parent opinion

'I'm always the most glam mum at the school gates. Please stop hating me for it.'

We've all seen the memes.

The 'relatable' mum. Hair in a messy bun, mismatched sweats, the one who wears activewear all day without ever being active and gave up on makeup while making three different breakfasts over cold coffee.

She's the one at the school gate the other relatable mums give knowing looks too. They're a hot mess but it's cool, it's funny, they are seen to "put their kids first" and that's admirable. They're the unsung heroes of the school gate, they don't get judged, they get high fived for being so well 'relatable'. But what happens when you're not that mum?

Watch: A spoken word video staring Laura Bryne articulating the contradiction of pressures that mothers face in their daily lives. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Well, I can safely say I do not fit that physical brief, and I feel judged for it. (I do of course put my kids first), but I am the mum who prefers heels over flats. Who keeps her Botox topped up, lashes done and hair extensions in place. I don't leave the house without makeup and always make sure my nails are manicured and my outfit is cohesive.


 Looking glamorous is part of my identity and something that has always been part of me. Why should I give that up just because I have kids? Before I became a mother, I never thought that this was a crime, in fact I considered it a "good thing". I'd always been told, "you take such good care of yourself," "you're so polished and always so well groomed". It helped me in business, it helped me in life and made me feel good about myself. And then I had kids and suddenly the thing that made me "me", something intrinsic to my personality and self worth became a negative thing. I began being judged for it.

Image: Supplied.


I remember when my sons were still infants, and we'd be in a mothers' group it was the whole "how do you have time to get yourself looking like that?" Noses were turned up and I was looked down on at one point even called 'vain' for having my nails done. This implied notion, that because I cared about my appearance that I somehow cared less about my kids. Which is absolutely crazy - my two boys are my world.

Merrin with her sons. Image: Supplied.


It was assumed that I wasn't really in the trenches with the other mums, that I must have help, I wasn't a 'real' mother, I wasn't relatable. I had never felt so judged and alienated for simply being myself. As the boys grew older it didn't shift, if anything it got worse. The sideway glances at the school gate. The passive aggressive comments implying that somehow I had more time, or gave less time to my kids because I had showed up looking put together, which is absolutely not true. Over the years, it really got me down. There was even a phase where I would dress down and change who I was to fit in as I felt on some level that I wasn't a good mother. The judgement got the better of me and impacted heavily on my self worth and my self esteem. I knew I was a great mum, but I was almost ashamed of showing up so glamorous so dulled down my sparkle to fit in.

I prioritise my appearance because it is my self-care. I get hair and lash extensions, regular facials, Botox and treatments. All these things make me feel amazing as a woman in her early 40s and when I feel amazing my relationships are better, my home life is happier AND my kids benefit from that. But this does not mean I don't prioritise my children.

I make sure after school time is only for them and never take them to appointments. I have two busy boys, they wouldn't come even if I did try and drag them! I just get up earlier to fit in my exercise, work late into the evening when my boys are in bed to catch up on things I could have done while they were at school but may have had appointments in their place. I'm also an avid multi-tasker, the woman who takes her laptop to the salon and gets it done wherever and whenever.


However, I am not here trying to be an advocate for being glamorous. It is my choice to spend this time and energy doing so for myself. Self care makes me feel good, but we're all cut from a different cloth and that's what needs to be remembered. What I am saying is we need to judge less and accept more. However a mum chooses to show up at mothers' group or the school gate is her choice. And her reasons could be simple, it makes her feel better, or something much more complex, that it even helps her understand who she is and cope with what she's going through.

Being the glam mum does not make you unrelatable, it makes you "you" and no one should ever be judged for that. So let's all just be kind to each other and be our authentic selves, messy buns, groomed tresses or however we chose to show up.

Merrin Schnabel is the founder of Geelong Women's Business Club, influencer, and mother of two boys.

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Feature Image: Supplied.

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