by Deanna Cogdon Miller
Stacy and Clinton would have a field day in my closet. Another zip-up hoodie? How many hair clips do you have? Jeans and capris, jeans and capris, jeans and capris. Black, black, black, oh look some grey, oh and more black. Do you even have any shoes? And by the way, Chuck Taylors and flip-flops don’t count.
Thanks to a viewing of their show, TLC’s What Not to Wear, I had a major lightbulb moment this week – I left my style behind when I started having kids five years ago. My life became quick and comfy. Clothes I can throw on quickly and hair that I can put up so it looks somewhat ‘done’ as I head out the door. I get colour in my cheeks by pinching them when I hop in the car and jewellery doesn’t even enter my mind for fear that little hands will pull it or little mouths will try to eat it.
Sadly, this style that you’d think would last only while on maternity leave carried into my work life as well. Quick outfits, one or two pairs of shoes and I can’t tell you how many times my wet hair has been thrown up as I walked out the door to work.
As I watched the young mom on the show get emotional when they told her that by not taking care of herself, she gives off the impression that she doesn’t care about other things in her life, I really felt for her. After all, an argument could be made for the complete opposite. Perhaps after waking up in the morning she spends her time getting breakfast, cleaning dishes, making lunches, packing bags, getting kids dressed, brushing hair, brushing teeth, and when all that is done, she takes whatever time she has left and does her best to get herself ready. Maybe she cares so much that the kids are prepped and ready that she sacrifices her time.
I’m not saying that it’s right, I’m just saying that I’ve experienced how it can happen and how once you get into the “mommy quick change artist” routine, it can actually be quite an effort to get back.
But I want back. I feel great when I take the time to put on a little make-up. I feel great when I have clothes that fit well and don’t have baby boogers on the shoulder or oatmeal stuck at two-year old height on my pant leg. I feel great in heels and I feel great when my hair is actually blown dry and styled.
Just like the mom on the show, I realized that busy doesn’t equate to sacrifice. Small changes in routine are needed to give me the time I need to get ready in the morning and small changes in mindset are needed to convince myself that I deserve to spend money on a wardrobe that I can feel good about. The reality is that right now, my kids have more style and are better dressed than I am. And seriously, there is never a time in life when a mom should be jealous of her five-year old’s shoe collection. It’s just plain wrong.
Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she's not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.