The other evening I sat with one of my girlfriends at her kitchen table while we sipped champagne and chatted with her milkshake-drinking daughter. As the little girl began playing with the straw and sloshing the melting whipped cream around, her mom told her nicely to stop. Of course, being an inquisitive young thing, the girl asked why she had to stop. My friend responded that it wasn't ladylike to nearly spill your milkshake everywhere. And then the sweet little girl said something that really stopped me in my tracks. "I don't want to be a lady. I want to be a kid," she complained.
Of course, the matter was settled shortly because my friend is a constant lady and expects manners from her children. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but think about the number of mornings I've grouchily gotten out of bed and wanted to throw on yoga pants, an oversize sweater, and a messy bun as opposed to putting on my usual uniform of ankle pants, a blouse, and carefully styled hair. Or those instances when tucking my legs under me sounds a lot more comfortable than having them elegantly crossed at the ankle. Some days it seems so much easier to give in and just be a kid or a "normal" person than to make the conscious decision to be ladylike.
However, I think it's really important to maintain our standards of behavior. It's who we are in private or in the every day moments that defines our character. I don't want to be a person who doesn't present the best version of herself to the world. Certain people can get away with casual looks and behavior, and for those people, keep doing what you're doing if it makes you happy. But if you know that you feel your best when you practice certain ladylike rituals, then don't give into the temptation to be lazy with your look and actions.
As Jennifer L. Scott mentions in her new book Polish Your Poise (which I purchased on my Kindle despite vowing not to buy anymore books. Oops), Jennifer says "When you are alone and no one is watching, you are your true self, your most authentic. That's why it's the best time to cultivate poise and make changes in your life." To my mind, this means that in the moments where I feel least inclined to practice ladylike behaviors are when it's most important to do so.
Here's a quick snippet of Jennifer talking about her new book on her YouTube video below: