Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Getting Over the Guilt

"And I like the stylish clothes you wear"~ Debarge

Marion Cotillard via Vogue.com

When I worked as a copywriter for an online clothing boutique, I had to assist in hiring a junior copywriter to help with my workload. I remember snarking with the copy manager about how many applicants had a "passion for fashion" and how if we had a dollar for every time we heard that, etc.  The phrase may be overused, but few others can so perfectly capture that sentiment. "I love clothes" is trite and "fashion is my life" is overzealous. So, yes, I have always had a passion for fashion. (Does anyone remember EJ Gitano? The colorful mix-and-match  girls' clothing brand from the '80s? I used to get the catalogs and I was obsessed in fifth and sixth grade. I even had favorite models. Also, Esprit! But I should save all of this nostalgia for another post because tangent ...).

Shopping, fashion blogs, Project Runway. I'm all in. But, now that I'm a mom, my forays into fashion come with something else -- guilt. How did one of my favorite forms of self-expression become a guilty pleasure? It's that mom guilt. Everything must be all Q, all of the time! His health, his happiness, his toys, his development, his meals, and, of course, his wardrobe. How dare I spend time and money on my own wardrobe? New shoes? Sure, but they'll come with more than a wallet-denting price tag. New dress for that upcoming wedding? Well, we really should start putting more money away for Q's future school expenses. My personal style dilemmas suddenly seem immature and shallow.

The thing is I don't truly feel this way. I don't judge other stylish moms. In fact, I admire them wholeheartedly. (On the same token, I certainly understand why some moms could care less about clothes ... but I might still judge if you're rocking mom jeans. Just being honest!) Why, then, am I so hard on myself? It would be one thing if I was buying myself $800 handbags and $300 jeans, but usually I'm content to pick up trendy items at Forever 21 and H&M. If I'm having a hard time resisting something higher end, then I can wait until it's on sale or I find a good coupon code. After getting a 50% off discount at the aforementioned workplace (how I miss it!), it's hard to justify paying full price anyway.

It's about time that I crushed this guilt. Who ever said that a mom can't be both attentive to her child's needs and to her own sartorial well-being? Why can't two of my most visited blogs be Fashion Toast and Girl's Gone Child? I've watched enough What Not to Wear to know that moms so often put their children and others first to the sad detriment of their own appearance. I refuse to be a fashion martyr for motherhood!

These sweatpants I'm wearing are American Apparel, by the way ...


  1. It's hard isn't it? Finding that balance! Obviously we need to look after our kids - that's a given. But oh how we need to work out how to stay attentive to ourselves in the meantime! I'm really trying to figure this out at the moment... don't want to get to "empty nest" and have nothing left. I see that happen to moms over and over and I just don't want to be left in that place! I figure if we can figure some of this stuff out early on then we will set ourselves up to better succeed. What a tension it is though...
    And by the way, I'm all about NOT living in mom jeans. ugh.

  2. Oh I totally understand why you would feel this way, but it's definitely not necessary!! My first big purchase after losing my baby weight was a fabulous new pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans!! Yes, it's a lot of money, but I earned those jeans! It was my prize to myself for having a baby - you know, besides the baby which is obviously a prize in and of itself - but I think it's important to remember you & to still be yourself. And Forever 21 & H&M are great places for moms to shop because they're super cute & cheap!!

  3. Great post! It is a challenge to find the balance between motherhood and womanhood. I actually just wrote a post about this on my blog. Come over and check it out: http://mommyhoodnextright.blogspot.com/2010/08/im-not-woman-anymore-im-mom.html

    Oh, and I am now following you by the way.


  4. Thanks for the validation, ladies! I'm getting excited for fall clothes shopping. Maybe I'll indulge in some new non-mom jeans!

  5. Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions