Balance Beam

By Brittany Renee

I saw a woman at daycare drop off the other day. She was beautiful. Hair down, heels on, makeup flawless, and ready to grab the day by the balls. I used to be her. But my heels have been shoved to the back of the closet, replaced with more versatile flats. My hair pulled back so it doesn’t get pulled by sticky hands. My face makeup free. And, I’m not grabbing anything other than the diaper bag as I am running out the door, perpetually late. 

I watched her walk across the parking lot. Her hair literally bouncing like a shampoo commercial. I wondered how she had time to not only wash, but also style her hair. I wondered if when her world got so much bigger with motherhood, she lost herself in it like I did. My world got so big so quickly, and with it, my self-esteem got so small. She seemed unafflicted, spared, even confident. 

I wondered how she walked that balance beam so well, in four-inch stilettos and a baby on her hip nonetheless. I wondered why I struggled, my legs shaking and my body swaying, constantly trying to regain the balance I used to have. I wondered why this motherhood business was easier for her. It felt like I was being hazed into a secret society, and yet, she was able to do it with a spring in her step. Was I not qualified for this job? I cried in my car that day. 

The next morning, I didn’t recognize her. We both sported makeup-free faces, dark circles under our eyes, and messy buns barely held together. Her heels were now  those versatile flats that helped her chase her wild child through the parking lot. 

And I saw in that moment, she was still beautiful, just like she was the day before. I wondered if she knew that. 

I told her she looked pretty today.

She laughed. 

I told her I meant it. 

She smiled politely. But I didn’t see it reach her eyes. She didn’t believe me. 

I hope you do when I tell you, you were beautiful before you were a mom, and you are beautiful now, whether you use stilettos to walk that balance beam or not. Walk confidently, walk strongly, walk like you know what you are doing, especially when you don’t. And, some days, you just might pull it off. 

Thank you to Papago Golf Club for providing the space for this photo shoot and to all the mamas for your participation.