The other day, I referenced a post I had written back in September 2010, when my son was just six months old, titled “The Road to Schlumpadinkaville?” In that post, I was feeling that I had gotten into a serious beauty slump as a new stay-at-home-mom. Everyday, I was putting my hair up wet, wearing no makeup, and my uniform was a pair of khaki capri pants and a tank top. Jewelry was out of the question, even my wedding ring! Even if you’re not a SAHM, you might be able to relate to “letting yourself go” and you want to get your spark back. When you work outside the home, it sort of forces you to get ready in the morning, but I remember many a workday where I got by with the bare minimum and didn’t feel all that great about myself.
On the recent blog post, Autumn left a comment that has stuck with me where she asked,
I’ll take that as a compliment Autumn, and although I know I’m not perfect, I have some tips to share with you for how I changed my ways (#recoveringSchlumpadinka) and got out of Schlumpadinkaville and now only visit occasionally! 😉 And by the way, thank you Autumn for your comment and inspiring this post!
____________________________________________________________________5 TIPS FOR GETTING OUT OF SCHLUMPADINKAVILLE
1) DECIDE YOU ARE WORTH IT
For some, deciding you are worth putting the extra time in to care for yourself comes after you’ve taken some of the other steps below. For me, I was mostly just tired of looking like crap everyday and wanted to feel better about myself. I know on the days I take the extra time (and it’s not that much more), I definitely feel more confident and ready to face the day.Especially as a mom, there’s many a morning where it crosses my mind that I could really use the extra 40 minutes it would take me to do my hair and makeup to: a) sleep, b) clean up the kitchen, c) start the laundry, d) work on my blog, e) run the mile-long list of errands that need to be done. There could always be something else that needs to be done. But, if you always put everyone and everything first, you are always last on your list. My Grandma always wisely advised me, “take care of you” and her words ring in my ears often.
I also feel like it’s more polite (and I don’t know if that’s exactly the right word) to look decent when I pick my son up from school and when my husband comes home from work. I actually feel embarrassed when my hubby gets home and I’m looking all schlubby. He would never complain, and maybe it’s my own issues, but I’m sure he does appreciate coming home to a nice looking woman (and he’d really like to smell food cooking on the stove) . . . but that’s another blog post!
I may have taken this bit of advice to the extreme by competing in two bikini contests in the last two years, but you don’t have to be “bikini ready” to notice the difference in both your health and physical appearance when you start working out. Do I want to go workout 4-5 days a week? Hell, no! Do I have the time? Not really. Do I make the time? Yes, because you better believe I feel 10x better when I do.
After you make exercise a priority on a consistent basis for even two weeks, you start to feel powerful and strong and you start to have more energy for life. Lots of times when I feel crunched for time, I just put on my running shoes and iPod and head out the door for a 30 minute jog. Of course it’s harder to make time when you work full-time, but it can be done. The best time might be before work (rise & shine!) or right after dinner, before getting the kids down to bed.
Looking back, my fitness posts for 2015 were among the most popular on my blog, so I know wanting to be healthy and in-shape resonates with you. It sounds corny, but “just do it!”
Hand in hand with exercising is eating better and I know that when I work out, my diet is much easier to clean up. It just makes sense that you don’t want to spend all that time, energy and effort to exercise just to blow it on bad food. The days I workout are always the days I eat the healthiest.
I’m still exercising (albeit at a much lower intensity at 30 weeks pregnant) and it’s helped this pregnancy feel much better!
3) BUILD A WARDROBE WITH A FEW PIECES THAT FIT AND LOOK GREAT ON YOU
You don’t need to go invest a lot of money on new clothes, but you would feel 100 times better with a few things that a) fit and b) look great on you. Many of us are wearing things that are too big or just unflattering to our figure.I feel like this could be a whole post on it’s own, so I’ll expand on this in the future, but investing in just a few basic pieces that you can build a flattering wardrobe around and mix and match will take you far and last a long time.
For me, my work wardrobe was pretty good, but my casual clothes were a mess and I didn’t really have anything cute or very flattering for a new mom, which likely contributed to my Schlumpadinkaville dilemma. You might be in the opposite boat and need more work options, so I’ll be doing a post on that soon. I know as a working woman how challenging it can be to come up with exciting outfits on repeat, so I’ll put together some of what worked for me back then soon.
For now, the point is just to go through your closet and figure out what fits and what’s flattering and start there. For example, find a pair of jeans that you look and feel good in, then just change out your look by adding different tops, sweaters, shoes/boots/booties, and accessories.
If you prefer a tall boot, this pair is awesome (and fit true to size). They have a 3 1/4 inch heel, not too chunky, and I wore them comfortably for several hours while running errands. Or try these if you like a lower heel.
I also swear by a couple of great, chic tee shirts that are casual and easy to wear, but don’t look frumpy. You can dress them up with accessories or layer them under a jacket, cardigan or sweater.
One of my favorite tees is by Halogen and I don’t see the exact one currently available, but it looks like they have a new jersey v-neck tee that is silky soft and flattering (and comes in several colors). Also in regular and petite.
Another good basic tee is by Caslon and it’s also less expensive at $25, also in lots of colors (love the striped one!) and regular and petite.
4) FIND A HAIR STYLE/COLOR THAT FLATTERS YOUR FACE AND FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE
I used to have a terrible cut/color that looked awful on me. I grew up blonde as a kid, but as I got older, my hair got darker. I hated having to go get my roots done every 6 weeks (my hair grows fast), so I tried going dark brunette thinking that I’d be done with the constant trips to the hairdresser. Wrong! The brunette faded rather quickly and I realized I’d have to continue to get it darkened until all the blond grew out, making for just as much maintenance.
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For a long time, I had a weird “in between” brown/blond color until I finally realized that, although it’s a commitment, blond looks best on me. I get a combo of highlights and lowlights to keep it from looking too solid blonde – I like the dimension of blending the colors and have gone to the same colorist for most of my adult life, my good friend Renee.
I also used to have super long hair that I dreaded fixing most days, especially in the dog days of summer in Houston when it was so hot. A couple years ago, I chopped it to about shoulder length and haven’t looked back. It’s so much easier to fix now and I think it flatters my petite frame much better. Many of you have asked for a hair curling tutorial and so I’ll do one for you soon.
5) USE MAKEUP TO PLAY UP YOUR GORGEOUS FEATURESA makeup-free face is fine and I’m not saying you need to get all dolled up to workout (I usually workout with no makeup, maybe just mascara), but makeup can really enhance your features and take you from schlumpadinkaville to hot mama in about 10-15 minutes.
I used to never wear blush (I guess I didn’t think it was necessary), but now I see that it adds a youthfulness to your face and takes away that flat look. The NARS Hot Sand and Orgasm blush and bronzer is a good one for achieving that fresh look. It’s not essential, but a sweep of “the multiple stick” right at the top of your cheekbones will help reflect the light and give your face a nice shimmer. You can use this one on your eyes, lips and body too.
It’s good to break out of your lip color rut too. It wasn’t until my friend Audrey strongly suggested I try a red lip that I got out of my pale pink lipstick stage. Now I love adding a bolder lip color. It really wakes up your face and is flattering! I love a matte lipstick for the long-lasting wear but if it’s too matte and I want some shine, I’ll add a dab of lipgloss to the top center and bottom lips.
6) HAVE FUN! & DON’T PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF TO BE PERFECT
Just be the best version of you that you can be! I can remember being out with a single guy friend years ago and asking him what type of woman he was attracted to. His response stuck with me over the years. He said he didn’t necessarily have a type and he wasn’t always attracted to the prettiest girl in the room or the most fit, but rather, he always appreciated a woman that he could tell was making the most of what she’d been given and who had put in the effort to be her best self. He remarked that he liked it when he could tell a women took care of herself because it said something about how she’d like to be treated and would probably treat others.
A happy woman is a beautiful woman! Here’s to all of you beautiful ladies and to leaving Schlumpadinkaville behind! 😉
Love this! So helpful for us stay at home mamas. Would you consider doing a makeup tutorial showing us how you do your everyday look? I'd especially love to see how you do the contouring. It looks so natural and flattering on you
Thanks so much! I am planning a hair tutorial, so I think a makeup post would go well with that. Thanks for letting me know you'd be interested in seeing that.
I'm a bit humbled that my comment inspired a whole blog post 🙂 Thank you. This is a great post.
Yes! After I responded to your comment initially, I kept thinking there's more I could answer to it, and since it wasn't a short answer, I made it a whole post. I was going to tell you to check it out, so I'm glad you saw it! 🙂
Just FYI – both pairs of the Sole Society Boots you have featured here are now on sale on the actual Sole Society page.
Thanks Stephanie for letting us know!!
Megan – this blog is really something to be proud of. You are spreading a wonderful optimism to others through your writing talents, and that is a blessing. As a fellow mom and attorney, I admire what you have created here! All the best!
Thank you Laura! You know what it's like to be both mom and lawyer and how hard it can be juggling both. Sometimes I still miss it, and I actually finally officially went on inactive status this year. I had been keeping up with my CLE all along!
These are all great tips! I'm not a mom, but I am a stay at home wife (and college student!) and I find that when I'm home on the weekends, breaks, and in the week on days when I don't have class I tend to let myself go as well. This semester is my very last of college (student teaching) so I'll have to be up every morning to get ready. But I think working out too will make me feel better about myself, so I'm going to try to do that 2-3 days a week 🙂
The Southern Stylista
For sure, working out will make a huge difference. I can already tell how sluggish I've felt the last week with all the food and not working out as regularly. I'm ready to get back to it! Good luck with your last semester!
I am so much more productive and happy at home when I do put in an effort. So very true. I am in my first trimester and not feeling well at all and my skin is going crazy, but this is a nice reminder to take care of oneself as best we can!
My skin was terrible (even worse with my first pregnancy), but it was my back that was so broken out then. This time, it was like a rash on my forehead, but it's gotten so much better in the 3rd trimester. I had a hard time sticking to a clean diet my first trimester too and didn't work out that much, but I kept up as much as I could and it has helped me so much in the long run. I bet when you get to 12 weeks, you'll feel magically better! Sending good energy your way!
LOVE this post! Thank you for the tips! And I can't wait for the outfit ideas posts – especially one on work wardrobe! Happy new year!
I can't believe I haven't focused on workwear as much lately because I so remember those days! It's kinda crazy how when you work full time, you end up dreading getting dressed up for work everyday, then when you're home, you wish you had something to dress up for! Or a reason to get to wear heels! I'm keeping you in mind for my future work wardrobe post. 😉
I so needed this post today. Such great ideas for all women. It is so easy to use excuses to not dress up but I always feel 100% better when I spend a little time on myself.
Thanks Ashley, I agree. We don't have to do it ALL the time, but as much as we can will make us feel better about ourselves.
Such a great post Megan! It is super easy to get into a rut, especially after having kids. I have two boys, my youngest is 18 months and I still feel like I am running around crazy just to attempt to look professional and get to work on time. It hard to find the time in our crazy schedule, but I really need to!
I feel like I should have also mentioned in the post that we also need to be gentle with ourselves so if you do have little ones or babies and are struggling just to make it through the day, let alone trying to look good, we don't beat ourselves up. I get it! I can imagine in a few months I'll be doing good to get a shower alone- it's been 6 years since I've had a baby to take care of and I've gotten 'spoiled' with the freedom an only, pretty self-sufficient child allows.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. 🙂
I remember that post from way back when! LOL I have always been one to at least shower, dry my hair (I have that kind of baby fine, somewhat straight, has to be washed/styled or it looks awful kinda hair) and apply a least a touch of makeup (now I know where my oldest gets it from). I probably said the same thing back then…if I do at least those few things, even if I throw on sweats I feel put together. And, let's face it…todays sweats are way more stylish than those of the 90's when I had my two girls. I too felt like I owed it to my sweet hubby, who worked so hard for me to be able to stay home, to at least make an effort to 1)look put together and 2)keep our home somewhat together. I do struggle with putting outfits together now as I approach my late 40s…I don't want to look nor dress like my mother, but I don't think it appropriate to dress like my 20 something daughter's either regardless of how fit one may be. Low cut, skin tight, too short. It is hard sometimes to find things in between. Would love to see a makeup tutorial, and the hair one as well. I just recently started curling mine now that it is a bit longer again. Tired of the straight look. I recently stumbled upon It Cosmetics and LOVE them!! Great coverage without piling it on.
Hi Megan – have you started thinking about your post pregnancy style? I'm due with my second child at the end of March and am trying to find the perfect diaper bag. I want something stylish, preferably that doesn't look like a diaper bag, that will keep me organized and would possibly work as a laptop bag after I return to work. I really like the Charlie Diaper Bag by Timi and Leslie, but have seen mixed reviews. I thought you might be in a similar boat and wondered if you had any recommendations. Thanks!
I really needed this post today and am teary as I write this. I had foot surgery December 2nd and am in a boot. My weight has jumped with lack of activity and needing to eat for medication. I have been feeling frumpy and in a rut…with all my blessings around me. I got dressed, put on make up and rolled today!
Megan I LOVED LOVED this post! I stopped exercising around Halloween because life/kids/blog, etc. was just keeping me too busy. The holidays have been madness and because I haven't been exercising my eating has been awful. I SO needed a kick in the pants to get back into my exercise routine! "Take care of you" is the best advice for women everywhere. Hard to always do, but so worth it. Thanks for such an uplifting and motivating post! Starting tomorrow. 🙂 xo
Oh My Gosh…….I am in sclumpadinkaville! It's 9.50am here in the UK my hard working husband has gone out this morning to play golf, I am wasting time lying in bed, hair a mess, legs & underarms with hair like a bear, feeling like ten tonne tessie (this is a Scottish saying which basically means I feel fat) having over eaten and under exercised for the last however many months comfort eating actually. This blog post was just what I needed. I've been letting myself go & I don't like how I look or feel. I need to get a grip….especially of my wardrobe which has gone from colourful to drab and the worst thing is I really suit colour, dark colours just make me look washed out. I am getting out of schlumpadinkville and I'm off to sort out my wardrobe & start to take care of myself again. Thank you Megan for this post it really has struck a cord…..one that was much needed. I wish you a healthy and happy new year!
This was a great post. I still remember that post from 2010. I still struggle with this from time to time because I really don't have any free time (kid doesn't go to school) and my son is an invalid and can't care or move himself. There is always something to do and it's hard to wear nice clothes when I'm changing diapers,cooking or moving him around and it's not like I have to leave the house most days so that can be especially tough to put on full makeup and hair to change diapers, lol. I do need to do it for myself though so recently, I ordered some new tops, got some new makeup and some perfume just to make myself feel better. I'm usually pretty good about styling my hair since I like to have great hair. I also like what you said about looking nice to pick your son up from school and when your husband comes home. I'm not sure if polite is the right word but in an odd way it seems to fit very well. Good post.
One of my resolutions this year is self care so this was a great post for me and perfect timing. My kiddo is almost 2 and man have I let myself go.
This is a great post and I do try to get dressed and do full make up and hair at least 2 days a week! Ha! I have a newborn and 4 and 5 year old and I find that I have two options; exercise or get dressed (hair and make up). I always choose the gym. 🙂 Maybe you could do a day in the life post to help me figure out how to hit the gym and get showered and dressed in one day! I would love for my husband to see me looking put together more often, but by the time he gets home (7ish) I have washed my face and put my jamies on already! Bathtime and bedtime is just more comfortable in stretchy pants. I'd like to know how you find time to do it. I have no motivation when my only outing is the grocery store, but I know it would make me feel better!
Happy New Year to you and your Family ! Thanks for being honest and sharing with us . I have been in schlumpadinkville after my job of 20 years downsized, my husband said to me recently that I've stopped taking care of myself and is only taking care of the Kids, (translation : your letting yourself go and I had to check myself, so thanks for this post it was right on time. I will take your grandmother's advise and start taking care of me in 2016.
Love this post Megan. Such wonderful adviced. I think,while it's often so difficult, we need to take time for ourselves and feeling good translates into so many other areas. Love you, girl. xo
Such a great post, I feel like I am good with the clothes part and make sure I'm not wearing yoga pants every day, but I do need to step up my hair and makeup game. It is just so easy to have a 5 minute beauty routine (yes, I can do a quick blow dry and swipe on some makeup in less than 5… sometimes less if I do my makeup at the redlights while I'm driving to work… did I just admit to that out loud?). Anyways, I second the request for a hair curling tutorial and a makeup tutorial, please!!!
Hi Megan! Any suggestions on workout wear for pregnant ladies?
Man! Don't even get me started! I've yet to really find anything I love. I'm wearing larger non-maternity clothes to the gym, but I guess I do like my capri pants and a couple tanks I found at Destination Maternity. I'm going to have to dig deeper and maybe do a future post on that. I wish my fave workout brands like Zella had a maternity line!
LOVED this post! I remember when you wrote the first one! Such great advice and good reminders and it all makes such a huge difference in the way we feel and our outlook on the day. I love your grandma's advice on taking care of yourself. Sometimes when I feel guilty for taking time to recharge, the airline advice of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first and then helping others around you rings in my ears 🙂 xo
Wow! This is such a great post Megan. I have a problem though. I have time to shop but I just don't like it. Too many options and I get overwhelmed. Do you have any advice or tips for this?! Do you like shopping?
I love the bold red matte lipstick which looks to be NARS. What shade do you wear as my hair and coloring is similar to yours?
Hi Patti! I can't remember now which shade it was, but here is a post with a few of my go-to reds: https://www.honeywerehome.com/2014/12/weekend-steals-deals.html
I don't have kids yet (and should have all this in order haha…) but I found this post really inspiring! I work a lot of irregular hours and it's so easy not to care about your appearance and then go all day wondering why you feel so gloomy. Ofc looks is not everything but I know I always feel better when I put on a pair of jeans and a cute (but comfy) top even if I'm just home all day! 🙂
I agree with you! With my 5 month old, I'm finding some days are no makeup and hair up, but I always feel better when spend a little time getting spiffied up for the day! It's hard even without kids!
I just stumbled onto this post and I'm so glad that I did! Now that you have a 1 year old, how do you schedule in getting ready/working out, etc? I have a 1 and a 2 year old and someone is constantly pulling on my leg whenever they're awake and once I put them down for naps I make a beeline for the couch because I need a break! Any tips you have for making all the things happen would be so appreciated!
Hi Katherine! This post should come with a warning label that reads: if you have a little baby at home, just give yourself grace to get through the day! It's so much harder to make time to workout with a baby at home. For the first 6 months of Jordan's life, I struggled with all of this, but I did start going for walks and runs during the day because I needed to for my sanity. Now, I have help with my mom, so that is a lifesaver. If you can wake up before the kids and get an at-home workout in and get ready before them, that's awesome. I found if I waited until the end of the day when they went to bed, I was too tired to make myself do it.