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From budget-friendly to splurge-worthy, these must-have items should be non-negotiable staples for every mommy that wants to look a whole lot better than they feel in those disheveled, disoriented, delusional years with a darling toddler in tow. These aren’t your basic categories of things to find and fit for what works for you. No, no. These are the tried and true solutions that took this mama’s “frump” to “fab” in a minute’s time!
The Wet® Brush: If you have the luxury of taking daily showers (don’t make that face, you know you weren’t always this clean after that baby arrived) — then yay, you! But even you know how rushed your time getting ready is because of the long list of things that must be done before you can even leave the house. And if you don’t shower or wash your hair daily, it may be simply because time is the very thing you cannot devote to your personal hygiene (stop with the faces already!). Combing through unruly wet hair after that long-anticipated rinse is the very last thing you’ve contracted your limited minutes for, though it seems to be the very thing that sucks the fun out of being squeaky clean.
Enter The Wet Brush®.
As soon as I found out about this thing, taking a shower and having a clean head of hair became a pleasant and desired pastime all over again. It wasn’t about finding a more moisturizing conditioner or a better leave-in treatment. It was all about finding something that would quickly and safely get through my wet mane to send me out the door with the token mom-‘do that I sported for so long (low, low, low maintenance — I know you know what I’m talking about). Where a time-saving tool is necessary, when taking care of your hair is important, and when you want to enjoy the full experience of showering and getting ready for your day — the Wet Brush® makes all the difference.
>> Read more: 4 Cute Hairstyles for Busy Moms
Mother® Denim: I can’t even tell you how long I stayed in maternity jeans after my daughter was born, and it was not just for the wide elastic waistband. There is something about maternity jeans that makes you feel like it’s Christmas — all snuggled, comfy and happy inside. Because my belly was not the only thing that grew, stretched and jiggled after baby, wearing a soft denim pant that complimented the changes rather than highlighted them was what made it so hard to finally pack away my maternity jeans once and for all.
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Though I got back down to my pre-baby weight five months postpartum (the old fashioned way: diet and exercise), that didn’t translate into my pre-baby clothes magically sliding right onto my body like they did in my dreams. The majority of the jeans in my closet would not budge past my thighs, and those that got over my legs cut into my crotch because I had to pull them so high to button them. And these were the stretchy pairs too.
Now we need to get serious. You need to hear me on this. Just because you are a mom does not mean you should wear mom jeans. In fact, no one should ever wear mom jeans. There is something about sad denim that just screams that you — that we — have given up on a flattering cut just because we birthed a human being. There is no excuse in the world for a mom to not feel confident and sexy in her non-mom jeans.
The non-mom jean: Mother® Denim.
You know how I prefaced this whole thing talking about splurge-worthy pieces? I was talking about these jeans and I’m talking about YOU. Mother® Denim makes bottoms for your post-baby body that feel as good as maternity jeans do, but lift and squeeze everything in so much so that no one would ever guess that you were the mama of that busy bouncing toddler. Think Christmas again — the way you feel and look, and the time to get them! Ask for them as a gift or take advantage of special sales on websites that offer the brand (I got mine from Piper Lime for 25-30% off).
Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer: Splurge-worthy item #2. And let me tell you why. Whether or not you are one of those lucky moms that gets to shower daily, you probably still wash your face or look at your face in a mirror at some point. No matter how much sleep you get at night, you may feel like you can never get enough or the quality of it isn’t the greatest because — with busy moms like yourself — the wheels are always spinning and thoughts are always forming.
Tired moms look tired. A lack of sleep will show on your face and around your eyes. And while you seek the ultimate solution and spend tons of money on creams and regimens to correct this issue, the truth is that the solution lies in getting more rest. Yep, you’ve heard it right here: eye creams will not erase the tired from your eyes. But Cle de Peau will.
This is one of the smoothest concealers I have ever used that offers maximum coverage with a silky texture. If we could bottle makeup heaven in a small black tube, it would be called Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. Moisturize your eyes (I like to add a primer under my makeup next) and then gently apply this new staple for the bright-eyed, “oh yes, 6 hours of sleep last night was PLENTY to get through this grueling 20-hour day ahead” look you’ve been searching for in creams for way too long. You’re welcome.
Barely There Wireless Bras: Assuming you have weaned your little one by this toddler period, and assuming that you are more comfortable wearing a bra more frequently because breastfeeding wasn’t as kind to the “girls” as it was to your darling little one, this brand of hooter helpers is the best to stock up on. In some instances, you may need greater support or you may want something sexier, but no one can argue that a wireless option offers the best relief after a busy day away at work or taking care of the very person that sucked the perkiness away.
I can’t go braless for this very reason, but I feel like I’m not wearing a bra at all. Kind of how I felt in nursing bras. I think you’ve figured out by now that I’m all about ease and comfort, but I can’t wear a nursing bra forever to feel secure and covered (they just aren’t that cute). So Barely There is a bra that offers all of those features with the added cute factor!
Essential Oils: Not to get all hippy-dippy on you, but here’s the deal. The latest position of the American Academy of Pediatrics on over-the-counter medications that you WILL need during cold and flu season is that they are not “approved” for use with your toddler. And if you call your doctor or bring your wee one in when that wet cough becomes unbearable to listen to all night long, they will tell you there is pretty much nothing to give them to make them feel better. And the home remedies they suggest for symptom relief will not be worth your copay — or out-of-pocket expenses, especially if you have sky-high deductibles to meet this time of year (and especially if you are saving for Mother Denim, right?).
Essential oils are how you can treat ailments at home in a way that is safe, effective and so very simple. Get them! Don’t mess around with sick babies, prolonging the discomfort around you (remember — we are all about comfort, right?). I don’t recommend any one brand, though I have only one at home that offers a complete kit to substitute the medications our toddler would need if they were approved. Having a number of different oils allows you to come up with smart recipes to address a host of issues that plague the home, especially during the winter months.
BONUS: Diaper rash magic! If your tiny toddler is like mine with super sensitive skin and experiences frequent diaper rash, forget the zinc oxide combination copycat ointments and put a diluted lavender and melaleuca blend on those sweet cheeks for rapid-acting relief. DOUBLE BONUS: If you are a sleep-deprived mama that even in her greatest exhaustive hours cannot catch those Z’s, a wonderful blend of lavender, vanilla, and chamomile rubbed on your feet works for that too.
And don’t forget: More/better Z’s = less tired eyes = under-eye concealer lasts longer. See how this comes together to make sense? What other fun staples could you not live without in these years with a toddler in the house?