I was working at a female-centric TV network when I had my kids. Most of my co-workers were women, and, while there wasn’t a strict professional dress code, a fashion savvy sensibility prevailed. For someone like me, who wore black all through high school and deliberately veered away from anything trendy, dressing for work was stressful. I wanted to fit in, but I also wanted to look like me. Luckily, becoming a mom absolved me of that pressure. Once you’ve grown, birthed, and are raising a human, there are certain fashion “statements” only moms get a pass to make.
After having a kid, my appearance became a much lower priority. People joke about the “mom haircut" and the "mom jeans" and the mom [insert anything a woman who has decided to procreate wears, here], but the reality is that we’re just seeking out time-saving options. Once I was a mom of two, my standards dropped even lower. I rarely buy any clothes with prints on them because I can’t spare the extra second it takes to think about what to pair a floral top with. Dressing in solid colors is just quicker and more efficient, so if I were to open my closet it would reveal nothing but a sea of gray, black, and navy.
I still attempt outfits that reflect my personal style, but motherhood has definitely allowed fashion’s grip on my self-esteem to relax. The great thing about having little kids is that you can practically blame anything on them, including some of these fashion “statements" I'm sure most mothers are pulling off on the daily:
The official Mom Uniform, for those not yet initiated, is an oversized tunic, sweatpants (preferably without a drawstring because who has the time?), or yoga pants if your pre-baby life required them, socks (not necessarily matching) and slip-on footwear. Hawt.
Yogurt Polka Dots
My daughter loved her yogurt, but I wonder if she ever got a real good taste of it, since so much of it ended up on my shirt. However, the splattering was almost artful and, from a distance, the yogurt stains looked like a deliberate pattern of dots.
Same Shirt Sunday
It’s Sunday, which is my laundry day, but I still need something to wear on laundry day, so I'll be wearing the same shirt I’ve been wearing since Wednesday. Once it’s been spit up on, why tempt fate by changing it for a clean one?
Moby Wrap As Belt...
Seriously, this thing was such an ordeal for me to get on in a secure way, that I basically just left it on after taking the baby out of it. I cinched it around my waist and voila. So stylish.
Sometimes an endless swath of jersey stretch fabric is what you need to wear your baby (and hide your unwashed hair). That Moby wrap is just so damn versatile.
A Birkin Bag
Kidding. I meant a burpin’ bag: a duffel-sized sack I lugged around to carry the millions of burp clothes and diapers and wipes I needed to clean up my baby’s lava-like output from both ends, due to some digestive issue she was sure to have at some point in a three hour car trip.
The Single Earring
I am either channeling my inner '80s new waver, or my toddler has ripped the other hoop out of my ear and it’s nowhere to be found. Fashionably edgy, either way.
What’s this over here? (Inhales deeply.) Oh, pureed sweet potato. And this splotch? (Takes a whiff.) Ah, day-old breast milk. But this spot on the elbow? That’s just the stain of the tears I’m perpetually shedding in a state of joyful exhaustion, and relief that nobody expects my clothes to be clean ever again.
Inside T-Shirt Dress
This is the fashion statement I didn’t even know I was making, until my husband pointed it out several hours after we had left the house. The good news is that if there is any baby byproduct on there (and when isn’t there?), I can turn it right side in to reveal a clean outfit. Win-win.
Wore a hole in your leggings? Cut them off at the knee to make short leggings (shleggings) and they’ll see you through the summer season. Crafty.
No, not those pleated high-waisted numbers (unless you’re beyond irony in your commitment to hipsterdom). I’m talking about the ones with the maternity panel you’re still wearing because they are so comfortable, and you’d like to get just a little more use out of them. To be economical, you know? It’s really more about sensible finances than fashion in this case.
I am probably one of the rare humans who doesn’t absolutely love staying in my pajamas all day. However, that’s essentially what I was doing when I’d fall asleep in my clothes after days on end of cluster-feeds during my maternity leave. In that case, I would just own it. I believe the retailers call it “loungewear,” so I’ll go with that.