I've noticed that since Charlotte was born my fashion sense has undergone an interesting transformation. I was never very concerned with wearing the latest trends, fashions, or designer labels (hello, teacher's salary) but I did try to pull together a cute ensemble every day, and enjoyed the rush brought on by finding a new top in a great color, or a snappy pair of metallic flats that fit perfectly. I showered every morning before work, and blow-dried hair and make-up were part of my daily routine.
Somewhere around the time when my maternity pants no longer fit but neither did my old jeans so I had to go buy pants in a bigger size than I ever have, I stopped caring much about my appearance. I suddenly felt perfectly comfortable appearing in public wearing baggy lounge pants and an over-sized tank top, as long as Baby Girl was wearing a cute outfit. I still experience the joy of retail therapy, but now it happens when I find an adorable pair of leggings and tunic top for Baby Girl. I have had to do some shopping for myself (still in-between sizes...closer to pre-baby weight but not quite there, and needed something to wear to Bible study besides sweats and a long-sleeved tee) but I'd much rather find cute outfits for Sweetums.
You know those people on What Not to Wear that we all shake our heads at, wondering what happened to their self-esteem? Yeah, I'm that person. It's not that I don't care about how I look, it's more that it takes so much effort to look cute. Now I have to take a shower while Little Britches is napping, wasting precious "me time," or bring her into the bathroom with me and hope she doesn't learn how to open the cupboard doors (we really need to get those child locks on). She's not a big fan of the sound the hair dryer makes, and she usually wants to be up on the counter with me while I apply make-up, meaning I have to do everything one-handed while I keep hold of her with the other. It's exhausting.
After all, it's not like people are looking at me anyway - they only have eyes for my adorable Sweetness. I heard somewhere that when you become a mother, you go from being the picture to becoming the frame. It's kind of a strange metaphor, but very true if you think about it. You are no longer the focus - your baby is. Your job is now to hold her up, support her and make her complete. It's a wonderful job, but still quite a shift in roles.
I suppose if I were still working it would be different...I would make more of an effort because Little Britches wouldn't be at my side every minute. I would have the chance to "be the picture" for a little bit again. I can see the appeal. I'm so impressed by my mom friends who work outside the home, how they pull themselves and their little ones together every day in time to get out the door long before I'm even up. I don't know how they do it. I've chosen not to try...does that make me lazy?
I guess it comes down to identity. Changing your identity from "teacher" to "mommy" is a monumental shift...one I've made gladly, but still a shift. I'm definitely still adjusting. I tell myself that once I've finished losing the last of the baby weight, when I can wear my old clothes again, I'll make more of an effort on my own appearance. Maybe it'll happen, maybe not. We'll see. My true identity is that I'm a daughter of the King...but even that's confusing. Should I make an effort to look nice as befitting a princess? Or do I instead focus only on trying to make my inside beautiful, since "youth is fleeting and beauty is vain" (or something like that)?
I've thought about doing one of those "what I wore" series, where you take a picture of yourself on a certain day every week so that you have more motivation to pull yourself together. I'm still thinking about it. My lounge pants are awfully comfy...but I'm sure my hubby would appreciate it if I wasn't still wearing my pjs when he got home. Thus the appeal of pajama jeans...it looks like you got dressed, but really you're just wearing sweats! Ok, I don't actually own a pair, but I've thought about buying some.
Obviously I don't really have a point to make, just that I'm struggling with how much of a priority my outward appearance should be. I'd welcome your thoughts...do you try to look as cute as your children, or are you too busy to bother? How do you balance being a mommy and being a woman? Most importantly, what are your thoughts on pajama jeans?