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“Dig deep, and you’ll find something for you,” my mother said as she gently set an enormous bag of baby clothes on my hospital bed.

As we admired each tiny outfit one-by-one, as only a fresh mom and grandmother can, I forgot her words. When I delved one last time, all I grasped was a tiny black box.

My mom appeared to be deep in thought, memorizing every feature of my tiny baby’s face, who miraculously and conveniently slept soundly in the bassinet for the first time in two days. I think Mom was looking for traces of my daddy, who died suddenly seven years prior, and whose absence that day loomed so heartbreakingly, neither of us could bring ourselves to acknowledge it.

So when her words cut through the heavy silence, I was almost startled. Never even looking up from her grandchild, she said simply, “Don’t forget you in this process. It’s MAC Viva Glam 1, and it’ll last all day.”


A day later, I fumbled through a still-shaky diaper change, coaxed the uncooperative limbs of my cranky, toothless cherub into her “going home” outfit, and strapped her incorrectly into her brand new travel system.

In the mirror, I stared groggily at a new mom I barely recognized and dutifully applied my new lipstick – a matte, rich shade of red I would have never purchased for myself. After three days of caring for a new human on almost no sleep and with zero experience, my confidence was gone. I smiled weakly back at the stranger. If the lipstick wasn’t right for me, I was too tired to care.

When a nurse knocked softly at the door, “Your husband is downstairs with the car,” she smiled brightly. “Girl, you look like you’ve got it all together. Even lipstick! This comes easy for some and you look beautiful!”

She said everything I needed to hear and her words got me through a rough few months. When motherhood came anything but easy, at least I looked the part.

By virtue of the fact you’re now a mom, you’ll always know the perfect gift for a new baby, even if their mom doesn’t, yet.

Never forget the lipstick at the bottom of the bag. For her, for you, for every mom who needs to feel beautiful.

Courtney lives with her two children and husband in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She wears red lipstick while blogging about mom things, writing for a local lifestyle magazine and attending MOPS.