Babble has a Style section, which presumably is totally helpful for people who, you know, care about fashion. Generally, I don’t become interested in fashion until it seeps into my life in the form of craptastic commercials for high-heeled sneakers aimed at my daughters. So, the thing is, I don’t usually read Babble’s fashion section. But I do follow Babble on Facebook, so sometimes the stuff comes across my radar.
Such was the case with a recent post called “25 Fashion Mistakes Moms Make.” I was intrigued, because I figured I had to be making at least half of those mistakes on any given Monday. So I checked it out. (Turns out I make more like 17 fashion mistakes on the daily.) Basically, the gist of the post is that new moms need to cover up all that baby weight.
There was a similar post at the end of last year titled “Biggest Mom Fashion Mistakes + Forgivable Fixes.” That one was less about hiding muffin tops and more about paying attention to one’s appearance and generally not looking like a slob. I was going to write about that one, but then I got distracted by a squirrel or something and forgot about it.
Look, fashion is fun. Fashion is expressive and creative and if you’re into it, that’s cool. It’s also an enormous industry that is primarily dedicated to making money, with the secondary effect of often making us feel bad about our bodies.
If you’re uncomfortable with the way your body looks after creating human life and expelling it from your body, I understand. Everything’s all out of whack and your clothes don’t fit like they used to. I’m sure these are all good tips for moms with the specific goal of looking “better” and feeling better about themselves.
It’s just that it’s also okay if that’s not your goal. If you just had a baby, it’s totally okay if all you care about right now is a nap. For God’s sake, do whatever you need to do to get through the day, my friend. You’re a mom, you’re beautiful. And your baby doesn’t care if you’re still wearing the same maternity yoga pants you slept in.
I work full time and I have four kids. While I try to look somewhat presentable, I live a fairly active life and my clothes reflect that. These posts suggest that I shouldn’t wear Capris or cargo shorts, but those are the things that suit me when I’m chasing my son around the playground.
I turn 40 next week. This is not middle school. I’m pretty sure my friends aren’t giving me the side-eye, thinking, “wow, she’d be so much cooler if she wore jeans that were more slimming” or “ugh, how can she show that arm flab?” I am also 100 percent sure that my mom friends have more important things to do than care about whether I wear the ”wrong kind of underwear.” Gah.
My two older daughters, however, are in middle school, and I’m very aware of the messages they’re getting. I don’t want to spend too much time and energy on wondering how big my thighs are or worrying about how my belly looks, because that’s not what I want them to focus on. I’d rather focus on the fact that my belly is a little stretched out because my uterus carried four children. I’d rather focus on the fact that while my thighs may not be model material, they propel me through laps at the pool. Parts of my body are soft. My kids like to sit on my lap. It’s okay.
Moms have an incredible amount of pressure on them from the moment we conceive. We’re supposed to breastfeed, but not too long. We’re supposed to feed our kids organic food and keep them safe, but not too much, because then we’re health nuts and helicopter moms. We’re supposed to volunteer our time but not be control freaks. We’re supposed to be thin but then if we’re too thin, we’re accused of not being “real women.” We’re supposed to work, and we’re supposed to stay home.
With all that on my plate, I’ll be damned if I’m going to worry about whether another mom thinks Capri pants make my legs look stocky. My legs are kind of stocky. Frankly, unless someone is selling magic pants that will alter my DNA, that’s not going to change. More importantly, I’m just fine with how my legs look.
I thought I’d share some of my own personal failings to make everyone else feel better about their “mistakes.” I didn’t even have to look very far: these are all just photos I had handy. Pretty much every photo of me in existence shows me making at least three “mom fashion mistakes.”
Enjoy my fails! I suspect I’m in good company.
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