No Fuss, No Muss


How I feel about makeup and styling my hair. (Photo by icke48, via Flickr)

I don’t do “girl” very well.

It took me twenty-seven years to figure out how to handle curly hair, because I refuse to mess with it. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing but admiration for the women I know who can do updos and braids, who know how to use curling irons and blow dryers to make their hair into works of art. I enjoy looking at the results, and if I had money to blow, I’d consider hiring somebody to do it to me.

But I can’t do it. I will not spend more than five minutes on my hair, and that would be considered a special occasion. Truthfully, in my world, good hair results come most often when I throw it up in a clip without looking. The more time I spend on it, the worse it looks.

Then there’s makeup. I am continually befuddled by how many women I work out with go to the trouble of putting makeup on before coming to Jazzercise. I like the look of makeup, but it’s such a bother. In December I had to wear makeup five days in a row, and by the last day, I was gnashing my teeth as I stood in front of the mirror to put it on. And seven times out of ten, the minute I put on eyeliner and eyeshadow, it sensitizes my eye and some speck of dust requires me to take my contact out and replace it, and then all the makeup is rubbed off anyway.

I cannot stand the feel of nail polish.

But it’s not just girly stuff that’s feeling like a real bother these days. I’ve been in a serious no-fuss funk lately. I didn’t want to put up the Christmas village. I didn’t want to put up the garland and bows on the stairs. I mean, I’ve been around this block a few times now. You spend twenty minutes getting the swags just so, and two days later somebody snags one at a dead run and it’s all over for the season. What’s the point? We didn’t pull out the Christmas plates until Christmas Eve, and they went right back in the hutch after they were washed.

Then there’s the “mom” thing. I often wince when I consider what people at my kids’ schools must think of me. (Because they have nothing better to do with their time than think about me and my life. Ahem.) I never, ever remember to have my kids a) bring the stuffed animal, b) wear the PJs for PJ day (except today! Miracle of miracles!), c) wear the spirit day shirt, d) bring the canned good on said spirit day, e) bring the money for the charity…

You get the idea. Frankly, I’m just thrilled to think I can get everyone safely from point A to point B and back.

One of my critique partners, at a meeting one night, said, “Kate, do you have a tissue?”

I said, “Man, you’re asking the wrong ‘mom.’ I have to ask OTHER people for that stuff.”

And this December, when we took Nicholas to his first-and-second-grade concert, I shared my little glow of pride that he was actually, unlike any other child I’ve ever sent to a concert, dressed appropriately.

Christian cocked his eyebrows. “That’s nice. In six years at this school, you’ve sent one kid dressed appropriately, once?”

So much for my glow of pride.

It just seems like there are so many more important things in life than wearing makeup or having a perfect hairdo or having a picture-perfect Christmas display. Like…working on my novel. Cooking really good food. Reading a good book. Sitting in a quiet place. Watching political debates.

Just kidding on that one.

But I’m beginning to wonder if a little muss and fuss might be in order in my life. It’s all about time, and the judicious use of what little I have. Squeezing every drop of productivity out of the moments I have is a matter of pride with me, but maybe I need to allow a little more squandered time. Or at least, to adjust my vision of what constitutes accomplishment. Having a cleared-off computer desk might be nice, you know? Looking nice more than on Sundays?

I don’t know. I’m not committing, yet. I’m just thinking about it.


11 thoughts on “No Fuss, No Muss

  1. This is the most amazing (and affirming) post! Right below your article’s post on my FB feed, I saw someone showing how to artfully make a snail out of peanut butter, celery, apples and pretzels. REALLY? Who has TIME for that? And who MAKES time for that? I’m the mom that’s scrambling at the last minute (and only when my child reminds me) that the day is “wear a superhero shirt day” at school. And make-up? Never. I’m proud to be “your kind” of mom.

    • HA! I love the idea of doing those artsy things with food, but I am not gifted in that particular brand of detail. My husband can do that when he wants to. When the kids want a cake shaped like Bumblebee, he’s the one who gets to do it. 🙂

      On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Kathleen M. Basi wrote:


  2. Diana Hartmann

    I love this, Kate! I understand and feel the same about almost everything, except the nails and makeup. I love to play with both, when I can take the time to do it the way I want to. The Teenager thinks she’s the expert, and admittedly when I want it done really well, I seek her to do it for me. It’s more important to her (even though I’ve been a Mary Kay Cosmetics consultant since she was 2), so she spends more time perfecting her skills and keeping up with trends. She makes it a work of art and I love her style. Same with shopping. It’s only fun occasionally and with expert fashionista guidance. Otherwise, I’m just going for comfort and time management. If the Little One’s hair is brushed and she’s dressed properly, I feel very successful. My appearance is usually last on the list of concerns… until the Teenager becomes concerned! 😆 She says she has 2 looks, homeless and runway model… the difference is time and effort! 😂 I’m usually closer to the former and she is closer to the latter end of the spectrum. When busy, “older”, married-with-children women cut things for time and priority, vanity is usually on the chopping block first, not so for the young and single! 😉 I keep thinking I’ll get it together for the Spirit Days and stuffed animal days. So far, I’m 0 for 2 this year. I did dress her correctly on Wednesday, which she despised and prefers her standard uniform, and I’m bringing food in today. Thankfully, they leave the barrels up for a few days and I made it there a couple of times last semester! 😃 I was just thinking this morning how together our school teachers and staff members are and wondering if I’ll ever be that responsible on my part. I’ve learned to show appreciation in little, thoughtful ways and ask forgiveness when necessary… which is frequently. 😮 Stuffed animal day last week was an epic fail. Thankfully, teachers plan ahead for parents like me who can’t seem to! Thank God for those with strengths other than mine. We all make it work together!

  3. Oh boy. I can so relate. You described me pretty well. The good news is- I’ve lived to 61 and my children survived. And they love me just the way I am. And still not wearing makeup. 🙂

  4. Aunt Mary Kurre

    Kate, I think you are beautiful inside & out! Perhaps your inner beauty is what’s shining out on the days you think you aren’t primped enough. But I’ve never seen you look bad. When I start to envy people who have some sort of natural curl without the fuss I remember that those that have it, don’t love it. But I do. My daughters are very beautiful when they are in a hurry & let their hair air dry out of the shower & go ‘oh natural’. But neither one believes me when I tell them that. As far as makeup goes, you have inherited beautiful darker eyelashes from the Luth gene. You may have the same problem with mascara that I have. I usually have it way longer than the 3 months they say you should not keep it past. So it flicks off easily even when they say it won’t on the package. I also have to read the package carefully because so many have “extensions” in them to make your eyelashes look longer which are no good for us contact lens wearers. The only good Mascara that I finally found about 3 months before they discontinued it was Revlon “Overtime” & it was great for contact lens wearers.

  5. Deanna Bartalini

    I’m “girly” to a degree; but very low maintenance. I’m a minimalist with hair and makeup. Hence, the gray threaded in my hair. The thought of coloring is way to much. And I really want to institute a no shave November for legs, even though I live in S. FL where we go bare legged just about all year! As far as clothes, my favorite time was when I had 33 items in my wardrobe. Really need to go back to that, so much easier.

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