When people say that the image of the perfect Housewife is unobtainable, their primary focus is almost always on the expectation that we look good doing it all.
According to most it is not only sexist to expect those around us to look well put together, but it is doubly so if the person you are expecting to look nice and cleanly is a woman. But to the same people it is also considered unrealistic and impossible altogether; another thing that no woman can actually achieve in their eyes.
Yet like with the image of the perfect traditional Housewife as a whole, looking good while “performing” is not an unobtainable goal. Indeed, a good portion of it hearkens back to two of the three keys of success that I spoke about in an earlier article: Personal Enjoyment, Time Management, and good Routine. Taking pride in your appearance also has many social and psychological benefits regardless of whether or not you conform to beauty standards, look good for yourself or another, are conventionally attractive, and so on and so forth.
Like with everything, though, this is not for everyone. For some it is legitimately impossible to obtain. Others simply do not wish to try and that is perfectly fine. If making aesthetics an important part of your routine is not something that you care to do or place emphasis on as a Housewife, then feel free to disregard this post. If it is something you are interested in, however, there are another 3 keys of success that I feel are important pertaining to this area.
The 10-to-15 Minute Rule
For this to work, you absolutely must know what your priorities are. Take a moment to consider your aesthetic and hygienic priorities… Are you the type of person who refuses to leave the house without at least a touch of mascara or lipstick? The woman who must be wearing Perfume before she thinks she is acceptable, regardless of the state of the rest of her? Or is a clean face and well groomed brows all you need? What are your “absolute musts” that have to be completed before you consider yourself put together, well groomed, or clean?
Once you have established your priorities, work on whittling your routine down until it takes you just 10 or 15 minutes (or less, even) to complete it in its entirety. This can be done in a number of simple ways. You could make the base of each day of the week a different routine- focusing on exfoliating you face one day, grooming your brows another, and so on- so that all of your aesthetic and hygienic priorities are maintained but are still contained within a 10 to 15 minute time frame each day alongside the other tasks you need to accomplish. Another option is to invest in higher quality products, reducing the need to perform certain actions every day.
I have found, though, that just being well organized and simplifying your routine works well enough; I know the exact location of all of my clothing and my closets are organized enough that I can put together the day’s outfit and dress myself in two minutes. My bathroom stock is also organized in such a way that finding my priority products is quick and easy- and I have even put together an “essentials” pack for myself concerning makeup items I use regularly. And while I used to go for the overly complicated hygienic routines, I have since cut a large portion of the fluffy and unnecessary from my routine. Now my Self Care Days are often reserved for the more in depth pampering that I enjoy, and my average daily routine takes only 7 minutes from start to finish.
Fitting it into your larger routine
If you actively want to take steps to looking nicer on a daily average, then whittling your routine into something that can be accomplished in only 10 to 15 minutes does nothing unless you can perform it regularly. If not, the effort you placed into perfecting it is null.
Find a place in your routine that you can set aside to accomplish it. This may be after you’ve gotten the housework complete for the day, before you leave the house for errands, or even after you have had your morning coffee. In my own experience, the mornings work best for me. It does not matter where you put it in your routine, though, so long as it is accomplished at least on most days. Do not just plop it anywhere into your routine, however. Assimilate it seamlessly into your routine in a logical, flowing manner that is easy to remember and complete.
For instance, before integrating my beauty routine, my standard routine was to wake up, fold down the covers of the bed, make myself a cup of coffee, and veg out in front of the computer for a few hours. Integrating my beauty routine with my normal morning routine, however, now means that I will wake up and lay my clothes out on the bed (a minute) before making my way to the bathroom. On my way there I will turn the computer on for the day (a single button push) and start myself a cup of Coffee or Tea (another single button push). As it brews I perform the bathroom portion of my routine (5 minutes for hair, makeup, and moisturizing). When finished, I will snag my cup on the way back to the bedroom (a quick swipe), get dressed (another minute), and then turn down the bed covers.
It is seamless, effective, and I feel great about accomplishing a few basic tasks in the process. Better yet, it gets performed every day because it is an active part of a morning routine that I was already performing; it has become a habit.
Make it a habit
Though closely related to adding it to your routine, making it a habit is also important. Simply adding it to your routine does nothing if you are skipping it every other day- ergo, if you enjoy it and want to regularly perform it, it must also become a habit that you complete regularly.
The easiest way to do this is to simply not skimp on it- especially not at first; even if you feel that you emotionally unmotivated to perform it, it is important to force yourself to do so if, overall, it is genuinely what you want to do.
Often times, even, I have actually found that forcing myself to perform the aesthetic portion of my routine even when I feel badly helps to lift my mood and give me the emotional gumption I need to complete the rest of my daily tasks. A lot really can be said about the psychological good that looking put together can do for your motivation and confidence.
Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.
– Coco Chanel
More than these, though, is the importance of staying healthy. Adequately hydrating yourself, eating well, exercising regularly, and properly learning to take care of your body on the overall biological, aesthetic, and other levels is the core component to looking (and feeling) great in may ways. These, however, are not just limited to a 10 to 15 minute daily routine, but are lifestyle changes that must be considered and maintained for optimal health- which also happen to do wonders for your appearance as an enjoyable byproduct.
On another note, Jen but never Jenn has become a guilty pleasure of mine. There is an interesting series on her blog where the author attempted (temporarily) to live legitimately according to 1950’s lifestyle advice in 2010. The author writes candidly and humorously about her experiences- and you can view her articles concerning beauty and appearance (and her experiences with them) here and here.