I recently helped a client clean out her wardrobe. She called me because she felt like a mess and didn’t have anything to wear while home with her two children all day. Not only is this woman adorable, but so are her clothes. So what’s the problem?
She wasn’t honoring herself or her season of life.
Just because we are with children all day—who are totally messy, I get it—doesn’t mean we should ignore our own appearance. Part of feeling good is looking good. We need to treat ourselves and our lives with enough respect to say “this day matters, too.” We would never dress like schleps for another job, so why this one?
If you find yourself in a similar place (and I think we all have at one time or another) and would like to make a change, here are some ideas:
1. Put on real clothes. Shockingly easy, but why is this so hard? Most of my clients live in Florida, and yes, it is very outdoorsy, health-oriented and hot here. We love our workout clothes—me included. But there is something about wearing “real” clothes that just feels better. Choose simple, washable pieces with crisp, clean lines. Nothing clingy or that needs to be ironed. Tunics and shorts or white jeans are my summer go-to. Yes, the clothes will get sweaty if you go on a stroll. Yes, they might stain if the baby spits up again. But who cares? What are we saving them for? Honor yourself and put on something you feel good in. It was a radical mental shift when I started doing this with my first baby. Did my client have “real clothes” to wear? Yes, plenty of them—all cute, comfortable and just the right thing. She just needed to give herself permission to wear them.
2. Consider new workout clothes. Exercising or just hanging around the house isn’t an excuse to wear stretched out or old clothes. Ultimately, we don’t feel good dressing like this, and perhaps our partners don’t love it either. So if you really are more of the yoga-pants-type (rather than real clothes), invest in some new pieces that fit and look great. A few black leggings and non-clingy gray tops will go a long way.
3. Take time to groom. I totally, totally understand feeling like you don’t have time to pee much less do your hair or anything else. So squeeze it in where you can. Let the baby cry a minute longer while you shave your legs. I file my nails while my children play in the bath. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver when you don’t have time to wash your hair. Develop a one minute makeup and hair routine (it is possible!). The tiniest bit of effort goes such a long way—in how we look and feel. And it shows our children that we matter, too. They can learn to wait a few minutes longer so we can take care of ourselves.
4. Update your underthings. I’ve seen a lot of undie drawers, and you guys, everyone needs some new underwear! It doesn’t have to be super sexy and amazing, but it does need to be its original color, not stretched out and hole free. Same with bras. A bra that feels good will completely change your day. If you are still breastfeeding and don’t want to invest, that’s totally understandable, so find something affordable for the meantime. I’ve worked with too many well-dressed, beautiful women who are wearing bras that are ten years old. We are better than this, friends!
If we don’t expect this time, our families certainly won’t provide it. No one is going to knock on our door and say “Hey beautiful lady underneath! Let me hold the baby while you go wash your hair.” We have to do this for ourselves. Children can learn to wait.
It won’t happen every day, but we can try, right? And we will feel so much better for it.