The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Laura Wifler and I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here with me. Today we are talking about a really fun topic. We’re talking about momiforms. What we wear, does it matter? How we do our hair, our makeup, those kind of things. Are they important? How do they impact us in our daily lives, and what does the gospel have to say about that?
Emily: I’m super excited about this topic.
Laura: Yes, [laughter] and Emily, can you tell us why?
Emily: I don’t know. I think it’s just something that I’ve wrestled with and struggled with. I am totally a girly girl: I love makeup, I love hair, I love cute clothes and I think it’s just something that I’ve had to think about: "What is the eternal value of this? Or how does this appropriately fit into my life as a godly woman, and what are the things that are not adding value?"
Laura: Emily is super good at hair and makeup. She did my hair and makeup for my wedding, and I can’t tell you how many weddings or just special events that if I am in Iowa and around Emily, I am like, “Let’s reserve an extra hour so that she can do my hair and makeup.” I don’t think it’s fun. I am at the opposite end of the spectrum as Emily, but I do enjoy having Emily do everything for me. I have yet to know how to apply eye shadow. I don’t think I even own eye shadow so [chuckles].
Emily: Laura and I represent different perspectives on this, which sometimes we come into a show or a topic and we’re really aligned. I think we align at the heart and the values-
Laura: -where it’s important.
Emily: Yes, but our routines are really different. Maybe you can identify with one of us or the other. I’m just going to share my getting ready routine really quick. To me, getting ready would include-
Laura: She has a big grin on her face you guys, a huge grin. I don’t smile when I talk about makeup. [laughter]
Emily: [laughter] When I first told Laura that I don’t get ready every day, she thought I meant I was in my pajamas all day and what I meant is I didn’t get my curling iron out!
Laura: For me, if I didn’t get ready for the day, that would be like level zero. For me to not get ready for the day would be like negative five. Pajamas, staying in it, and stuff like that.
Emily: We felt it was important to define for you guys what we’re talking about. For me, my base-base level routine is wake up, brush teeth, wash face, throw hair in a top knot or a cute pony. Then I’d wear a sweatshirt, not a real sweatshirt, kind of a cute sweatshirt and jeans, but I may not do that until after the kids eat breakfast. I would probably pop back to our room to do that - on a day when I’m rushed or I slept in to the last minute, or I woke up to Risen Motherhood. Like today, we’re recording early in the morning and so I did not wake up at 5:30 a.m. to take my shower and do everything, but I’m planning to do that. After I get done here, I’ll do my short five to seven-minute routine. But then my long form routine, which I would say is me ‘getting ready’ would be using a curling iron or a flat iron and putting on full makeup, and something a little bit cuter but still subject to be soiled.
Laura: How long would that take you?
Emily: If I took a shower, 30 minutes. If I didn’t, 15 to 20.
Laura: Oh, that’s still pretty fast.
Emily: If I shower before then, that cuts out some good time.
Laura: Five to seven minutes realistically is probably what it takes, if I curl my hair so I guess I’m at the same amount of time as you, Emily. If I curl my hair, it’s probably 20-ish minutes. I take pretty quick showers but I feel like I only shower a couple of times a week and have trained my hair to not be a grease ball. You know how that takes time train your hair?
Emily: Yes, your hair always looks good. I can never tell when you shower or don’t shower.
Laura: Good, that’s the way it should be.
Laura: But I really have a very minimal routine. I wear a foundation and mascara and that is it, and I have two levels: I was telling Emily I have "every day, all my life" and then I have "wedding" level. When I do wedding level, Emily is doing it so I really don’t have any levels [laughter]. But hair and makeup and clothing, while important to me to want to look socially acceptable, and I of course love feeling put together like anyone else, it’s not necessarily something for me that I have interest in, and that I want to spend a lot of time on.
But the one thing Emily and I both do is capsule wardrobe. The reason I switched to that was because I was frustrated with having to give any thought towards clothing. I wanted to eliminate that decision-making in the morning, eliminate shopping or at least consolidating my shopping. For those of you who don’t know what a capsule wardrobe, high level, there’s usually a select number of pieces in your wardrobe, typically around 30 but it could be whatever number you want. It’s meant to streamline the process so that you have a seasonal wardrobe where you shop at the beginning of the season and then you don’t shop for the next three to four months. You wear those items of clothing every day, and mix and match. There’s no set rules. We’ll link to somebody who does a great capsule wardrobe so if you want to get in on that, there’s people smarter than us that can help you.
Emily: I think it’s helped me to think of my clothes in terms of a uniform, especially now that I’ve had some more children. I’m basically in a preschool all day, [laughs] and it’s like, “What is appropriate for me to wear in this environment?” I just get mad if I try to wear my silk blouse.
Laura: Yes, that isn’t a good idea.
Emily: I have a three-year-old, and it’s just matter of time before that thing is completely ruined.
So much like a nurse or a teacher, somebody would wear clothing appropriate to their job if you stay at home with kids or when you are at home with your children. So if you are around your children, what is appropriate for you to be able to get up and down off the floor, and pick up a child and deal with a baby, and be able to serve applesauce for lunch and not be crabby or frustrated that they’re going to ruin really nice pieces of clothing?
Laura: And it’s not that you can’t wear that. It’s your heart attitude as you wear it. If that’s a special item to you and you don’t want it to get ruined and you wear it, and then you’re upset with your children for shooting milk out of their mouths on your blouse, you probably shouldn’t be wearing that.
Emily: But I think it’s helped me, even in terms of the capsule. I ask myself, “What do I want to be? What is my happy medium there of feeling put together, so that I can be productive in my day so that I can feel good?” Postpartum body image here. I want to feel good about the way that I look and be at my best, but not be so at my best that it’s unrealistic. I think it’s okay for moms to dress down a little bit. I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong.
Laura: Something that Emily and I have talked over is the cost-value balance and the idea of diminishing returns on the idea of getting ready in the morning. We believe that is different for every mom. You can look at Emily and I: we both have very different styles of how we would say our routine in the morning is. But there is value to getting ready and not being in our pajamas all day. That can be a stereotype of moms. You roll out of bed and you never change your clothes. That’s not good either. It’s staying in the middle and not going into either ditch.
Emily: It’s been helpful for me to think about, what are the things that ‘getting ready’ (whatever that means to me) is going to add to my day, so that I can image Christ and be a better servant of my family, and of my husband, and be a better witness and not have barriers to the gospel.
I think the biggest one to me is just productivity.
Laura: Me too.
Emily: But Laura and I have also talked about, we make healthier food choices when we are in real pants [chuckles].
Laura: If you are wearing jeans, you might second guess that second cookie because you can feel it. You can literally feel the cookie in your stomach.
Emily: [laughs] Yes, just feeling good and wanting to love our husbands well by caring enough to be looking nice for them and being hygienic. All of those things. Just being an image bearer of God to our children, as we are looking pulled together on the outside. Even though that’s not where our beauty ultimately lies, I think it can be one more opportunity to reflect God’s beauty to our family and to others.
Laura: On the other end of the spectrum, talking through cost of spending too much time in the bathroom, or too much time getting ready. If we’re taking too much time, that can be valuable time lost with both our husband and our children, or serving other people. That can be something that can chew through time. Also, I often will find that if I have spent too much time in the morning getting ready, or picking my outfit or whatever, I can feel very rushed in the morning with my kids and then I’ll take it out on them. I’ll expect them to move quicker to make up that time. I’m more impatient or I’m more frustrated with them because of their lollygagging around.
I think something we can’t let happen is letting our day be determined by how much time we did or didn’t have, to get ready in the morning. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of even seven minutes in the bathroom to get our hair done. On those days when we’ve spent too much time, we can’t let our attitude depend on if we got our full routine or if we didn’t get our full routine - whichever way we tend to swing.
Emily: Like you were saying Laura, in the end, it’s all about, what does our heart value? What are we worshiping? What are we caring about most? I think in all things, we want to worship Christ the most. We want to care about Him and honor Him more than anything else. Each woman should think individually about, “How can I honor Christ in my getting ready every day?” which would mean, "I want to harness the value that it has for my life, which may help me be more productive, which might let me love my husband in some ways."
And image Christ and be a hard worker, someone who is being disciplined and self controlled. If I’m doing anything that is in excess of the true value of getting ready, I am now idolizing - making clothing or makeup or hair routine too important - because I’m afraid of what other people are going to think of me. It shows my identity is wrapped up in that. It could also be that I care too much about frivolous things or non-eternal things; that needs to be addressed. Each person has to look at that and it’s going to be different individually for sure but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to consider.
Laura: You have to determine, at what point in the process of getting ready in the morning, whether that’s taking 10 minutes or that’s taking 45 minutes, does it start to lose its eternal value? That answer will be different for different moms because it depends on our hearts and our attitudes. What we are valuing, like Emily just said, and there is freedom and that’s something we want to say - grace covers guilt. No matter what decisions have been made in the past or where your heart has been or like for me, it’s literally different on different days of how I’m feeling about myself and my self-worth.
But there is freedom in clothes and makeup and hair and how we look. They don’t define us. What matters is what kind of woman you are and how you are not just caring for your hair and your clothes but for your heart. We want to be godly women that pursue excellence. To pursue Christ and say, "How does clothing and makeup affect how we pursue the Lord and how joyful we are in our day, while serving our children?"
Emily: I will just say my own personal testimony. I have really cut back a lot on my daily routine, and my getting ready because I saw that I was putting too much value on things that weren’t eternal. That doesn’t mean that I look sloppy all the time now or that-
Laura: She doesn’t.
Emily: - Or that I don’t wear cute clothes, but that I was just realizing the time that I’m spending online shopping or the time that I am putting into self-image isn’t gaining anything eternal. I want to be spending that time and energy on other things. I don’t want care too much about this because it’s passing away. The Bible says not to be anxious about what we’re going to wear, and it says my beauty isn’t on the outside, and it says that we need to seek first the kingdom. That has been convicting to me over the years to say, “That’s where I want to be putting my time.”
Laura: I think that is a great example and a good truth. We are hitting our time here so let’s wrap up. Emily has written a lot on this topic and so we’ll be linking to a lot of her articles. I doubt I’ve written on this topic [laughs] so she has a lot of great truth to share and so you’ll definitely want to read more of her stuff. We’ll also link to things like we talked about: the capsule wardrobe and some other really helpful articles.
As usual, if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with someone, we’d love it if this was a conversation starter with you and other moms, and just something to get you to think. Please, if you have more questions, feel free to email us any time, subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. We would love that and we are so grateful for those of you that have done it. That’s the best way to get the word out about the show. That’s it and thank you for tuning in everyone.