This advertisement from Soma was in my inbox today. Can someone please explain to me how a bra can be “age-defying?”
I clicked on the link because I wanted to learn more about this magical undergarment, but it was already sold out. So … does it work?! Is that why there aren’t any left? DAMN IT.
I am now in search of age-defying panties and hats. See you on the flip side.
All of the sudden I’ve realized through a series of events that I am completely out of style, out of touch, and wearing today’s version of the “mom jean.” I can’t even explain to you how much this has thrown me off my game.
I mistakenly assumed that by avoiding the style of high-waisted mom jeans with bad pocket placement that I picture in my head when I hear the phrase “mom jean,” that I was doing all right. That is not correct. I AM ACTUALLY A WALKING POSTER CHILD FOR THE MOM JEAN. I know this because I brought a stack of high-quality, too-large denim to several consignment places in town and no one would buy them from me. They all kindly said, “These labels are very old and out of style.”
“But they’re nice jeans,” I said. “The only reason I’m not keeping them is that they’re too big.”
And then I knew. The pants that were in style 8 years ago? The ones I’ve worked so hard to fit back into? No one wears those anymore … except for out-of-touch moms like me. You see, I used to have a job. I used to buy nice clothes. Then I got pregnant and worked really hard to fit back into all of those nice clothes, which were by that point two years out of style. I then repeated that pattern two more times, and BOOM. I now have a closet full of outdated crap that I want to keep wearing because it is still in decent shape and it cost a lot of money ages ago when I bought it.
I now accept that it’s time to let go.
Yesterday my amazing mother-in-law came over to hang out with the kids so I could go do something fun. I went to this cute little store near my house that I’ve never been in before. I walked in and for the first time in my life I felt overwhelmed in a clothing store. Nothing was familiar — when did fringe become popular?! Is this a dress or a shirt?! The sweet sales girl could see it written all over my face: I needed help. I babbled on about how I am just now, right here in this store, having an identity crisis because I’m suddenly almost 35 years old and a mother of 3 and I have no idea what size I am or what even looks good on me anymore. And when she asked if I’d like for her to help me put together outfits to try on “just for fun,” I said YES! a little too loudly.
I didn’t buy anything (yet), and I don’t love the outfit pictured above, but I took a picture of it as proof that I finally decided to embrace the skinny jean. They come in every color! I now know what size I wear! I tried on leggings and tunics, long sweaters and maxi dresses, and lots and lots of interesting shirts. I loved it all. Each time I put on an outfit I emerged from the dressing room so the sales people could see, because I truly needed professionals to tell me if I was wearing something the correct way. This was also a first. But I am so grateful that they HELPED ME!
Here’s what I learned: today’s style is really perfect for moms. Everything is layered, easy, and loose, the pants are stretchy just like yoga pants. It’s time to step out of my American Eagle time warp and into real womanhood, where people shop at boutiques. I feel like I’ve been living in a blur of gestation and diapers, but now it’s time to move past that stage and into the next one … fashionably.
The key to effective parenting is emotional energy, of which I have a limited supply. I have to hoard some from my children so I’ll have a little left over for my husband when he gets home, but when I’m out, I’M OUT.
I used to say that parenting was more physically taxing than anything. I did something to my back last week when Asher threw an epic tantrum in the mall Food Court because the carousel ride ended and I told him it was time to get off. He freaked out, requiring me to lift him up and twist to maneuver around the big metal tiger he had been riding on.
I carried him like a stack of firewood all the way back to our table and my friend Jamie tried to help me jam him back into the stroller. She commented that it’s like he is made of rubber; you push him down or pull on his legs and he just snaps right back. I don’t know how long it took to get him strapped in, but I was full-on sweating by the end of it.
A few years ago, I would have been mortified by that kind of scene — his angry screams echoing throughout the entire mall — but now, I feel like I’ve been hardened against embarrassment by an ongoing series of experiences. I don’t really have time to dwell on anything that happens. We get through it, and we move on. I think that is why so many women have trouble recalling what it’s truly like to live with small children. If you don’t take the time to dwell, the memory doesn’t stick. And then we have more children.
Mothering is obviously physically demanding, but the emotional demands are what really get you. If my emotional energy is off, the kids pick up on it and things get shitty fast. Sometimes, even when I am emotionally capable of dealing … things get shitty fast. This afternoon was the perfect example.
After nap time, I herded my children through eating a snack and changing diapers/going to the bathroom. I told them we had a few errands to run; most important was the grocery store. Ever since I started transitioning Pepper to milk, WE CONSTANTLY RUN OUT. I’m a milk snob and prefer to give the kids organic, which seems to only be available in half gallons. I need a five-gallon jug. Where can I find that?! Someone please tell me.
So anyway, I cranked up the van and Maverick climbed in. The baby pooped her pants. I changed her and put her in her car seat. I went back inside and find that Asher has also pooped. I tell him it’s time to change his diaper. He screams “NO!!!” because he’s two. He also screams that he wants milk. I tell him he may not have milk, and I leave to get a fresh diaper.
When I returned, I found him standing in front of the open refrigerator guzzling what remained of the milk, directly from the carton. He was displeased when I took it away, and even more displeased when I wrestled him down to change his diaper. He was so displeased, and he fought so hard, that poop pellets rolled away and disappeared in between our couch cushions.
This is when I yelled.
I cleaned up the mess. I put him in the van. We drove to the store.
In the parking lot, I got a shopping cart. Not the big kind that I needed, that looks like a police car. Those are kept inside. I had to get a regular one, and I put Asher in the big part of the basket. Maverick got out and I instructed him to stand right next to the cart with his brother. They were right next to me. I turned to unbuckle the baby, and look up to see Maverick give the cart a hard shove. As it rolled into the road with my middle child in it, Maverick yelled “Look Mommy! Asher’s rolling away!” Presumably he was acting out what took place in January when Asher really did roll away. But who can say.
This is why I feel it’s important to try hard not to be judgmental of the mom you see on her phone at the playground, ignoring her children as they play … or the mom who is drinking before 5 pm … or the many, many mothers who let their kids eat whatever they can find and watch back-to-back episodes of whatever is on Nickelodeon. Those mothers have probably run out of emotional energy. They need to recharge. Let them do what they need to do. If your emotional energy level is high enough for you to look on with judgement, then you might consider offering to help.
Because I love my children, I do things like make special trips to the grocery store to get organic effing milk. But because I did that, the cart thing happened, and I ran out of emotional energy. When we got back home I sat in one place for a really long time and stared at my phone while my children did God knows what. I eventually found all three of them in a closet. Don’t know what they were doing. Probably hiding from me, which worked out well, since I was hiding from them too.
Later on, Robbie asked him, “What were you thinking when you pushed Asher into the road?” And he said, “I was thinking that Mommy would believe me when I said the wind blew him out there.
Today I kinda snapped in the swimsuit section of Kohl’s.
Consider this my public apology to the kind lady who happened to walk up at the exact time of my snappage. I just made that word up, I think. I’ll add that to my Dictionary of Words I Say That Aren’t Really Words, right next to my other fave, “yellisper.”
Anyway, all I remember about the lady is that she had on a family reunion t-shirt and she looked a little surprised when I looked at her and yelled, “WELCOME TO HELL!” but she didn’t seem to judge me.
I tried to reign it in. I silently shopped in several other stores before I got to this one, the frustration building with each problem I encountered. The tankini top was perfect but the bottoms were made for someone with a tiny rear end. The mix-and-match section didn’t have anything in my size. Bikinis are out of the question. One-pieces are frumpy. Swim skirts just drew attention to what I was trying to cover up, and rather than look like I was smuggling potatoes to the beach I WILL JUST OWN MY THIGHS, THANK YOU.
By the time I yelled “WELCOME TO HELL!” I was so angry that I wanted to throw every ill-fitting shred of spandex/poly blend on the floor and stomp. Hard. And I really think I would have, except that I also wanted to hide in the car and cry.
There are a million blog posts and articles out there talking about bathing suit shopping, and they can all be condensed into one sentence.
Shopping for a bathing suit blows.
It would really make me happy if every article titled “Find Your Perfect Suit!” ended with something like, “Here are some tips to guide you, but overall, it’s going to blow. Godspeed.”
I came home and ate a healthy salad followed by Oreos, and thought about the torture women go through that straight men will never understand. Robbie does not realize that I spent the majority of my day self-loathing under florescent lights because I needed something to wear when I take the kids to the pool. He probably thinks I should wear one of the bathing suits I already have, and if he said that to me I would irrationally scream at him that I WOULD LOVE TO WEAR ONE OF THE CUTE ONES IN MY CLOSET BUT THREE DAMN PREGNANCIES MADE THAT IMPOSSIBLE, ROBBIE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOW, SO LET’S JUST BURN THEM.
Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. I’m ready to get my tan on, in my very sensible one-piece with a ruffle around the bottom.