Don’t you hate it when the skirt of your sequined ball gown bunches? Ugh, that’s the worst. Or when the tail of your furry raccoon skin hat keeps bumping into your neck? Or when the front half of your two-person horse costume won’t slow down and you have to run around after them like a half-horse crazy person? The point is, clothes are hard. And once you have kids, it gets even more complicated because all of a sudden, you need to make sure you’re not breaking any of the rules about what moms should wear. The last thing anyone wants to see is a mom who doesn’t look like a Mom, right?
OK, you can probably tell I’m kidding. But buried deep down in these jokes about moms and clothes is a teensy, tiny nugget of simple truth: becoming a mom can affect how you look and how you feel about how you look...and what people expect of how you look and what you wear. Say whatever you want about society’s expectations of female appearances — I’m not here to police or judge how anyone may or may not feel about that — but I think most of us can agree that it’s just not realistic to be on top of your appearance one hundred percent of the time. The good news, though? There is not one “right” way for a mom to look. Granted, we probably all see the same stereotypes when it comes to commercials for cleaning products (seriously, does anyone actually wear pastels when eating spaghetti with a toddler?) but that doesn’t mean we have to match them, and here’s why:
Your Kids Don’t Care What You Look Like
At least not until they're teenagers, from what I've heard.
Let's Repeat That: Your Kids Don’t Care What You Look Like
In fact, I think my son loves me more when I'm wearing a hoodie with banana and marker smeared on it. It usually means we've been having fun that day (or, that I was having a REALLY GOOD time by myself while he napped). He also thinks it's hilarious when I put his tiny hats on my head. Clearly, style is not his thing.
People Who Love You Don’t Care What You Look Like
Granted, my husband's not quite as amused as our toddler when those tiny hats come out, or when I'm hanging out at home in clothes with food smears, but he doesn't judge me for it either.
Really, Anyone Who’s Not A Jerk Doesn’t Care What You Look Like
I can't think of any good reason why a stranger should care how you look, unless you're wearing a shirt with hate speech on it or something, and hopefully you'd never do that.
What Does "Looking Like A Mom" Even Mean?
Every person who's ever been born ever has had at least one mom, so how about we avoid even implying that it's possible to reduce "how a mom looks" to any narrow set of standards. It's cultural, it's social, it's personal, and it's just vague enough to make it totally impossible to conform to successfully. "Looking like a mom" is the kind of demand placed on women where we're supposed to both strive for it (because otherwise, slutty bad mom) and aggressively avoid it (because if successful, washed-up old lady). It means nothing, and hurts women everywhere.
Your Ability To Mother Isn’t Affected By How You Look
Exceptions are: super constricting corset, stilts or roller skates. Otherwise, you can still be awesome at it.
Because Normcore Is A Thing, So You If You Want To, You *Can* Claim Your Sitcom-Style To Be Trendy And Cutting Edge
Speaking of changing trends, I didn't see this one coming. If looking like that quintessential stereotype is your thing, then what a time to be alive!
“Looking Like A Mom” Is A Moving Target. Just Look Like You.
Who's really out there defining what moms are supposed to look like, anyways? The idealized image is always changing, so I feel like our time's better spent figuring out what makes us feel good.
There Will Be Days When You Need To Prioritize Function
I can't be the only one who has days where making it from my pajamas into actual jeans is worth a celebration.
You’re Going To Get Messy
This one's low on the list, but the last thing you need to be worrying when a tiny human needs you is how much it matters that there are smeared peas on your pants.
Because Looking Like A Mom Can Mean Looking Like Beyoncé, So.
If we want to get technical, it is true.