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The speaker of this excellent poem is a concerned mother who is tired and worried about the way that her children, a daughter and a son, invest so much time and energy into their looks but always seem to judge themselves harshy and as if they do not measure up to the beauty that they feel they must attain. The speaker describes the lengths that her children go to to make themselves beautiful or handsome and also their dedication: the way that they either stay up late or drag themselves out of bed early in the morning to do what they feel they need to do. Likewise the description of their "routines" is focused on the amount of effort they put into trying to make themselves conform to society's ideal of beauty. Thus we can see that the speaker is the mother of the children who worries about her children and their own sense of self.
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