My Instagram post this morning has got me thinking about mom style again so I thought I would quickly share my thoughts with the hope that y’all find them encouraging rather than discouraging, empowering rather than deflating.
Here’s my basic stance on mom style: wear whatever YOU feel great in. Just because I love dresses doesn’t mean you need to. Just because I feel naked without accessories doesn’t mean you have to wear them too. I love makeup, always have always will, and I wear at least mascara and lipstick every day. Lots of women can’t be bothered with makeup and that is totally fine. I don’t subscribe to rules about how to dress for your body shape or what colours fit your ‘season’, etc. – not that those rules/guidelines/whateveryouwanttocallthem aren’t helpful, but I think how you feel trumps rules. I could be in an outfit that fits all the rules, but if it doesn’t make my heart sing, I’m going to feel like crap and subsequently look like crap. Conversely, if I’m wearing a rule breaker colour that I looooovveee, no one will notice it doesn’t suit my skin tone – they’ll be too busy picking up my confident, happy vibe.
The kicker is that YOU *need* to feel great in what you put on your body. If you don’t, that’s probably a sign that something is off. If your immediate response to someone else’s mom style is to defend your own, I’m going to suggest that maybe you are not as comfortable as you’re claiming. We tend not to defend ourselves when we are content with who we are and what we are doing, IMHO.
When I started thrifting and blogging, I aimed to demonstrate that you don’t need money, time or a smaller body to look good. I considered myself a good example that it CAN be done because:
- I have 3 children
- I was a busy working mother and frequent solo-parenter
- I worked in preschool and played on the floor with dirt, snot, paint – you name it
- I had little money to spend on myself
- I had little time to shop
- I had little time to get ready
- I’m grateful for my body but I am not one of those size 4s that can wear a sack and look good
- I haven’t really had a full night’s sleep since 2005 – it definitely gets easier as they get older but now I’m conditioned to wake up and I do
I know many mothers contend with other challenging circumstances, so I don’t represent everyone. Still, I think I can find common ground with most moms. Many days when my kids were all little, my only goal was to get out the door clean, and if I managed that it was usually late with an awful lot of yelling and a trail of debris in my wake. I’m not proud of that but it’s the truth. Over time, I managed to fill my closet with pieces that fit my body and my personal style so that no matter how rushed I am, I can put on something that reflects good mom style, i.e., something I feel good in. I think it’s time to stop glorifying the busy mom who has no time to think of herself. I think pretending there is no choice is not helping anyone.
Before you start an angry comment, let me say, I am for you. I’ve been there, I’ve held these attitudes tightly (“I have no time to think of myself, I have no choice, I’m doing my best”). I now think they’re simply not true and in fact harmful to a mom’s mental health. I want you to take time to think of yourself – it’s called self-care and it is tremendously important, even before it became a buzzword. (FYI, OTs have always held self-care dear.) Depending on your stage, this may be 2 minutes while you lock yourself in the bathroom. Start wherever you’re at and gradually build up the time for you. Your kids and your family will be better off for it. As for choices, assuming you’re not leaving the house naked, you’re putting something on your body! Why not put something on that makes you feel good?! If you don’t have anything of that description, gradually find things that do. No money? That’s why thrifting is great. It only takes a few pieces to have tons of variety in your wardrobe. Start with one pair of jeans – you might have to try on 50 at the thrift store to find one, but you should be able to find a pair for less than $10 secondhand. You could also host a clothing swap with your mom friends to find some new pieces and add some novelty to your wardrobe. Even a scarf swap can bring vitality to your style. No clean laundry? I hear you Sister!! That’s what the scarf is for. 😉 If your closet is a disaster zone, bit by bit, get it organized. If you can afford it, get help. My girl Jennifer of Life Preloved back in Edmonton is offering this service and I used to. We are for you and we are here for you. If you can’t afford it, enlist the help of a bossy friend! I bet she’ll be quite pleased to help you figure out what to keep, what to donate, and where to put everything.
Every mother I know is doing their best. And when we know more, we do better – our best changes. Think about what message you want to share with the world and with what is most precious to you – your children. Every day that I wake up, I have the chance to leave a bit of me on the world around me. I want that bit to be confidence, happiness, kindness, authenticity, peace – all of which is easier to achieve when I feel good in what I’m wearing. I want my daughter and my sons to know that it’s okay to have jammie days, but it’s also okay to want to look your best, to invest in yourself. That is not pride or vanity. Putting my best self forward brings glory to the One who created me.
Soooooo, if my insta post or this post is stirring up a response in you, I truly hope you’re feeling encouraged and empowered. To the trainer who legit wears workout gear all the time, you go girl! Those are words that will never pass my lips but I love it on you! To the mom making the choice to get to the park instead of getting put together, my bet is you are put together and you’re making your choices confidently! Love it! To the mom in the thick of wee ones, girl, it IS a win to get out the door some days. It gets easier, I promise. Let’s just press on so that we have more days where we feel good in our clothes than not, where we are intentional rather than defaulting. Tip the balance in our favour! I have yet to meet a woman who regrets making this shift, who doesn’t feel great after finding clothes that fit her body and her style.
I’ll stop now but know that you are always welcome here for encouragement. I might not be able to go thrifting with you, but I can cheer you on virtually! I also think everyone should follow Stasia for her motivating style posts. She can teach you rules if you want them, she can help you figure out what you’ll feel good in, what makes your heart sing, what clothes on the outside match your awesome inside! Real mom style is growing, slowly surpassing the lovely but unattainable “fashion” of magazines and celebrities. Join us, we’ll have a blast!