Ok, so I’ll admit, I’m not exactly a fashion and beauty expert. My moisturiser is probably older than my son. I buy hair conditioner from Poundland. The last time I shaved my legs was er, well I don’t know, but let’s just say my Halloween werewolf costume was top half only.
But even I’ve noticed that since becoming a mother, there’s been a big difference in my beauty routine – namely, I haven’t got one. I usually have one nanosecond of time to complete it, and it usually goes like this - glance in the mirror, yell ‘ARRRRGH!’, put on a hat and leave the house. But I have learned that there are some essential items no mum should ever be without. Allow me to share them with you, and feel free to suggest your own…
A large bag full of crap
Ah, the bag. You see, when you have a child, God gives you a bag. If you’re lucky, it will be a Louis Vuitton, or if you’re less lucky, a Cath Kidston. If you’re REALLY unlucky it will be a Lidl carrier bag. In this Mary Poppins style sack, you will carry everything your child needs – wodges of nappies, bottles, water, squeaky toys, snacks, wipes, a changing mat, and you will be saddled with it until they’re about 4. On the bottom will be a thick layer of breadstick powder, an ancient apple core and a baby wipe with something brown on it that you’d rather not think about. Whatever you do, DON’T FORGET THE BAG.
There is no better all purpose beauty product than Sudocrem. It’s not just ideal for chapped baby bums and miniscule tiny imaginary child injuries. You can also stick it on your spots or insect bites, weird rashes, grazes, sunburn and paper cuts. My friend, who was having a particularly troublesome outbreak of hormonal acne, once answered the door with a full beard of the stuff. Sexy Santa! Hell, you could probably even spread it on your toast if you were feeling adventurous.
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she has to bite the bullet and buy herself some unflattering practical rainwear. And this time comes when you have a baby and you have to push a pram all day. Unfortunately science still refuses to provide us with an effective pram-attached Mumbrella. And for some reason it also can’t give us proper waterproof clothing that doesn’t either make you look like a comedy fishmonger, a toddler or a menopausal Scout leader in the Lake District.
Forget such girly fripperies as hand cream and manicures and all that. What you really need is some industrial strength hand blaster to kill all those disgusting germs you’ve picked up from the floor of Mr Monkey’s Mega Soft Play. Apply liberally, especially after doing an emergency nappy change on the back seat of the bus. In fact, offer it to everybody else, too.
I love wearing a bit of lipstick, but when you’ve got a small child who wants hugs and kisses, covering them with Rimmel fire engine red will make them look like they’ve been to Junior Fight Club. To avoid suspicious looks from concerned members of the public, switch to Vaseline. It gives your lips a nice sheen, and keeps social services at bay. You can also use it on your split ends, polish your shoes with it and apparently a dab of it on your eyelashes makes them grow longer. Hurray for bog standard petroleum jelly!
A myriad of stains
If you ever wonder whether you’re fit to be a mother, look down at your cardigan. There you will see a complex tapestry of stains. Every stain makes you who you are. Take strength from these stains - they are your badges of honour and you will be probably covered with them for years.
A hat to cover all sins
Unless you’re a Hollywood housewife with a stylist on hand to give you a daily blow dry, your hair is probably going to look like Edward Scissorhands’ three days out of five. So what you need is a HAT. Simple! Your 12 inch roots will be covered, and nobody will know your head is like an alpaca’s arse. Ok, so it’s not very practical in the summer, but if anyone asks just say that you’re Rastafarian.
It gives you a pink glow, a relaxed demeanour and eyes as sparkling as the finest Cava. In fact, it’s the best beauty product there is, so you should hotfoot it down to the ‘salon’ (offy) right now and pamper yourself with a SPAR treatment (2 bottles of Chardonnay for a tenner). After all, after a glamorous day of pushing a buggy in a crap mac with your face covered in Sudocrem, you deserve it.