thriving” felt maybe like a bit of an oversell, but prioritizing myself more felt within reach. I always believed in looking good to feel good, but with fatigue and an overpacked schedule, it’d been a while since I really put the time into how I looked.