Saying Goodbye to “Low Maintenance”

I’ve spent the last couple of years saying goodbye to the concept of “low maintenance“. Because the truth about low maintenance is that it’s often a cover for feelings of unworthiness. When a woman says she’s low maintenance, she might really be feeling “I’m not worth it“.

The truth about the low maintenance woman

Of course there are exceptions. Some women simply prefer not to wear makeup or spend money on their hair or wardrobe. But it was certainly the case for me. When I prided myself on being low maintenance, the truth was I simply felt unworthy. I thought I shouldn’t be spending money on myself. (But I had no problem spending on my kids!)

When I shopped, I often settled for something I didn’t love. Price meant more to me than having a wardrobe I felt great about.

The result was that I had many functional items in my wardrobe. I was proud that I got them on the cheap. But, I didn’t truly love or feel great in those things. This isn’t frugal in the long run. And it’s not exactly emotionally healthy either.

I vowed to change this. It started with a new purse. I desperately needed a replacement for my current handbag (yes, I only owned one!). And since it’s an accessory that gets lots of use and abuse, I decided not to settle for a $5 thrift store find. Instead, I hunted for a high-quality leather purse.

I picked it up at a consignment shop I love, with tags still on. It cost $25. I may have had to perform deep breathing exercises while I handed over my debit card. Later, I found that this particular purse retails for $150. It’s Italian leather. Score!

Playing in the dirt … with a stylish hat and pink frilly skirt.

To further battle my tendency towards low maintenance, I restarted my Stitch Fix subscription. And I love it. I dislike shopping, but I do want to look stylish. I like having a minimalist wardrobe of pieces that I truly love and feel comfortable in.

Do you think of yourself as a low-maintenance kind of gal? 

While we label ourselves this way, we may simultaneously envy and judge women we deem high-maintenance. Since we feel unworthy, we’re uncomfortable with women who didn’t share that sentiment about themselves.

Have you ever met a little girl who is low maintenance?

I haven’t. My four daughters love a little maintenance. They love to play dress up, to do their make-up and their hair. Mani-pedis are de rigeur. They take their appearance seriously. And they have fun with it!

My girls have definite preferences for their clothing too. And I applaud this. Because low maintenance sometimes means…

“I don’t feel good enough about my personal style to project it into the world, so I’ll just accept whatever to avoid being judged.”

If you discover that under your label of “low maintenance” you’re also struggling with feelings of unworthiness, what can you do? 

Start small. The next time you need something, whether it be a purse or shoes, don’t buy the cheapest thing available. Wait until you find something you really love. Spend a little more for quality. Stretch a little. LipSense, for example, costs $25 – but it’s a higher quality product that will last for 4-18 hours after you apply it. The Glossy Gloss healed my chronically chapped lips when no lip balm ever did

Spend time pampering your nails. Instead of shrugging it off as a waste of time, enjoy how your lovely hands make you feel more sophisticated and ladylike. (And wear gloves when you do housework!)

Find a grooming mentor. Maybe she’s the stereotypical French girl who masters the art of being effortlessly chic. Or your stylish Aunt who wore pearls to the grocery store. If she’s just an idea, give her a name. “What would Gabriella do?” Would Gabriella wear sweatpants to run errands? Non! 

Take care of your skin. Falling asleep without caring for your skin isn’t low-maintenance, it’s irresponsible. Just as we clean our teeth carefully before bed (because we only get one set!), we should also care for the skin we’re in. Take just a few minutes to remove makeup and apply a nice face cream (see my morning and evening skin care routine here).

What do you think? Are you a recovering low maintenance girl? 

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