Unless they’re heading to a PTA meeting, I’m fairly sure that most women don’t look in the mirror and think, “I hope I look like a Mom.”
When supermodels are arching their backs and pouting their lips and tossing their hair under the direction of a photographer, you can pretty much bet that they’re not being instructed to “Look as mom-like as you possibly can.” And when designers are stitching up the latest couture, they’re probably not saying, “You know who would look hot in this? MOMS. That’s who.”
Moms, we’ve gotten a bad rap. The stereotype of frumpiness weighs heavily upon us. But those who cast judgment are the ones who don’t understand how we could possibly let ourselves go. So let’s enlighten those people as to exactly why our fashion-and-beauty game may not be as on-point as it used to be. Perhaps it’s because …
1. We’re dirt magnets. Sure, we love the look of a crisp white shirt – but it will take approximately four minutes for it to be encrusted with boogers or yogurt or dotted with jelly fingerprints. The same principle applies to pants: when there is constantly a snotty, drooling, foody child at knee/thigh level, we sport perpetual smears, looking like a hot mess despite our efforts to the contrary. There’s no practicality in anything with “dry clean only” on the label. Or anything light-colored. Or easily wrinkled. So basically, anything that isn’t yoga pants.
2. We’re running fools. Which would you rather sprint in: sneakers or stilettos? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Moms spend a substantial amount of time dashing after escape-artist toddlers, rushing to the scene of the latest scrape or squabble, and racing to the bus stop with forgotten lunches. In these cases, fashionable footwear can be a hindrance. The last thing we need is a twisted ankle.
3. We’re under-funded. Yeah, we used to have the expendable income to keep our wardrobes fashionable – and then we had kids. From the moment our children enter the world, it’s like they’re on a mission to divert money directly from our personal clothing allowances and funnel it into their own. They’re outgrowing stuff and wearing holes in new shoes and ripping week-old jeans faster than we can say “are you freaking kidding me?!”
4. We’re in a hurry. Catch a glimpse of a typical Mom morning, and you’ll notice that our efforts are focused on providing our offspring with a (reasonably) nutritious breakfast, an outfit that doesn’t look like they were dressed by Lady Gaga, and a ride to school that ensures they aren’t (too) late. All this before our brains are even fully awake. We barely have time to put on a bra, let alone get all fancied up.
5. We’re lumpier than we used to be. Maybe it’s the post-baby belly that’s still flabbier than we’d like, or those wider “childbearing hips.” Maybe it’s the boobs that even the push-uppiest bra can’t lift high enough to look good in a low-cut shirt. Maybe it’s the metabolism that has slowed to a crawl, preventing those leftover chicken nuggets we ate standing at the kitchen sink from burning off like they’re supposed to. Motherhood can be unkind to the body image, so it’s our natural inclination to try and hide those perceived flaws under loose-fitting shirts and cardigans and pants with no buttons or zippers.
6. We’re in a whole different world now. Oh, how priorities shift when we go from “me” to “Mommy.” Where our coffee tables once held copies of style mags, they now just hold fingerprints and crumbs and random toys. And if we do get the chance to read a magazine, it’s typically something with articles like “Time to Train: Perfect Potty Pointers.” Our TVs are less Fashion Police, more Paw Patrol – so sometimes we’re a little out of the loop when it comes to the latest trends.
7. We’re freaking tired. Parenting is nothing if not utterly exhausting. Some days, we have the energy and motivation to look polished and pulled-together. But then there are the times when we’re running on two hours of sleep due to a barfing child or a pushy co-sleeper or whatever. Despite that unfortunate energy deficit, we still have to take care of everyone’s every need all day long: driving people here and there like a taxi service, tending to the planning, execution, and cleanup of dinner, making sure the house doesn’t look like an episode of Hoarders and that the laundry pile isn’t big enough to swallow someone up. On a day when we only have so much energy to expend, chances are we’re not going to use any of it on eyeliner and hairspray.
So yeah, we may not always resemble the smokin’ hotties we were before. And yes, we know it’s important not to let ourselves go – but when we do, at least our reasons are legit. If it bothers you that moms are so frumpy, feel free to take your judgments elsewhere until you’ve walked a mile in our (comfy, economical) shoes.
… Or you could help our cause by pitching in for a maid and a spa day. Just sayin’.
Related post: Ten Mommy Stereotypes, Explained