“Never leave the house without your lipstick and pearls,” my grandmother would say. As long as you had those things, she claimed, you were considered fully dressed. She was of an era of up-dos and crinolin. She had class, style, and charisma.

The Associated Press recently asked me what I thought about the term ‘momshell’. Quite honestly, I had never heard of the word before. But it says a lot about self-care today. We women want to be visible even when we have children.

michelleI remember the first time I felt invisible. All eyes were on the baby, and I was the backdrop. It felt strange, and oddly comforting, as if I didn’t have to be on display anymore, sporting a size 4 or sucking in my stomach to look like all those 18-year-old models. Being pregnant liberated me from belts and other restrictive clothing.

Then came the transition into toddlerhood, when the children and my parenting became more transparent. Their behavior reflected on me, and suddenly I became centerstage again. Only this time the stage was cluttered with rotten tomatoes thrown at us non-perfect moms.

Momshells are women who care for themselves, who want to look and feel good. I mentioned Michelle Obama as an example of someone who is beautiful inside and out and who has made the sacrifices of motherhood more visible. That, to me, is beauty in motion. And a dash of lipstick can never hurt.

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Family First – First Family

November 30, 2008

michelle-obamaMichelle Obama is a woman with priorities. Attempting to maintain normalcy in her daughters’ lives won’t be easy, but she is committed to trying. While life as the First Lady certainly won’t be slow, she has exuded a level-headedness I find inspiring. We mothers can learn from her choices as she raises stay-at-home mom to a different level. In fact, Obama will be a work-from-home dad once he enters the White House.

What lessons have you learned from Michelle Obama? Weigh in.