Friday, February 21, 2014

Wear the Shirt

At almost four months postpartum, getting dressed is still hard. Enormous breasts make my shirts end awkwardly above my waist. More than ample hips refuse to fit into pre-pregnancy pants. Clothes need to be easy access to accommodate breastfeeding. And certain accessories (fun jewelery, cute heels) are just not practical - or safe! - while carrying around an infant. All of this results in many hours standing forlornly in my closet, trying to find something to put on that while make me feel comfortable and attractive at the same time. Well, no, not one has hours to spend standing in their closet when they are a mom to an infant, get the idea.

So, recently, when on a trip to The Grove, I walked by a store where the clothes looked feminine, loose, and comfortable, but still stylish. Of course, any clothes that can truly boast all of those qualities aren't exactly cheap, right? But, I decided the cost was worth it and invested in a few new shirts. I love all of them...when wearing them I feel pretty, comfortable in body, but plenty of steps above my typical outfit of yoga pants and a too-small t-shirt.

So, yesterday, when getting dressed to take Owen to the doctor's office, followed by a lunch with friends, I came upon the dilemma. Do you wear the nice shirt knowing the day is "nothing special" and that wearing the shirt means the super soft material will be wrinkled by grabby baby hands and slimed by baby drool and even potentially stained by leaking breast milk? Or do you save the shirt for a day when you will be going out without baby and you can be yourself and not worry about ruining the clothes?

And then it hit me. When do I go anywhere without Owen? Hardly ever. At the moment, I am content with that. I enjoy having my sidekick with me wherever I go (hey, we even "enjoyed" a trip to the DMV!). But what does that mean? Does that mean my nice, pretty clothes literally just stay on the shelf? In other words, do I disregard the time and attention to myself that makes me feel confident and attractive? Do I disappear into "being a mom?" Because, believe me, that is tempting and easy to do. I say it to myself all of the time. "Those black yoga pants have faded into a depressing shade of grey and that shirt is more wrinkled than not...but hey, it's ok, I'm a mom." Or, "I'm not sure when the last time I washed my hair was...but, it's ok, I'll throw it in a ponytail because, hey, I'm a mom."

So sure. "Being a mom" is a viable, acceptable excuse/reason for looking "bland and natural." But is it an excuse for not taking the time to feel good in our own bodies? I remember the first time I painted my toenails after Owen was born. He was maybe...two months? I felt deliciously giddy, like I was getting away with something to take the time to do something as frivolous as painting my toe nails pink. But, the truth is, it's more important to me to spend the time rolling around on the floor with Owen trying to teach him about the world than it is to make sure my makeup is done.

So. Back to my dilemma yesterday. Do I put on the $80 dollar shirt that is such a soft, gentle fabric and a sweet shade of coral and makes me feel "pretty" again just for a visit to the doctor's office? All the while knowing that wearing it will subject it to the wear and tear of motherhood? And then I realized. Leaving the prettyness on the shelf is ridiculous. This is my life now. Wearing faded, too-tight clothes while I wait for this to "pass" is stupid. Motherhood doesn't "pass by." This is who I am. And I can choose to leave certain parts of me on the shelf because they might not be the perfect fit for this lifestyle, or I can choose to find a way to make it work.

So, I wore the shirt. I felt pretty. The shirt got wrinkled and drooled upon. And I felt like a mom. But a pretty, happy, smiling mom. So I guess what I'm saying guys is....wear the shirt!