Pre-newborn, I put quite a bit of thought into my wardrobe. I loved getting creative with my outfits, mixing and matching to my heart’s content. And even though I work from home, I found it absolutely essential to dress up for work. Monday through Friday, you’d find me in a complete head-to-toe ensemble, perfectly accessorized and polished.
I loved getting dressed so much that I feared how my habits would change when I welcomed a newborn into my life. Naturally (and obsessively, I’ll admit), I combed through my closet during my ninth month of pregnancy, dividing my clothing into piles of nursing-friendly, spit-uppable and postpartum tummy-accepting categories. And I thought I’d figured it out. I’d finally cracked the code to maintaining personal style while caring for a newborn.
And then my daughter arrived. And I laughed at myself. So very hard.
Suddenly, the headscarves I’d thought I’d wear in constant rotation (due to a lack of showering, I’d assumed!) seemed like the furthest thing on my mind. Yes, I hadn’t showered, and yes, a headscarf would be the perfect remedy for a pile of dirty hair. Yet where was the remedy for completely not caring what I looked like? Which store sold that at 20% off?
Those first few weeks were rough, and honestly, I wanted to look as bad as I felt. I was recovering physically and adjusting emotionally. Where did my jersey fabric maxi skirts fit into that picture? So I let myself wallow, embracing my yoga pants and stained tees for the first month of my daughter’s life. And I felt horrible.
Until my 7th wedding anniversary last week. We had arranged for my mother-in-law to babysit for the evening so my husband and I could enjoy a nice, grown-up dinner. And for the first time in weeks, I forced myself to dress appropriately. And it felt 100% amazing.
I quickly realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by refusing to put myself together in the morning. I had the time. I had the energy. I had the wardrobe. And just because I could use the “I have a newborn” excuse didn’t mean I should. And for me, it was time to buck up and get dressed.
Of course, my new uniform looks very differently from my pre-baby days of heels and frocks. In fact, I wear the same thing almost daily: a vintage gray deep v-neck tee, boyfriend jeans and my favorite pair of hot pink moccasins (yes, those exist). It’s fuss-free, completely washable and doesn’t force me to think about my outfit in the morning. And when I feel like switching it up, I’ll throw on a headscarf and some lipstick.
And you know what? Getting dressed has made me a better mom. I’m sure of it. When my daughter’s fussy, we can hop in the car and run errands without a moment’s notice. And when a neighbor wants to drop by and visit, I don’t decline because I have spit-up in my hair (although yes, that still happens).
But most of all, I feel like myself. A different version of myself, yes. But a version that I know is going to be the best mom she can be, sans heels.
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