Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Mother's Style

A dear friend blogged about a recent visit to her town's festival of trees. She wrote:

I want to know why EVERY woman I saw there was dressed to the nines, had the
most stylish handbags, had no hair out of place, and had faultless make-up---- including the ones with perfectly stylish babies and strollers.

I'm aware that I fell off the fashion train some time ago, but SHEESH! Where are
these women coming from? What do they do all day?

I identify with this sentiment completely. While I try to be clean and presentable, I don't check my hair or make-up multiple times daily. I have no spare change for the latest anything. It got me to thinking about a story I read years ago. It's about Marjorie Pay Hinkley, one of my Mothering Mentors. One of her daughters wrote:

When we were young, it was very uncommon to have mothers in the
classroom--or anywhere at school. I remember only one day. We were
having a program in the lunchroom. Chairs lined the room, and the children
sat in them as we waited for the mothers to arrive. I noticed with curious
interest as each mother came in and then made her way to sit with her
child. The mother who came through the door just before mine was wearing
spiked heels and a darling dress and had all of this foofy hair. Yes, she
was young and, I thought, beautiful. In fact, she looked like a teenager. As she made her way over to her tap-dancer daughter (of course, I thought), I looked up to see my mother come through the same door. With that instant juxtaposition, I will never forget the flood of security and happiness I felt when I saw her--no foofy hair or spiked heels, not very young or very beautiful, dressed in her typically tidy house-dress. There was a warm, comfortable feeling and the thought clear as neon: "Oh, I'm so glad that my mother looks like a real mother! Whatever would a person do
if her only mother wore darling dresses and had painted fingernails?"

~Pearce, Virginia H. Glimpses Into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinkley. Deseret Book Company: Salt Lake City, 1999. pg 49. Emphasis added.

While I will do the best I can, I'd rather people look at me and know that I am a mother, not a celebrity. I'll do all I can to avoid "frumpy," I won't wear sweat pants unless I'm running, and I vow to try to remember to put make-up on both eyelids, but I don't want to look like a teenager. I'm pretty sure I would just come off looking stupid.



PS A comment on Betsy's blog included this quote. It must be included here.

I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley



  1. Read the quote my friend, Mindy, put after your quote. I loved them both. Thank you, friend for reminding me what's what!

  2. I had to at it as an addendum. It is perfect.

  3. I'd never heard that quote before. Thanks for sharing. Lately I've realized that the styles (not that I keep up with them) aren't really for me anymore. Because I'm not a teenager. Or in college. I can't help but think that adopting cookie-cutter styles, like many women do, disappoints God, who loves us each the same, but doesn't necessarily want us to look the same. My 2 cents. . .

  4. Emily this is very ironic that you post this today. I am actually sort of emotional...because these thoughts have been on my mind.

    Utah blessed utah- I want to get the heck out of here. If only I could be more like Marjorie.

    Marjorie Hinckley is my #1 idol.

    This week I learned that a very good friend of mine who only has two children and wears the big crazy utah hair and high heels with all the danglies hanging every where- the tinseling of the feet- anyway despite this she is my great friend- she has decided at 28 years old to tie her tubes, get a tummy tuck and a boob job. I cried like a baby when I found out.

    I wrote her a letter expressing my love and also my concern for her major decision- I ironically said in my letter, "I want to look like Marjorie Hinckley when I die if it means I lived a life like she did- so full of love and service"

    anyway my friend is very special to me and her style is just who she is- she is truly herself with all the make-up and stylish clothes- but still it confuses me

    I thought saggy boobs from nursing was a beautiful thing- not here it isn't. The women are so hard on sad.

    there is a major attack on women- and yet we are supposed to only love and cherish these ladies who go through such a trial of not knowing how to love themselves completely.

    Today I talked with my friend and the conclusion my heart made the end all I can do is love and not judge- and not somehow get sucked up into the strong culture. But just love and continue to serve those who make decisions you can never agree with morally.

    I just want to move to the mountains sometimes.