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.

Related post: 15 Tips on Surviving as a Mom in the Suburbs


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    • 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 :)

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    • Kristin says

      I get blouses/shirts that are slightly larger so I look skinnier. I pair these with black skinny pants and everyone at work thinks I’m losing weight and that I look great. They just don’t know that I’ve just been carefully choosing clothes. Working moms have no time to workout, really… That and I hate running. LOL

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    • Robyn says

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!
      I’ve been sporting Converse for almost 10 years now, since I was 14 – still going strong at 23, and I gotta say they are perfect for chasing a 2 year old :)

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  1. 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! :)

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      • 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.

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        • 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?

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          • 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.

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          • 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.

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          • 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)

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        • 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.

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          • 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.

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          • 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.

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          • jen says

            I don’t think she came off as holier than thou at all. I read this article and really couldn’t relate to most of it (I have a 5 year old and another on the way). Yes, I had the inevitable goo/spit-up on my clothes for about the first year of his life (somehow I generally managed to keep it out of my hair), but as a working mom, I couldn’t afford to look like a mess. I also couldn’t stand feeling like a mess, so I wore makeup, fixed my hair, and broke down and bought clothes to fit my post-baby body while I worked to lose the 50 lbs I gained. I also wore heels and carried a small purse, refusing to let my purse become a mom-purse (I don’t need to carry baby stuff to work with me or out to lunch, my purse is not for my kids, it’s for me. I carried a separate bag for my son when needed). Does that make me better than moms who are not as put together? No, but it was what i needed to do in order to not let being a mom become my only defining characteristic. Talla, I applaud you for realizing you’re a better mom when you also make yourself a priority. We are mothers, but as women, we are more than mothers, we are wives, in some cases we are career women, we have interests outside of our children, all of which are important when you consider that at some point, our children will grow up and leave the house. If you’ve only been defined by motherhood, what do you do with yourself when they grow up and and mothering is no longer a full-time job?

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          • Jessica McFarland says

            I don’t think she came off as Holier-Than-Thou at all, as a matter of fact I think the person who said that is coming off that way!!! Just because a mamma doesn’t want to let her looks go doesn’t make her holier than thou… MORE POWER TO YOU darlin

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    • 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!

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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        • says

          Talia I love your post making time to look and feel good is a Must after children .we are all different if more moms took a little more me time for whatever makes them happy it would probably create more patience in their household and hell maybe even help their relationship or marriage. being a mom might be the most important thing in our lives But we can not let it become the Only thing in our lives I would hate for my daughter to never follow her dreams have a hobby she loves or look like raggedy Ann when or if she has kids . people are just ignorant

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        • kay says

          i totally get what you were saying, talia, and thank you for saying it! i don’t think you came across as holier-than-thou at all… i don’t see why you sharing your experience of trying to stay pulled together is any worse or different than anyone else sharing their experience of not doing that!

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    • 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 ;)

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    • 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!

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    • 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.

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      • emily says

        Not getting stretch marks is all about genetics and skin type. I didn’t get a single one gained 45 lbs and I didn’t exercise and ate brownies for breakfast. So don’t give yourself too much credit. Also some people have easy babies that can be left alone with a bottle in a pack and play and not make a peep all damn day. Mine however will climb right out and immediately go to jumping off the furniture.

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      • Mary says

        Pack-n-play is one thing… locked in a room? Idk if I’d trust my toddler that far. And she IS lucky. Her kid didn’t mind entertaining himself for 30 minutes. Neither of mine were safe to leave alone that long.

        Everyone is different. She’s proud of how she handled it? Great. I’m proud of my yoga pants and teeshirts, and incredibly active kids. But then, I was never a fashion plate to begin with, so it’s not as important to me to be made up and fussed over as it is to her. A shower a day was my goal when my kids were toddlers, and it hasn’t changed much now that they’re busy teens!

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    • LGV says

      Ladies, I am one of you. I own about 3 shirts that fit my body right now and they have all turned in to booby shirts from trying to wear them while breast feeding, toddlers that insist on using it as a rope to climb up Mommy, or my youngest just constantly putting her hand (whole arm actually) between my boobs. Then I have about a billion too big t-shirts that I have stolen from my husband. Every single pair of pants that I own have a tiny rip, hole, or stain SOMEWHERE. I have 3 pairs of shoes (since between my two who were 16 months apart, my feet grew an entire size and a half) and none of them include heals. But I have to stick up for Talia, here. I certainly didn’t see her as condescending at all. We all have stories we easily relate to, and we all have stories that we don’t. We all have victories and areas that we excel and we all have losses and places that we can approve. She was trying to share her victory with us here, and a lot of ladies took it in a really ugly direction. In stead of being rude because she has not only the ability but the will-power to look her best, we should all be congratulating her. I get places like Scary Mommy are places where we all come to let our hair down and not feel bad about ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we get to shun people just because they have good self esteem. :(

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      • LGV says

        That was definitely supposed to be improve. Please excuse typos. I’m typing this instead of leaving to pick my husband up. Lol. He can wait a few minutes so I can be all self-righteous and stuff. But seriously, let’s be nice to one another and not tear each other down. We come here for support, even skinny, well dressed bitches deserve support. ;)

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    • Karen says

      After this, my 4th baby, I’m happy with my flabby belly and lack of makeup and unbrushed hair. After my first baby, I too lost the baby weight in a few weeks, kept up with my exercise and appearance (thanks to a woven wrap) and basically had my life together – but I didn’t feel the need to tell everyone about it. Just confused what you have (or are lacking) in your life that you felt the need to type that big ol’ comment telling everyone how you still have it all together even if most moms don’t. Kinda looks like a pathetic bid for approval, and hon? We don’t know you and we don’t care about you or your fetishes.

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      • BirthMomof1Stepof2 says

        Wow. Karen, don’t be such a snarky bitch. Talia parents as she sees fit and is allowed to be proud of her accomplishments. I’m really sorry your self esteem is so low you feel the need to tear her down so yours my rise a couple of points.

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    • Rachel says

      You go girl! A well written accepting of others (or at least thats how I read it and your subsequent polite responses) approach. I lost tons of weight while pregnant and still ended up with stretch marks (gotta love genes). I’m totally the mom without makeup lookin terrible all the time. The things I always have together is activities for my kids. I’m the crafty/over the top party mom. We’ve all got our thing, so go you for knowing what you want yours to be! I have a really hard time putting me second to the kids. Usually I’m 230987438. But I’m working on that. I’m also struggling with severe PPD. The thing I have as my second focus is keeping my husband and my’s couple identity. I don’t want to be the couple that doesn’t know what to say to the person across the table once our kids go off to college. So I take that “me” time as regular date nights, and fun time ;-). Anyways, keep it up (maintaining your identity and taking the time for you whatever that is) and you seemed supportive of other moms so try not to take the nay sayers to heart. They might have JUST run into bitchy, selfish mom (selfish people do exist and some of them are moms). So having just run into judgy mc judgerson, it’s easy to transfer.

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      • peg says

        I don’t understand this as a way of “not losing yourself” unless you defined yourself as a fit, put together type. I have many activities I enjoyed and have stopped doing but it’s not feasible to lock my kids up to do them.

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    • Becca says

      Enjoy that one child! I use to workout like crazy, my hair was stylish, & my clothes fit. I even showered…. get this, everyday when I had one child. Now I have 3. My clothes look like shit, I haven’t had my hair trimmed since I was 6 months pregnant with my 2nd child, & showering is optional in order to ensure one of the kids doesn’t either (a) hurt themselves, (b) permanently damage another, or (c) break one of the last few breakable items still in one piece.

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  2. 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 :-)

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