I was the perfect mother; right up until I had actual children. I knew precisely how my perfect little angels would look, behave, and impress. And I had it all under control, right up until they developed actual personalities. My vision of perfectly pig-tailed girls with big, brightly colored ribbons was quickly replaced with a tom boy and a daughter who prefers pairing formal dresses and cowboy boots.
My premonition about what my children would be like wasn’t the only one that would be badly skewed. I also just knew I wouldn’t end up looking like one of those old, tired soccer moms. I would often wonder how in the world they had let themselves go. Didn’t these women have any pride? How did they go from fashionista to fashion no-no in what seemed like the blink of an eye? In the words of every Scooby Doo villain, “…if it weren’t for those pesky kids!”
Remember back when you thought 40 was old? Well, back then, I was hot. No, for real. I was extremely stylish, and looking fashionable and put together was a priority. I never left the house without perfect hair and makeup. My nails were always professionally done. My clothing was impeccable and my accessories were fabulous!
When I had my first daughter, I was determined to keep this up. I refused to fall victim to the soccer mom look. Call it vanity, but I wanted to look my best. After all, isn’t my appearance my public statement that I had my shit together?
Fast forward a few years (decades) to the present where forty isn’t old and I have friends who are becoming (very young) grandparents. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the person who stares back at me looks tired. She’s wearing flats instead of heels, a shirt that strategically covers her belly, and a jacket to cover those wings flopping at the back of her arms. I turn around quickly in hopes of catching a stranger standing behind me, but the reality is the “mom” looking back at me is me. How did this happen?
It started when peer pressure led me to sign my kids up for activities. “It will make them well rounded,” they said. The jury is still out on whether or not my children are well rounded, but my expanding clothing size certainly suggests that I’m getting, well, rounder. Before becoming active, my day consisted of working a full time job, making a nice dinner, playing Chutes & Ladders and giggling with my family until 8 PM and then putting my kids to bed at a decent hour so my husband and I can actually talk. Now it’s a mad rush out the door in the morning with kids in two different schools (one in elementary and one in middle school), cramming a full time job into part time hours so I can leave early to be home when my kids get home from school, homework (mostly fighting about homework), and then the evening rush of carpool to and from these ill-advised activities.
Communication with my husband is done mostly via text messaging with the occasional email when we have time to write words that aren’t abbreviated. When we do have some down time, inevitably, one of us is taking a nap.
It’s because of a schedule like this that laundry pulled out of the hamper that can pass the sniff test is deemed wearable. Cute high heels have been replaced with comfortable, sensible shoes because I never know when a birthday invitation will be discovered at the last minute at the bottom of a book bag and I’ll have to make a Target run. My cute jewelry lays lonely in the jewelry box because by the time I get to the point where I can add accessories, I’m too busy signing permission forms and giving lectures about unfinished homework to even remember where my car keys are, much less that I have a jewelry box.
I’ve done a few things to try to fight the mom stereotype. I have tattoos, my nose is pierced, and I have a funky haircut. Of course, I also wear glasses a good amount of the time because I’m too lazy for contacts, my pants have elastic bands because zippers and buttons just aren’t comfortable on my roundness, I prefer comfort to style, and I drive a mother effing mini-van.
I’m proud to be a Mom, I just don’t necessarily want to look like one. Although I’m starting to understand the appeal of mom jeans (the high cut goes OVER the belly roundness rather than cutting into it!) it doesn’t mean I want to look like I’ve given up. Giving up is the easy way out and if you’re a mom you now us moms don’t ever do anything easy. So today, even though I didn’t take an exorbitant amount of time getting ready (I have an 8 year old who thinks I’m a hair dresser and demands her hair be fixed to perfection) I did slip on some heels in place of my usual flats. I also added earrings AND a big honking sparkly ring for good measure. I was admiring my big sparkly as I carted my daughter off to middle school and we were bopping our heads to Justin Bieber in the Glam Van.
Chrystal Getz is a working mom, wife, certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist, and aspiring writer. A mid-western girl who has been transplanted to the east coast, her hobbies include sarcasm, over extending herself, working out and occasionally blogging. She’s a straight shooter who loves to motivate people. She doesn’t believe in diets and fads, but rather hard work and moderation. (Seriously, who could give up chocolate and beer?) Her realistic approach isn’t for everyone. Only those who are looking for results.