It’s possible that I missed a few key chapters in those how-to-not-fail-miserably-as-a-parent books, but I don’t remember seeing much about what moms should wear. I mean, beyond the occasional recommendation to avoid underwire bras and tight pants in the early weeks, and to not wear anything prone to bursting into flames like it’s the 78th annual Hunger Games. Past that, I didn't see much in the way of instruction regarding my attire after having a kid.
Obviously motherhood is tough enough, so if I’m going to be totally honest, I think we should all be encouraged to wear only elastic-waist pants and hoodies for the first, oh let's say, twelve years. The fact remains that until all people start getting issued actually uniforms (there’s another Hunger Games reference, for those counting), we’re all going to need to continue making decisions about our clothes. OK, I get it, you win, civilized society!
That said, I’d like to offer my fellow moms some humble ideas about why we can — and should — refuse to associate our mom skillz or our worth as women with our clothing choices. Because the truth is, they’re not related. Unless, of course, you’re prone to wearing helmets that impede your vision, or full-body armor with weapons built in; Those could make it tough to pick up your littles and snuggle. But, other than those few exceptions, I think we’re all pretty safe to disassociate our clothes with any real implications about the quality of our parenting, and here’s why:
Think About It: Good Moms Are EVERYWHERE
I’m not a cultural anthropologist (I'm only about 88% confident I'm using the term "cultural anthropologist" correctly), but I would go out on a limb and say that there are good moms in every corner of the world, in every culture, every society, and every country that exists. And yeah, a lot of those moms look and dress very differently than some of the awesome moms I know, especially since I'm sure they're probably not all shopping at LOFT or Macy's with the same frequency.
Good Moms Are Also Found At All Income Levels
Let’s take it one step further and acknowledge that what we wear is not only affected by the place on earth in which we live, but how much we can afford to spend. If I thought designer gear could make me an awesome mom, I’d be all for splurging, but I’m pretty sure my son doesn’t care whether or not my jeans cost $50 or $200, so why should I?
Our Taste Is Not Determined By Our Mothering Abilities, So Why Would The Opposite Be True?
Ah yes, so let’s think about two moms with similar resources and circumstances. I’ll even throw my own moms’ group out there as an example. I’ve never shown up in the exact same outfit as someone else. And it’s not because my sense of style is all that unique (I’m pretty basic, I can admit it) but even moms who have a lot in common still find ways to do their own thing with their clothes.
Your Kid Doesn't Know The Difference *Shrug*
The one exception here is how certain clothes might make you feel, in which case, yes, I suppose your parenting abilities could be affected one way or another. The point is, you should wear things that make you feel A) empowered, and B) comfortable. If you can achieve both at once, you win at life. No matter what that outfit happens to be, doesn't matter. (This is one reason why I no longer wear a certain pair of my husband’s green and brown sweats, because I felt way too frumpy and it bummed me out and no one wants to hang out with a bummed-out me, including me.) Aside from these exceptions, I really think my son has no idea what I’m wearing as long as it doesn’t prohibit me from sitting on the floor with him or cutting up chicken nuggets in a timely manner.
Your Shape And Size And Comfort Are Part Of The Decision
We all have our own body types and physical comfort to think about, too. Like, what feels best for me, an aggressively average-sized lady, is probably different than what is going to appeal to my super tall friends, or my super petite friends, or my plus-size friends. And, I can respect that some of them may not be interested in Mickey Mouse sweats like I am, and that's fine, too. I can't recall a single time when my friends and I have decided that each other were worse friends because we didn't wear the same stuff.
Clothes CAN Say A Lot About Who You Are To The World — But They Don't Have To
Like, I could choose to wear a t-shirt that says "WORLD'S GREATEST MOM" but does that automatically make it true? I wish. At the same time, I could wear a hat that says "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" but does that mean I'm qualified to be president of anything, even the PTA? NO. NO IT DOES NOT. I think you get where I'm going with this one: It's what's on the inside that counts (shout out to all the preschool teachers of the world).
Think Back To Your Favorite Things About Your Own Mom. Do They Involve Her Clothes?
My mom had this seafoam green dress that she used to pull out on special occasions (it was the late '80s, guys, don’t judge) that I remember thinking was so, so beautiful. I’m pretty sure it had shoulder pads. Either way, as much as I loved seeing my mom slip into pretty, pretty princess mode, I don’t ever remember thinking that she loved me more, or took better care of me, or was in any way better because she was spruced up for the night. And on the flip side of that, the fact that she took time to not don the appearance of someone who had completely forsaken all attempts to look like a put-together human being in favor of dressing the frazzled part of someone who was duly over-taxed by "good" parenting... Well, that never meant she was any less of an awesome mom. She literally made it look good.
OK, Think Back To Anyone Who Makes You Feel Good
In fact, I can’t think of any relationship in my life that really was affected by how the other person dressed. The people who really matter do not care what you wear, just like you don’t care what they wear. Whether you're a mom who wears a suit every day to work, or are committed to the perma-active wear life, or you still routinely trot out your favorite black mini-skirt while driving carpool, who you are as a person and a parent is never subject to judgment based on the superficial observations of others. *fluffs shoulder pads*