Saturday, May 1, 2010

Do Clothes Make the Mom?

Fashion is not a big deal in our house.

As the only female in a house full of boys, I've come to accept -- and even appreciate -- the overwhelmingly blue stacks of laundry. I wander past the girls' clothing sections in the mall and am thrilled that I don't need to fight the battle of appropriate vs. inappropriate clothes. My boys throw on jeans (or shorts) and T-shirts pretty much every day and I am 100% completely fine with that.

Most days, my dress is pretty casual as well. Blue jeans are standard. Why would I wear anything else in my crazy, boy-centered life? True, I tend to dress them up a bit when I'm going out on the town (belt, nice shoes), but you'll almost always find me in jeans. Except when I'm still wearing my jammies. There are some perks to the homeschool/freelance lifestyle!

But fellow freelancer and mother-of-many, Meagan Francis, made me re-think my stance. In her blog post, shopping, showers & self-sacrifice: the lesson of the blue dress, Meagan emphasizes the importance of self-care. Even moms deserve to feel great! And we rarely feel great in frumpy, ill-fitting clothes. Yes, our children are our first priority. And yes, if money is an issue, we'll wear our shoes another season (or three) instead of denying our child a pair of shoes. Putting our needs consistently last, though, tends to make for an unhappy mama, and that's not good for anyone.

I saw Meagan and her blue dress at the ASJA conference, and her post hit home precisely because I'd purchased a fabulous dress before heading to NYC. It was a designer dress in a figure-flattering shape and a pattern called, "Wonder Woman." If ever there was a dress for me, I decided, this was it. It's colors and shapes inspired me; the entire dress somehow seemed empowering.

So like Meagan, I dropped more than I typically do on a dress. But unlike Meagan, I didn't wear my dress in New York. I have yet to wear it out of my bedroom.


I could tell you it's because I haven't found shoes and jewelry to match yet. And that's true. After reading Meagan's post, though, I realize there's more to the story. After spending so much on a dress, I felt guilty about even considering shoes. After fading into the woodwork most of my life, I was afraid to wear such a bold dress to such a public event. I'd somehow gathered the courage to buy the dress -- but not enough to wear it.

That's going to change. I'm going to find some shoes. I'm going to buy some jewelry. And I'm going to wear that dress. Even moms of boys deserve to feel pretty.


  1. Great post Jen! I often find myself in Jammies still around 12pm still un showered lucky to have my teeth brushed...And jeans is a 99% occurrence for me. Maybe its my lack of self esteem or something but somewhere in being a mommy for the 8 months I Have been one I completely stopped caring about my looks. Winni looks awesome all the time, dressed beautifully with big bows and all while Mama is a frumpy mess...But its true we deserve to look beautiful and more importantly Feel BEAUTIFUL

  2. Well-said; I so relate! Once a dear friend of mine ventured out into the living room of her home with three boys, and they said to her, "PINK? You're wearing PINK? WHY?"

    And another friend, a mother of 6 boys, once painted her nails. Her high school son was horrified and said, "WHY would you do that? That's okay for my girlfriend, but not my MOM!!"

    Pretty silly, isn't it? But it's true, I think, that we should venture out of our blue jeans and remind the testosterone around us of what the feminine half of the world does for fun!

  3. Hi! I found you through blogathon but I also love Meagan Francis's blog as well.

    I'm the mom of five boys, the youngest 4 are stairstep between ages 2 and 7. It sometimes feels like life is a constant struggle between feeling down about feeling invisible and not having the gumption to stand out.

    Very glad to have found your blog, I'm looking forward to reading more.

  4. What does the dress look like? Post a picture! And where can we go where you can where it? (And I can wear jeans.) :)

  5. @JustBelieving - I'm not all for dressing up every day of the week, but you def. deserve to not look like a "frumpy mess." Treat yourself!

    @Tatiana -- You make a great point. If we take care of ourselves as women, we also show our sons that we are more than the household help.

    @Tracy -- That last sentence of your first paragraph is blog-post worthy. I'd love to hear more.

    @Jill - Clearly, you missed the link. ;) Scroll up and click on "fabulous dress." And somehow, I think that dress requires something a little more fabulous than the Scholastic Book Fair. We need a new locale!

  6. Hi Jennifer,
    I'm on the Blogathon, too. Have 5 kids and am a freelancer. I love your site. Mine is just starting. Come by and visit. I'm just learning how to schedule my posts. Any suggestions to my blog, I'm open to. Hug your babies-they grow up fast.
    IMP3RfeCt MOM

  7. Jennifer, that is one fabulous dress! I also want to see it ON you. This is a great post and I am so happy that my experience inspired you to do something nice for yourself.

    Hey, on a similar note to being quiet, nice, unassuming (all those stereotypically female things I find myself being too often) I have been thinking about writing about our experience at lunch. You know, I was really pretty offended by the guy sitting next to us. Why did I SMILE at him and laugh at his unfunny, unkind jokes? Gah, different topic, but in a way, similar.

  8. What a pleasure to meet you! We homeschool our 3 boys. I love it! I love my boys, and I let people know that when they give me the sorrowful frown of " girls? how sad." I say this right in front of my boys: I love having all boys! Makes my children beam.

  9. @Meagan - I'm def. planning to include a shot of me in the dress. Accountability, you know? I just wish Mark Bennington were around to take the shot!

    @Empress -- Check out today's blog.

  10. I am in jeans and loving it! I worked for the first 7 years of my oldest sons life and dressed professionally everyday, YUCK! I love your dress, by the way, and good for you for treating yourself! You should wear it and SHINE! I, personally, am on more of a quest for personal comfort and being who I am and not caring what others think. A good friend of mine asked me to go out to the theatre with her, I said yes, and told her right off the bat, I will be wearing jeans. I am not here to make others comfortable, I am here to be ME! Now if only I had the courage to do the dreadlocks, now THAT would cause I stir:) It is ALL about feeling good in your own skin. My boys have helped me see who I am, no matter WHAT I am wearing (or how I smell or what is shaved....).