What happened to me? I was once a model of perfect grooming and was a stickler for looking my best at all times. How could I have grown so careless?
It took me several days of reflection and self-discovery to come up with an answer. I had been neglecting myself for a very long time. Ever since my children were born, I had let the rigors of being a wife and a mother take precedence over my own needs.
Islam explicitly states that we should strive to look our best at all times. I did meet the requirements of cleanliness according to my faith. However, I overlooked small details such as making sure my clothes were properly ironed. I rarely redid my hair aside from the regular morning brush, twist, and clip. I knew that things had to change, not only for myself, but for my husband as well. After all, he has to look at me every day. I had to be as pleasing as I could to his eyes.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said
After fear of God, a believer gains nothing better for him than a good wife who obeys him if he gives her a command, pleases him if he looks at her, is true to him if he adjures her to do something, and is sincere towards him regarding her person and his property if he is absent. (Ibn Majah)
Fitting Me Into My Schedule
Thus, I began a course of action that started with a revamping of my daily schedule. Rather than being a workhorse all day long, I tried to slow down a bit. I started allocating "me" time for myself each day. It was hard at first because I love my family so dearly and relish the task of fulfilling their needs. Slowly, I started to allocate a few minutes for me each day and then let it grow from there. Eventually I got up to a whopping 30 minutes of free time each day.
I began to iron at least two outfits each day; that way I had something spare to wear if something oozed on me, which is a common occurrence in my household. I also experimented with some housewife-friendly hairstyles that would remain sturdy throughout my day of salah, cooking, and cleaning. I found that a simple braid did the trick and immediately ended the chronic bad hair I had grown accustomed to for so long. I began scheduling in time for regular facials (done by me at home) each week.
My attitude began to change as my path to reinvention progressed. I became consciously aware of not only my image, but also the way I am perceived by family members.
However, the battle was only half won. The biggest obstacle was still ahead of me — makeup! It may sound silly to you, dear reader, but I had all but forgotten how to apply makeup. Prior to becoming a mother, I could put a face on in five minutes flat. Now, I can do it in little over half an hour. I decided to research this issue of makeup on the Internet. I was hopeful and optimistic that I would find a few "magical" techniques to accentuate my lips and my eyes.