Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flirting with Converting, or Why Do Mormons Look So Darn Good?

When you think of how Mormons dress, you may have something like this in mind:

(I know, I know, this is a FLDS not a LDS picture, but still, think hyperbole people!)

From what I’ve seen, the reality is a whole lot more like an Anthropologie ad.

I’m wondering why all the Mormons I know, either through blogging or “in real life,” always look like a million bucks? I mean do they take all the money the rest of us blow on alcohol and put it into “self-care?” Brynn, one of my favorite former students (and a reader of this blog!) has 5 kids and looks spectacular. Yes, I felt old after typing that.

Brynn’s kids look picture perfect, too. When her husband took their 4 kids to the hospital to meet baby #5, they had matching pink polos or polo dresses, khakis, and adorable hair ribbons. Considering Brynn had been working hard giving birth for the previous 24 hours or so, that means that at a prior date she had trained and equipped her husband to pull off this feat.

I find this astounding. I can barely pull off a single crappy family picture once a year (snapshot, not studio), and can't imaging being photo-ready on other important life occasions.

I know I’ve been pacing myself on this marathon called motherhood, trying not to expend all my energy in one place, but these hot Mormon mommies expose me as the slacker I am.

They’ve got their fancy jeans (I tried to put a hip brand name here but I don’t even know one), high heels, and perfect accessories. When my peer group and I first had babies ten years ago, we looked pretty schlubby. We walked around in oversized sweatshirts, which may or may not have been adorned with pictures of licensed characters, and sported mom jeans, tennis shoes, and scrunchies. I wore my Old Navy overalls a lot, and sometimes my sister would share “a really cool nursing shirt!” with me. We knew how to party like it was 1999.

Now, even though my kids are 8 and 10, I often still use them as an excuse for why my gray is showing, why I don’t exercise, and why I have shmutz on my shirt.

And parties? Those LDS ladies are decorators and entertainers, going all out for holidays and picnics. I get some of my favorite design inspiration from their blogs.

Makeup? You should see my hot Mormon blogger friend Shawn at Swanee Singer. Not only does she rock with her band in real life, she rocks the hair and makeup every day.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but in a post rife with gross generalizations, I’ll pile one more on. While I have sometimes looked at motherhood as something to be survived or endured, I think my Mormon friends see it as something to celebrate. As an ongoing special occasion…and who wouldn’t dress up for that?

I think this attitude is a positive one, particularly if Brynn is any indication; with 5 kids before age 30, there’s a whole lot more celebrating on her horizon...

And although my childbearing years are over (Tom is now in the market for an Ektorp), I still think I could stand to kick it up a notch. Tomorrow I’m wearing cute ballet flats I purchased at Target, NOT at the thrift store. Baby steps.


purejoy said...

what an encouragement to look and feel better (but i draw the line with the undergarments) and to take my looks more seriously. just because i feel like i've been dragged behind the schoolbus for six hours doesn't mean i have to look like it, right?
off to get some beauty sleep.
and ps
ahhhhdorable family and i love the "action shot." reminds me of my own family!

sokphal said...

Not all LDS moms look like "Brynn". I DO agree that she looks awesome for having 5 kids, but def. not the norm. Bows in all the girls' hair. Too cute! But, growing up Mormon, the women at church looked more like a Frump Fest than a Gap Ad. Your family is really adorable!!! Cute pic!

Heidi said...

Oh, I loved this post. And I loved the picture of you and your family even if I can't see a face.

Glennon said...

YOU GO WITH YOUR BAD SELF ANNA. I love this post. I hope you have a blast in your target ballet shoes today.
I'll be in my old navy overalls. But perhaps I'll actually put a bow in the girls' hair.

KT said...

I have many LDS friends and I can vouch for the fact that they are all cute, all very together, and so are their kids. And always, always fun and refreshing to be around!

Marinka said...

That's an excellent point. I'm going to look into Mormonitis. I think it's all the clean living.

Two Wishes said...

You and your family are adorable. Mormon adorable, even.

But I know how you feel. A novel I read recently described a passing character as having "that permanently worn-down look that some mothers of small children have." The description absolutely resonated as being ME. Now I think of it every time I look in the mirror. And then I put on extra lipgloss. 'Cause, darn it, if I'm going to be worn down, I'm going to be worn down with SHINY LIPS!

Kristina P. said...

Shawn is totally hot. And I am very wealthy, so I pay a lot of money to look mediocre.

bernthis said...

with one I can keep it together mostly. with 5, I would not stand a chance. I think this gal has a great perspective on motherhood. It is a celebration although it's not always a party in my house that is for sure

Shawn said...

YOU are the nicest person eveh!!! THANKS for the kudos----I attribute my anal-ness about getting dressed up and doing my face every day with being kind of an artist----I love doing different things with my hair, makeup and my clothes. And I love standing out!! Yeah---I'm a ham that way!

Love that picture of your family though----you guys are the cutest!!!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

You know I agree. Remember my "pretty family"? I love Gale - and I can't get over how great she and her kids (AND her gorgeous husband) always look. Anthro is the perfect label too. I've decided that it must be a Mormon company. I bet they all get a discount... A very compelling reason to convert if you ask me.

Zaralex said...

You wrote this long ago. and I was just having this conversation the other day. mormons always look perfect. I shower twice a week!!!

Ashley said...

We don't know each other, but I was on a website today that quoted your blog. Your words intrigued me so I followed the link that led me here to read more. Being a Mormon myself (but probably not as put together as you described most Mormons), I was raised to value family and especially motherhood. I really appreciated that you mentioned motherhood as something to celebrate. Your great word choice got me thinking and though I'm not yet a mother, I have a whole new perspective and already feel more motivated to be an even better mother and homemaker than I had planned before. Thanks for your inspiring words :)