OK, let’s change the subject from shots and drugs and hospitals for a moment. There’s an issue that I’ve been enjoying pondering for a while that I was reminded of in one of the fascinating comments to Danielle Bean’s post about NFP. (I’ve been pouring over every word of those comments — a fascinating, and surprisingly calm, discussion.)
A commentor said this:
It is a much better representation of a big Catholic family to have a mother who also looks nice. There is one family at our church with 9 or 10 kids, and the mom always looks great. Very put together and fashionable, as do all the kids. They make me want to follow their example, and a big family just looks so doable…. On the other hand, when I see a frumpy, haggard looking mom with 9 kids and it looks like all they had time to do was roll out of bed and fumble for the nearest article of clothing, I subconsciously think…. ugh, I would never want to be them.
I care quite a bit about my physical appearance. I’m not obsessed with it, and I never seem to care quite enough to get to the gym regularly, but it is something I’m very aware of. So I’ve been thinking about the issue that this commentor brought up.
I feel like it’s a really good thing to make a significant effort to look nice, especially as my family grows (I don’t mean “sexy” of course, just healthy and well dressed). Primarily for myself and my husband and family, since I’m a big believer that the way you look on the outside impacts the way you feel on the inside, but also as an ambassador for Christianity/Catholicism. Not many people have big families these days so, like it or not, you attract a certain amount of curiosity and attention when you do. And, though people should not judge based on physical appearance, they do. And like this commentor said, if you look frumpy and haggard all the time it confirms in many people’s minds the stereotype that it’s just soooooooo hard to have a big family. Of course looking good is not priority number one (or even number five), but if you can, I seems like it could make a big difference for yourself and for what you represent to other people.
That said…is this just vanity? Should you not concern yourself with your physical appearance and what it may represent to others? There’s a fine line there somewhere, I’m just not sure where it is.
So, to you commentors (especially women): how concerned are you with your appearance, and how do you distinguish between that and vanity? What do you think of the comment I quoted above?
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