Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Frumpy Franny: Just Another Stereotype About SAHMs

I hear a lot of random, but sometimes merited, stereotypes in regards to stay at home moms (SAHMs). The most common one that I hear is that we don't do anything all day. I'm not even going to attempt to defend that one because any stay at home mom reading this knows just as well as I do that we never stop working and our days are FILLED with work. Another stereotype that I often hear about is how frumpy stay at home moms are or become. We wear our husbands clothes (which we never change out of). We almost never shower. Our hair constantly looks like we climbed out of a cave thousands of years ago. Make up? What's that? Truth is, stereotypes don't just happen. Someone or something acted or presented themselves in a fashion to start the stereotype. So, truth also is, some SAHM DO fit this stereotype. I am not (always) one of them.

Yeah, there are days that I don't shower. Prebaby, I showered every day and NEVER left the house dirty or with out my hair and make up done. NEVER. Used to drive my husband nuts. Even after I had my first baby. I hated not being able to take a shower or look cute when going out in public. However, after the second child, I realized, that's not always practical or it just downright isn't going to happen. I'm now a mother of three and I still manage to look presentable outside AND inside the home. Just because I stay at home with my children and sometimes don't leave the house for days, doesn't mean that I look like a bum. I've found that looking good helps me feel good and when I feel good, I produce better. I get more work done. My children see me put together and it promotes a healthy image.

I put together a few suggestions and tips to help beat the stereotypes and keep Frumpy Franny at bay:

NYC In a New York Minute Color

Sally Hansen Insta Dry Color
Nails: Probably the EASIEST thing to take care of. Through the grapevine of other SAHMs, I discovered some of the most wonderful "drug store" nail polish out there. There's two kinds that I like best and they're also great for painting my three year old daughters nails with since kids rarely sit still long enough to let the polish dry. These two brands are quick dry and come in every color you can imagine. I can't remember how much the Sally Hansen ones are but the NYC ones are about $1.89 at the Walmart down the street from me. After the kids go to bed, while you're watching TV or settling down to read a book, quickly put this on, let it dry and go about your merry way. Super easy. Not only does having your nails painted make you feel "prettier" but when people see it, if it isn't all chipped, you look more put together.

Skin: If you're out in public and you haven't showered, or if you know that you've gotta go out the next day and you don't have time to take a quick shower, put one of these masks on while you're running around getting every one ready. The peel off ones are great for busy mornings. It'll help dry up the oils on your skin and take away some of that "yucky" feeling. They're also less than $2 at Walmart. I love putting them on at night while I'm reading or something.

Hair: I've had a lot of people ask me how I'm able to get up and get my hair done (it's long and curly but I am able to blow dry and straighten it) with three little kids. Seriously, I get up about an hour and a half before them, shower, put on my make up, put product in my damp hair, get the kids up, feed them and then while they're sitting at the table eating, I'm in the bathroom right there, blow drying my nearly completely air dried hair. I've found different styling products that help the process along though. I've found though that even if I REALLY am rushed and absolutely do NOT have the time to dry and straighten, a side bun or a braid looks cuter and cleaner than a fuzzy pony tail. Both are quick and easy. Even if you know you're going to be home all day but don't want to fall into the Frumpy Franny stereotype, put your hair in a bun. It's not hard. It doesn't take a long time to do. It keeps your hair out of your face and looks cute. Also, I haven't tried them yet, but I've heard WONDERFUL things about those dry shampoos, the sprays, that help your hair look like you didn't not wash it. Also helps it not be so limp and greasy.

Make up: Even if I know I'm going to be home all day, I still try to put on a little make up. You NEVER
know who may knock on the door. If you don't have a ton of time, I suggest a little blush and a couple swipes of mascara. Quick, easy and gives an "awake" look. If you have a little more time, put some eye shadow on or even a translucent powder. I tend to stick with natural colors anyway but it's the best suggestion. Nothing difficult or over the top. Many women say it takes a long time to put on make up so they just skip it. Perhaps I've been wearing it so long that it doesn't take me a long time. It never takes me more than 10 minutes (if even close to that) to put my make up on. Really.

Always Get Dressed: Like I said, you never know who or when some one will knock on the door. You never know when you'll need to go out in public. Also, being dressed suggests that you're not too lazy to put some clean clothes on. How you carry yourself will speak volumes to your children. How you present yourself will set a standard for them. Personally, I'd prefer it to be a good standard for my kids instead of a negative one. Getting dressed really isn't that tough either. Should take less than 2 minutes.

Coffee: If you're like me, it's hard to jump start your day with out a cup or two of Joe. I find though that when it's ready for me to pour when I first come downstairs, I'm happier and ready to get to work. Setting the "delay brew" setting (if you have one) helps big time. Just prep it the night before while you're getting lunch ready or cleaning up or turning the lights out for the night.

Vitamins: Seriously, your mood and health will be a huge factor in determining your actions. As a woman and as a mom, it's our responsibility to take care of our bodies. I'm not downplaying how great of a husband and dad my man is but when I'm down and out, everything is more difficult. Set your morning vitamins next to your coffee pot in the morning. My dad used to set the table the night before and lay out every ones vitamins in their spot on the table. I KNOW when I've forgotten to take my vitamins. I can feel it in my body.

Grow: I know that SAHMs are busy. Constantly. But so are working mothers. And they still find the time for hobbies or books or clubs. Why can't SAHMs? I love to read. I started a vegetable garden. I blog. I "craft". As weird as it may sound, since "frumpy" is usually a visual word, part of beating the frumpiness is allowing yourself to grow as an individual. "Mom" is not the only thing we're meant to do. It's a huge thing. probably the most important roll we'll ever have. But it's not the only one.

Many women say it takes too long to do certain things like make up or hair but really, the little things don't take that much time at all. Set a schedule, make the time, take the time, feel better, produce better. Don't let a stereotype determine who you are or how you do what you do. Stay At Home Mom does NOT mean you have to be a Frumpy Franny. Shoot. If anything, it could mean you get to be the Hot Momma!


  1. I've always thought I was my responsibility to look at least a little put together, since as a SAHM I'm representing all of us! Great tips! Make up and getting dressed in real clothes is a must for me too, it makes me feel human, which is always good, especially on days where I think my mind has been eaten by the little aliens I'm raising!! Lol! Thanks again for a great post!

  2. Thanks for the loving reminder to SAHMs out there. I dream of becoming a SAHM one day, so I can spend more time with my daughter.

    Yes, we mothers should not neglect ourselves. We always tend to put ourselves at the bottom of our priorities list. We do so much for others that we forget ourselves.

  3. Love this! Every day your writing lights up my life, Abby. I've been both the sahm and the working mom. This sahm thing is the hardest job I've ever had, but it's also the most rewarding. It's funny though. When we lived in CA I never would have left the house without makeup on, unless it was to go to the gym. I took a shower every day and fixed my hair and put on makeup. Then we moved to this small town clear across country and I find myself wearing sweats more often, lots of ponytails, many days without makeup, etc... I think it's the more relaxed lifestyle. People here don't care what I look like. They aren't in competition with me. They love me for me. I do see a big difference in my self esteem and productivity when I shower and get dolled up early in the morning before everyone wakes up.

    Thanks for this awesome post!

  4. A little disclaimer here: I look frumpy most of the time. I am a mom and an artist, so sometimes I don't leave the house/studio and when I do, I put on a hat. I do try to at least wash my fasce and put on mascara and lipgloss. Mascara does make everyone look more awake.

    Hair tips: My daughter has kinky curly hair and while mine is slightly wavy, I've learned a TON from the African American community about caring for hair, whether straight or curly. First of all, I'd like to encourage you to embrace your curls. You'll be sending the message that curls are beautiful and you have a gift in them. I love DevaConcepts, WEN, or just using conditioner to wash (herbal essences hello hydration is nice.) Moisture, moisture, moisture. It's also relaxing to take a bath or shower at night and either braid or do two twists on the side of your head. In the morning, take them out and you have smooth waves. And these two styles protect your hair from breakage while you sleep.

  5. Oh, darling, you'd go to town on my post--A Bad Case of Mom Hair! I'm one of those yoga pants-wearing, sweatshirt donning sahm's. You make a good point when you say that looking put-together sets a great example for our children. And I know that the day is coming when I will pick up one of my children from school and they will be embarrassed to be seen with me unless I look decent. LOL

    After all, you know the situation is bad when you put on a tee shirt and jeans for a change and your husband says, "Wow, you look nice!" *sigh*

    Yeah, I definitely need to change my game a little bit. Thanks for the inspiring post! Glad I saw it on voiceBoks! Following you now!

    Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood


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