There is a phase of parenting a girl I’m dreading. Make up. (If I’m honest, this is merely one of many phases I’m dreading but this is currently on my mind.)
I’m not good with make up – I don’t know the techniques really, I’m not ever going to put something called primer on my face (Really? They HAD to name it after the DIY stuff you put on crumbling walls? Really? They couldn’t have come up with a name that wasn’t so detrimental to women? Extra good foundation or something? But I digress…) I can’t tell the difference if I change my face cream, let alone know how to put lipstick on.
And let’s be clear, although I have issues with how this is marketed to women, about how body image is triumphed as more desirable than thinking, I’m not going to go down a massive old-style feminist-y “wrap thyself in sackcloth” path. I wear make up. I also believe in equality. Let’s leave it there shall we?
The challenge when having to get us both out of the door in the mornings is trying to get everything done and that includes bunging on some slap in front of E. We clean our teeth together, we wash her face and then we do something called “Mummy’s funny face.” Because, despite all the above, I don’t want her to think she will HAVE to do this stuff if she doesn’t want to. At least not from me. So I make light of it. I stick foundation blobs on my face and stick it close to her to make her laugh.
But she does take a cue from me that this is fine to do. Of course she does. Four days a week she sees me do it. She wants to “paint” with the colours I put on my eyes, she wants to draw with my eyeliner, she laughs when I waggle my large brush in her face. Then she takes it and cleans the sink with it.
She did once get hold of my eye shadow and painted two large brown stripes across her forehead. (For the eyeliner interest I recommend the Avon ones that have a twist-y bit to push up or down – E outlined her eyes, cheeks, chin and mouth with one this morning without actually getting it on herself.)
For now I can get away with making a play of it, of having her forget once we’re out the door. But it does start me thinking of how to shore up her confidence in herself, that she doesn’t feel she has to rely on these things. When she’s older I’d like to talk to her about it, in small doses and let her make up her own mind. For now, our painting is mainly done on paper.