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Kick It Up a Notch

Maybe you’ve lost your confidence. Or you feel you never really developed your own look.
Years of raising children and marriage can leave women staring at a stranger’s face in the mirror. For some, their hair has gotten grayer. For others, their clothes are older than their kids.

No matter the reason, any woman can rediscover herself and have some fun along the way. In honor of Mother’s Day (May 13), spend a little time thinking about yourself for a change.

1. Why not be hot?
Sometimes a woman feels self-conscious about her wish to enhance her looks. But a mom makeover doesn’t mean becoming a supermodel or a celebrity look-alike. Think of it as respecting yourself by putting your best foot forward.

And there are often good reasons for improving your image, such as re-entering the job market or taking on a leadership role in a community fund-raiser. Accept that, whatever your reason, it’s important to feel good about yourself inside and out.

2. Decide what “hot” means—to you.
“I knew I wanted to update my look and reclaim the woman I was pre-kids, but I never realized how badly I wanted to until I started making some changes,” says Vicky Koza, a Baldwinsville mother of three girls. Remember, beauty is subjective. Each of us is unique and deserves to look and feel good regardless of dress size, hair texture or facial features.

3. Get some help. Ask a trusted friend for her frank opinion—not the opinion she thinks you want to hear—about your style and image. If you say, “I want your honest advice about my hair, and I can take the truth,” it will get you insight into how you’re perceived and where to begin your makeover. “My close friend and I made a pact to always tell each other how we really look when trying on new clothes,” says Koza.

4. Take stock. Go over your clothes, lifestyle and appearance to determine what you’re thrilled with and what you’d like to alter. Donate the clothes in your closet that are older than your preschooler and the shoes you know you should never wear again so you don’t slip back into those (bad) fashion habits.

5. Comb, color and twist. “I found that dying my hair and covering the gray made me look younger and feel better about myself,” says Lauren Honig of Jamesville. Are you afraid of choosing a new color? Then get a haircut that fits your lifestyle as well as your face. Not sure how you’ll look with shorter hair? Try a new at-home hairstyle. Tie your hair up in a colorful new clip or pin it back with beaded pins. Flip through hair magazines for styles to experiment with and try out at the grocery store or soccer game. Make sure to note the styles that get the best responses.

6. A fitting foundation.
If you want to feel sexy, start with the first items you put on in the morning. Resolve to toss out all those ill-fitting undergarments whose elastic wore out months ago and replace them with comfortable but attractive lingerie that fits properly. Whether running a vacuum, heading to the kids’ to dance class, or dashing to a staff meeting, wearing delicates that feel good will remind you that you’re a woman as well as a mom. 

7. Fix up fast. Develop a morning makeup routine that doesn’t take more than five minutes. If you can’t spare even five minutes, at least apply a moisturizer with SPF, lip gloss and mascara. At night, don’t forget to remove not only your makeup but the germs and grime of the day. Wash your face every night before bed to prevent breakouts, and brush and floss your teeth to keep your smile brilliant.

8. Dress the part.
Pull on a pair of great-fitting jeans, a slim T-shirt and stylish flats instead of sweats, baggy shirt and tennis shoes. If you’re always in blue denim, switch to khakis once or twice a week to add variety and style to your daily wardrobe. Don’t forget to accessorize. Wear earrings to draw attention to your face. Add the latest belt, shoes or handbag for a jolt of fashion, and wear sunglasses to hide dark circles.

9. Nighttime is the right time.
Invest in sexy jammies. You don’t have to wear a silk teddy every night, but at least give the flannel nightgown some time off and occasionally try for a sleeker bedtime look. Remember that flirty pajamas can set the stage for actual flirting.

10. Put a fresh face forward. Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Few things are more attractive than a great smile and an air of confidence.

© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York