“You look fabulous.”

It’s a compliment I get from time to time when walking my son to school.

The funny thing is, all I’ve done is roll out of bed and thrown on some clothes so I could get through the morning routine and get my little ones out the door. With three kids age 5 and under, I’m lucky if I even brush my teeth before we leave.

Allow me to divulge my secrets of how to be a beautiful mom on the go.

Wear Makeup Well

I get the most compliments the day after I’ve had an evening function. That’s because as an exhausted mom, I was too tired to wash my face in the morning, so I still had makeup on from the night before!

Just make sure you wipe the smudges away before leaving the house and taking your kids to school.

Dry Shampoo is Your Friend

Once in a blue moon I blow-dry my hair. When I do, I make sure to ride that wave as long as I can. Dry shampoo and avoiding hair ties is key (but see below under “signature hair style” for the other side of the coin).

Set the Bar Low

I’m not a glamour gal, but I sure like to pretend I am. Most days I’m fresh-faced and in my workout clothes hoping to carve out time to go for a run in between work (at home, no nice clothes required) and school pick-ups. If I show up at my kids’ schools in anything other than spandex, such as my thigh-high boots and a skirt, I get a few second takes.

But glamour doesn’t mean we need to look like Gwen Stefani every day, either.

We can define our own glamour. Here’s how:

Find a Signature Style

The Spice Girls were onto something with defining their style by character. Most days I’m Sporty Spice, always ready to go for a run or chase my kids. When I look at my mom friends, I see Hippie Spice, Boho Spice, Designer Spice, REI Spice, LL Bean Spice, and Knee-High Boots-with-Everything Spice.

Wearing what makes you happy and comfortable instantly enables you to exude your own personal brand of glamour.

Find a Signature Hair Style

I have no skills or patience when it comes to my hair. I keep it long so I can tie it back and it still looks relatively sophisticated. I wear it up so frequently that my almost-3-year-old demands, “Put your hair up,” whenever it’s down. Find something that works for you and roll with it, whether it’s a headband, sweatband, hair clip, whatever. Better than that: Own it.

Designate Favorites

I do laundry on an almost daily basis, partly because I have three messy kids, but mostly because I have a few items I love so much I wear them several times a week. Having my go-to black workout tights or my long sweater that hides all stains fresh and clean makes morning choices so much easier.

Lipstick is Your Friend

A few of my friends are not afraid to wear a bold lipstick color, and it really pulls everything together. You can look ragged and rough, but a lipstick shade that complements your look can change not only how you appear to others, but how you feel on the inside. It’s a transformation in 10 seconds or less. I swipe on my Just Bitten — and watch out!

Happy Kids Are the Best Accessory

When my kids are content, our home functions better. What makes my children happiest is having me involved and engaged with them. While I wouldn’t mind being able to look in the mirror some mornings before heading out, the extra hugs and kisses I trade in for my vanity are well worth it.

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