How to Identify a Mom of Young Kids



As we women become mothers, a few things change in our appearance. These things may be subtle, but they can help you easily identify a fellow mother when you are out in public and need to borrow a diaper, a wet wipe, juice box, or shoulder to lose your shit on..

1. The Hair: A mommy’s hair comes in many forms, from perfectly coiffed and colored ‘dos, to ponytails with three-inch long roots. The tie that binds all mommies together is the sticky quotient. Somehow, every mommy’s hair has a certain There’s-Something-About-Mary factor that is unexplainable. A goo that once was a child-induced slime somehow makes its way into mommy’s hair and hardens into a stiff style. Is that yogurt, applesauce, finger paint, glue, snot? How did it get here and why won’t it comb out, no matter what you do? Yogurt fingers strike again.

2. The Makeup: As hard as a mommy tries, it is impossible to get her makeup perfect after having children. Many culprits can lead to the end problem, including:
• Not noticing the mascara that has smeared all the way to your top lid/lipstick on your teeth because you applied it while trying to brush your kid’s teeth, comb your hair and do your taxes, all at the same time.
• Refusing to apply powder in the morning because your toddler decided that your makeup brush was the perfect thing to use to fish her Cheerios out of the toilet (why on earth where there Cheerios in the toilet in the first place?)
• Running out of the house and forgetting makeup altogether after a morning filled with spilled cereal, hissy fits, diaper explosions and debauchery.
• What, is there something in my teeth?

3. The Clothes (Fit): Most mommies can usually be seen wearing clothes that are either too small or too big for them. This isn’t out of laziness. There are many phases of mommyhood that necessitate these fashion faux pas, including:

• I just had a baby and haven’t lost the weight yet. (Too small
• I had a baby a year ago and haven’t realized I lost the weight yet. (Too Big)
• I am between babies and know I will blow up like tank again, so I am not buying new clothes until I am done having kids. (Too small/too big)
• I am pregnant with my second baby and not ready to face the hell that is maternity fashion again yet. (Too small)
• I chase after a fire-breathing toddler all day and do not give a shit what my clothes fit like. What the fuck is it to you?
• Rinse, repeat until childbearing years are over/your kids leave the house and you finally have the time/money to care about your looks again. Warning: by then, everything will have moved south and you will need a new plan of action.

4. The Clothes (Look): Try as us mommies might, we just aren’t the fashion horses we once were. Whether we are stuck donning last decade’s styles because we would rather our kid rock the latest looks than ourselves, or we are sporting a white snot stain on the hem/neckline of our new black dress, we are just not cut out for the fashion big leagues anymore. Add to that the chicken wings and donut belly that often linger after pregnancy, and you have a recipe for mopey mommy looks. But, I have noticed moms of today seem to be giving the big finger to mom jeans and rocking the best looks they can while toting a drooling, screaming, poop machine. Carry on, sexy mamas, carry on.

5. The Purse: Mommy purses are the motherload of all purses. No tiny clutch or wristlet can haul the heavy load a mommy must carry. Diaper wipes, pacifiers, baby aspirin, snacks, juice boxes, you name it, and it is in there. The purse of a mommy is large and in charge. You non-mommies mock until you spill coffee on your new blouse. Then who do you come running to in search of a wet wipe? That’s right. Mommy. That’s who. Would you also like some goldfish crackers with that? You are acting a little crabby so you must be hungry.

6. The Shoes: Mommy shoes are often more utilitarian than high fashion. You try chasing a screaming 20-month-old through Target in four-inch Manolos. Yeah, who is laughing at my Chuck Taylors now? I didn’t think so.


    • 2

      lesa says

      I don’t really sport any of that. I kinda rebelled against mom clothing and decided to go the punk route…and yet the kids love me anyways. Sometimes kids just know the awesome people :) Or in my case, it might be because I own a toy store. I would like to think it is the first one though :)

  1. 6

    Talia says

    I guess i’m weird. I was always that put together mom. I didn’t leave the house without a shower, clean clothes, make-up, and clean hair. I just plopped my little squirt in his pack and play in front of cartoons or put him in his baby proofed room with one of those child doorknobs on long enough for me to shower and change. I guess I got lucky in other areas too. I didn’t get the dreaded criss cross stretchmarks. Though I credit that to the fact that I worked out everyday of my pregnancy whether I wanted to or not and after he was born, I started working out the second my doctor okayed it and dropped the baby weight in a month and a 1/2. Before my son was born my husband and I made a pact that we wouldn’t lose ourselves as people just because we had a kid. I think moms need to take a minute for themselves when they need to. It’s so hard when we have so much going on to spare a minute for ourselves but it’s also so important.

    We don’t stop being who we were just because we had kids and I think we have a tendency to forget that. I figured a half hour in the pack and play while mommy showered, changed, and put on her make up made for a much happier mommy and calmer kid because mommy wasn’t super stressed about how she felt about herself. Also, my four inch heels were remarkably comfortable running after him. By the end of his toddler years, they were the most broken in and comfortable pair I owned! :)

      • 8

        Talia says

        Hey, i’m not a “Super Mom” by any means. Every woman has something that’s important to her. I just didn’t want to lose myself completely after I had my son and feeling good about myself and my body was important to me. Trust me, I had my share of meltdowns and days where I was running on coffee and an hour of sleep. I also contended with SEVERE PPD which is part of what motivated me to get back into shape and take care of myself. It helped to keep the depression at bay. I just took it one day at a time and chose to make myself a priority after my son who is always my number ONE priority. I just handled things a different way and different isn’t bad. Every mom should do what works for her and helps her keep her sanity and if that’s making sure she is able to feel good about herself while taking care of her little one then that should be okay.

        • 9

          Kay says

          I like this perspective—and Talia, I relate to everything you said. I don’t think we should vilify moms who are well-put-together—and I don’t think we should characterize every mom as being spit-up-covered and wearing mom jeans because that can’t and SHOULDN’T be the only way moms feel like they ‘belong’. And, most importantly, just because a mom is thin or wears makeup and stylish clothes doesn’t mean she’s ‘perfect’ or ‘supermom.’ That is one tiny portion of who a mom is. And we all have our things, don’t we?

          • 10

            Danielle says

            There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing your own thing and making yourself look or feel good. There IS, however, something wrong with being one of those moms who throws it in the rest of our faces as if she is somehow superior because she fixed herself up, didn’t get stretch marks, worked out every day, lost her baby weight in a month and a half, and wore four inch heels doing it.

            • 11

              Talia says

              I apologize if it came across as “throwing it in someones face.” That was not my intention in the least. It was just an honest statement of my own journey in reply to the post. This is the way I handled things myself. I am the LAST person to judge another woman or her parenting, clothing, or choices. Everyone does what is right for them individually and I have no feelings of being better than the woman next to me.

              • 12

                Tisha says

                Lucky you for having a baby who tolerated being left to watch cartoons while you got ready. I have two, 7 and 2, and I still can’t get fully ready!!!! I say we trade!!!!! Lol( I was interrupted 6 times while writing that)

        • 13

          Amanda says

          Sweetie, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you are coming off as holier than thou, and it makes the rest of us feel badly about ourselves. Good for you that you did that for yourself, but try not to brag about it.

          It’s also a tad concerning, because moms in 4 inch heels tend to have the appearance of a mom who cares more about themselves than their kids, and I hope to God this isn’t the case with you. Seeing as I don’t know you, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

          • 14

            Talia says

            Holier than thou is not my intention at all. I was just being honest about my own journey. We are all of us different and we all cope in different ways. I’m just stating mine and my own thoughts and feelings. I don’t judge other moms by what they wear or if they’re put together or not. Everyone does things their own way and I tend to live by the mantra “Be kind to others because you have no idea what they might be going through.”

            As for the heels, appearances can be deceiving. It isn’t fair to judge a mom in heels as someone who cares less about her children. In my case, i’ve always had a high heel fetish. I’ve been wearing them since I was fourteen. They ARE my regular everyday foot wear. I love my son just as much as any mother can love her child. What I wear has no bearing on that just as the mom in sneakers would throw herself in front of a bus to save her child, i’m no different.

            • 15

              Kacie says

              Talia, I under stand where you are coming from. I am by no means put together or in shape, but because I am in sales I need to look the part. I think as a mom it IS important that we find something that allows us to hold on to something, ANYTHING, that makes us feel like we are still something other than our children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids will all my heart and would give my life for any of them (and there are 4). For me I chose to stay a bit punk rock. Yeah, my head isnt shaved and its not hot pink anymore… But when I look at myself, I still see me. If you you, that is keeping up your appearance, then get down with your bad self. For me, that is cooking dinner every night and eating in the dining room, no TV, no phone, just us.

              I think your first comment came off different than you were intending, but if that is what keeps you sane, than that is something that you should never give up.

    • 18

      TSO says

      Some women have no trouble at all, others struggle. I still don’t fucking understand why the lady at my kids per-school looks like she stepped out of a magazine two days after giving birth when I am still working at it. I’m a damn good muti-tasker, but I’m not running in 4 inch heels unless absolutely necessary. I prefer safety over style. Some days i look fantastic, other days I just don’t have a say in it. Each day is a different situation. Sometimes just putting the kid in a pack an play isn’t possible. Especially not when you have more than one!

    • 19

      grandma says

      I have no problem with you being put together and giving yourself more time than your newborn,toddler or child. (OK, I do have a huge problem with any mom thinking her hair is more important than bonding) What really and truly bothers me ls you have no shame. You openly admit to locking your toddler in a room. I don’t care how baby proof you think it is it borders on child abuse. Do not have a baby if you do not want it to change your life. ALL children will and should have a profound impact on your entire world. Live with that. Embrace that before you tell the mom’s that truly enjoy the trials and changes children bring.
      Wrap your mind around this. Not one mom is jealous of your perfect hair, makeup and clothes we just feel really bad for those poor little babies/toddlers/ children you LOCKED in a room to get yourself that way.

      • 21

        Talia says

        Excuse me? Bonding with your child does NOT have to mean they are in your arms 24/7. My child got/gets plenty of time with me and his dad. As for “Locking him in his room” I hardly think fifteen minutes in his bedroom with his toys and a movie on his television was anywhere NEAR child abuse. I’ve SEEN child abuse and my child has never been anywhere near it.

        Yes, he has changed our life. He has enriched it in amazing ways. However, his dad and I have also kept our careers and our marriage a priority as well AFTER him as he is and always will be our number one priority. He is a happy healthy eight year old now and definitely more well adjusted than some children i’ve met. He is also remarkably self sufficient. I suggest your run over and check out Lenore Skenazy’s blog “Free Range Kids” which is the philosophy his dad and subscribe to in our raising of him. As for jealousy. My post here was not intended to arouse jealousy or criticism of the way any mother raises her children. I was simply sharing my own journey and the way that I coped and managed things when he was small. Just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t make my way of doing things inferior to your own. It’s awful judgemental to tell another mother that your way is “better” and your kids are better off.

    • 22

      Sisters from Another Mister says

      Yet another amusing thread here on Scary Mommy …
      I try to keep it together most days and adopting my second certainly helped in avoiding the bone tired feeling I had after having my first – assisted in achieving that ‘I have it all together facade’.
      But you kinda lost me a little in the 4 inch heels …
      then you went onto to describe them as a fetish …
      then I looked at your profile picture just a little closer
      (with my old, tired,worn eyes)
      and the fetish comment and the comfortable running in four inch heels made a little more sense ;)

    • 23

      Heather says

      Good for you! I don’t think you came off as condescending at all. You put a lot of hard work in so good for you. I am also a ‘have to shower daily’ kind of gal who also worked my butt off working out to lose the baby weight and stave off depression. Everyone’s journey is different – thanks for sharing yours!

    • 24

      Meghan says

      Good job, mama! I’m 6 mos pregnant with my first. Exercise is crucial for my mental & physical health, & I absolutely believe it makes me a better wife, (soon) mom, & person in general. I have been working out almost every day through pregnancy & will continue after baby is born. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting baby in a pack n play so you can take a shower. Good grief, people.

  2. 25

    Heidi Bryan says

    Painfully true…I just spotted a giant yogurt smear on my shirt. I have no idea how long it has been there.

  3. 26

    Jenni P. says

    I have parrots and an infant. If I have a white smear on my shirt, I have no idea which creature left it there!

  4. 32

    Mama and the City says

    So half I’m back to the workforce behind a desk and and office. That really forced me to hire someone to do all that.

    I love my today’s nails <– you can look at my Instagram pics :-)

  5. 33

    Loosey says

    Really Talia? This is a blog about making fun of ourselves and others- for some laughs. Not for perfect people.

    • 34

      Talia says

      I thought scary mommy was about support for ALL ways of mothering and raising our kids. It doesn’t make me “perfect” that I chose to do what I needed to care for myself as well as my son. I did what I needed to to feel good about myself. As stated in the reply above I suffered from SEVERE PPD after he was born. Taking care of myself made me feel good and therefore helped keep the depression at bay. No woman or mother is perfect and we handle the stresses, strains, and day to day drudgery as best we can. Every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows and it was no different for me. I just did things a different way and different isn’t bad. What works for one woman doesn’t work for another and vice versa.

        • 37

          Kay says

          On the other hand… if you make it through severe PPD, managing 4-inchers while chasing your kid ain’t nuthin’. :P

        • 38

          Talia says

          I’m a heel person, i’ve been wearing them since I was fourteen and they are my everyday footwear. I just freakin love the suckers. I guess since i’ve been wearing them so long it’s just second nature now. I wish my post hadn’t been taken as being uppity because that isn’t me at all. I feel like a weirdo now because I apparently handled things differently than most. But it worked for me ya know? The depression was so much easier to bear when I had something on that I felt good in. I felt like my head maybe a mess right now, but at least I look somewhat decent. My sons love and hugs and kisses and great pair of heels were my saving grace during that time.

          • 39

            Kacie says

            Oh, and Talia, if your not already, come visit us on the boards. There are quiet a few of “you” there :-). We thrive on diversity, and it is what makes us great!

      • 40

        Kristen Mae says

        Talia – I just want to give you a hug. You’re right; we all cope in our own way. I didn’t (don’t – haha) take care of my appearance, but I do other things that take time, like working out, reading voraciously, and writing a blog. I’m sure if I dropped those things I’d have time to put on makeup and give a crap about my clothes. Maybe even shower! Probably never wear heels again, though, as much as I may want to. Those things effing HURT. Anyway, I think you stood up for yourself and your way of doing things without being defensive or lashing out and making personal attacks against people, and I commend you for that. =)

        • 41

          Alexis says

          Ditto and well said! I was reading this thread about heeled moms vs. flip flop wearers and thinking the same thing. I live in Vermont where Keens (waterproof and functional at Costco and on serious hikes) are the norm. So my thing is more like exercise, reading voraciously, and writing a blog. Hey you already said that! Anyhoo…that’s MY thing. If Talia’s thing is fashion – GREAT! The point is that we all need to have a thing or multiple things that keep us balanced and grounded. Kudos to her for figuring out what HERS was and for not getting defensive when questioned about it.

  6. 42

    Stephanie says

    Yep. This is my life. It’s all about the ‘I’m chasing a fire-breathing toddler around Target and I don’t give a shit what I look like.’ All the time.

  7. 44

    randommixedchick says

    This has to be the funniest, yet most true thing i have read! Loved reading it and the humor was on point!! :) Will def’ share this one.

  8. 45

    Kelley says

    Although I lost the battle of the Bulge after kids – I too, never and I mean NEVER leave the house without being smartly dressed with hair and make up done. I can’t wear the pretty shoes I would prefer due to the weight and the after effects of pregnancy, but I find the best looking flats I can. No sweats, no pj’s, no yoga pants outside the house. I am a preppy child of the 80′s and although I did give up the big hair – I can’t expunge the need to be smart and put together leaving the house.
    I also showered everyday even though it meant getting up before the kids or while my husband was getting himself ready for work, as I too felt more together and organized and able to cope when I was clean and had my hair done.
    I currently work shift work that starts some days at 4 am – which means I am up at 2:30 am to shower, do hair and makeup and eat before I leave the house. I just can’t get anything done and I feel gross otherwise.

    So Talia, don’t feel like you are the only one with a need to attend to personal needs. I also had PPD and keeping myself up also was helpful. Remember, in case of emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on BEFORE you try to help someone else – ie if you aren’t looked after you can’t be there for anyone else!!!

  9. 46

    My Half Assed Life says

    I don’t think I ever made it out of the house without at least one anonymous food stain on my shirt when mine were toddlers.

    I never did get the hang of the big purse though – I couldn’t keep it on my shoulder while chasing after the oldest who was a going concern from the time he could roll front to back and back to front.

  10. 47

    Amy says

    Ugh! I’m just gonna get pregnant with the second sometime this year, anyway. Why bother to get skinny now? Obviously I fall into the too small clothes category. I like to think of all the things I used to do before I had a kid, like change my purse everyday with my outfit. Ha! I can’t imagine doing that shit now.

  11. 53

    Murphy must have had kids says

    So true, so true, especially the not-fitting clothes part. My rear has suddenly disappeared and my pants constantly fall down like I’m a 14 year-old skater boy.

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