I’m a mom of a three-year-old, so I don’t have a lot of time to get ready in the morning. But no matter what, it’s so important to walk out the door feeling like the best version of myself. Or, at least, a version of myself that vaguely resembles a human woman.


Mornings usually start when my son Phoenix marches into our room, playing “Seventy-Six Trombones” from The Music Man on his recorder. Only he doesn’t know how to play the recorder yet, because he’s three, so it’s just like a really loud, shrill whistle.

Then I stumble into the kitchen to pour myself an iced coffee. I don’t actually prefer iced coffee, but my husband does, so we always have some in the fridge. Plus, I can drink it really fast, which is key.


For breakfast, Phoenix has oatmeal with peanut butter, and I’ll make a smoothie… unless we have any leftover cookies, or cake, or pizza, in which case I’ll eat some of that over the sink, and then feel immediately ashamed. When Phoenix asks what I’m eating, I’ll tell him it’s “vegetables” so that I don’t have to share.


First, I’ll sniff my armpits to decide whether or not I need to bathe. Most mornings I smell reasonably fine, so I just slap on some deodorant, spray my head with dry shampoo, and hope no one notices.

If I’m smelling super ripe, I’ll park Phoenix in front of Sesame Street and take a three-and-a-half-minute shower, periodically poking my head out to check that he’s still there/not dead. I’ll spend some time worrying whether all the screen time will affect his college prospects, until I remember I probably won’t be able to afford college for him anyway. Then I cry a little.

This is about when it occurs to me that it’s been like two months since I’ve shaved my legs, and I probably should do that at some point if I want to stay married. I decide to wear pants instead.


The first step in my skincare routine is to stare at my acne scars in the mirror, and wonder how much money it would cost to get rid of them, and whether I’ll ever have enough to make American Express stop calling me about being “over my credit limit.” GUYS, I KNOW!!

Then I check for any new blackheads or pimples, and squeeze them until blood comes out, then think, Oh fuck that looks worse than it did before!


I try to go for “no-makeup” makeup look. I just think that a fresh, natural face is so much prettier. So I start with an SPF, then an oil-free pore-shrinking primer, high-coverage foundation, three different types of concealer, translucent setting powder, and another layer of concealer. Then I realize that it’s actually super obvious that I’m wearing a lot of makeup. Now everyone’s going to know I’m old. They’re going to think I’m trying too hard. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

As a finishing touch, I spray my face with this rosewater stuff my facialist sold me to add some “dewiness” back, but then my mascara starts to run under my eyes and I somehow look more tired than I did before. At this point, I’m out of time, so I just have to accept that this is as good as it’s going to get today. Then I’ll take a Xanax.


Right as we’re about to walk out the door, Phoenix (who is potty-training) will usually announce “I have to poop!” I’ll try to hide how annoyed I am while I sit on the floor and read him “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” for twenty minutes while he takes a shit. Or not. Sometimes he lies.

Then I have to hurry him along so we’re not both late. I lose my patience, he cries and tells me I’m hurting his feelings, I realize that I was probably not cut out to be a mother, he asks me if we can watch another movie, I say no, he cries even louder, and finally I throw him over my shoulder and carry him out to the car to drive him to pre-school.


I don’t get regular manicures, so I just bite my nails in the car on the way to work. I’m pretty low-maintenance.

— as told to ITG