Monday, May 13, 2013

Strut Your Stuff, Hot Mama!

Yesterday was Mothers' Day (I like to put the apostrophe there because it's not about just one mother--not sure what the official punctuation is), the one day a year when some women actually get to think about themselves.  A crazy concept, I know.  I've seen a lot of ads advertising "Mother's Day specials" on esthetic services like facials and manicures, and I venture to guess that those services are the focus of a lot of Mothers' Day gifts.  Though well-intentioned, I'm not sure I like the message that this one time out of the year, Mom should be allowed to primp and preen.  And, as is my opinion about most motherhood "problems," a lot of the attitude starts with us.

This is one of the two cards my husband got me for Mothers' Day this year.  I don't see myself this way at all.  It is a clear reminder of how we can view ourselves so differently from how others view us.  As thankful as I am to
have such a supportive husband, it doesn't remedy the problem.

After we have children, our focus changes.  It doesn't matter what we're wearing as long as our kids look cute (after all, we are always BEHIND the camera).  Our bodies might have changed after pregnancy.  A patient whose daughter is three told me last week that she wears pretty much the same thing every day because nothing fits.  One of my close friends held out hope and put off buying new shoes for six months after her feet grew during pregnancy.  We're always hoping to go back to the person we were before baby, even though that's rarely a possibility.  Even if we are the same weight, we are inevitably changed by the experience.  Then there's the lack of time: I have yet to see the toddler who is patient enough to let his mother try anything on at the store.  I know that many of us resort to throwing things in the cart at Target while we're doing the rest of the shopping, hoping that something will actually fit.  Besides, it's hard to find fashionable clothes that are affordable AND easy-care (heaven knows how much schmutz is going to end up on them).  Not to mention that at some point you realize that no matter how much makeup you pile on, you still look tired.  And those ponytails are so convenient, which means more time to play with the kid before work....The list of reasons not to get put-together every day goes on and on. 

My job has made me especially lazy because I can get away with wearing scrubs every day.  I noticed recently that over the last six months, scrubs have become my regular uniform.  It's not that scrubs actually save me much time--I still shower, put on makeup, and dry my hair (a short hairstyle that became a necessity after Asher was born because I didn't have 45 minutes to do my hair every morning)--but somehow I justified that my mornings were busy and scrubs were simply easier.  And cheaper.  And never went out of style.  And hid a multitude of figure flaws.  And, hey, I was still taking the time to do my hair and makeup, so that's taking care of business, right?

The reality is that wearing scrubs every day was reflecting an inner frumpiness.  I had gone from being a professional, confident woman to being a working mother, and I wasn't completely confident in either the "working" or the "mother" part of that equation.  My identity was drowning in a sea of "blues," smudged by snot and spilled milk, among other things.

Then, about a month ago, I decided to use some store credit to order a new dress, shades of pink in a geometric print, bright and perfect for spring.  When it arrived, I let it sit in the box for a couple of days.  Hubby couldn't understand why I didn't want to try it on, but I was scared--if it didn't fit or simply looked awful, it would just confirm the insecurity that I was already feeling.  Finally, on a weekend when no one else was around, I tried it on...and it fit...and looked damn good.  And I couldn't wait to wear it to work.

Since then, I've bought a few more dresses: comfy but bright and colorful and feminine, and all purchased online at a deep discount price from one of the same outlet sites I usually look at for toddler clothes and paraphernalia.  I have only worn scrubs on the days that really require them.  As a result, I find myself standing a bit taller and feeling more confident.  I admit that part of me wants to run and hide whenever anyone comments on what I'm wearing--I have spent so long hiding behind those scrubs--but I'm sure that if the trend continues, it won't seem like such an anomaly, and eventually, the attention won't feel so foreign and uncomfortable.

More importantly, I have reminded myself that I'm still a woman who deserves to feel good about herself all the time, not just on special occasions.  It doesn't matter how impatient the toddler, or how much your shape has changed, or how tight your family's budget might be, you deserve to look at least as good as your kid, and there are ways to make it work.  It's time to start showing who you really are.

No comments:

Post a Comment