Tag Archives: mothers

Grooving Mums – Shopping and the Little Black Dress

I have recently been joining Kate on Thin Ice in her Grooving Mums feature.  This is a way of sharing stories of how mums are doing things for themselves.  I’m trying to see myself as more than just a mum and stop seeing  doing things for myself as self-indulgence.  This week I focused on shopping.

Before I had children clothes shopping used to be something I loved.  Being slim I was lucky to be able to wear most things and I knew exactly what suited me.  This began to change when I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter.  After the initial excitement of buying maternity clothes for the first time, I soon came to the conclusion that everything I tried on made me look like the ballet dancing hippos from Fantasia.

After  she was born I hadn’t considered that my shape would stay changed for such a long time.  I had to go out and buy new tops because my chest had expanded from an A cup to a DD.  Having always been flat chested I had no idea what suited a full breasted figure, and of course anything I wore had to be easily accessible for breastfeeding.  Gone were my days of wearing pretty summer dresses and I would wander around the shops looking with envy at all the pretty feminine clothes that I used to wear.

Over time shopping became a chore.  I could never find clothes that I thought would suit me, I would try things on and come out deflated and disappointed.  I hated looking at my shape in the changing room mirror and would come home frustrated and empty-handed.  It wasn’t that I was overweight but my shape had changed and I had no idea what to wear to flatter that shape.

Those of you who have been following my story so far will know that since the birth of my 3rd child I have taken up running.  As a result I am now happier with my figure than I have been in a very long time.  I noticed that many of the clothes I have been wearing over the past few years are looking baggy and old.  I decided to do a wardrobe purge and throw out anything that was too big or had lost its shape and start afresh.

A large proportion of my clothes I’d had for a very long time, some were bought on my honeymoon 9 years ago and a few things were even older.  A lot of the other things came from charity shops or cheap shops, a sign of my belief that spending money on myself is self indulgent. On the plus side there were many things in my wardrobe that I had given up hope of ever fitting into again and they all went on with ease.

I made a decision to go out and buy a few things that were modern, fitted properly and made me feel good.  I had my 3 girls in tow and almost abandoned the attempt but instead plumped for sticking to one shop, finding some things I liked and trying them on.  My 7 year old helped me pick things and I explained the styles that just don’t work on me.  I was pleased to find a number of things I like ( a good start) and took them to try on.  As I was going in I spotted a girl with a little black dress, I loved it and it reminded me of exactly the style of clothes I used to wear, so I vowed to find it when I came out. I chose a few things that I was happy with and went to find the dress.  On my way I spotted a lady carrying a pair of shoes that I also loved, I added them to my collection.  When I eventually found the dress they didn’t have my size but I checked the changing rooms to see whether the other girl had bought the dress.  Fortunately she hadn’t and it was in my size.  By this point I couldn’t bear the thought of going back to the changing rooms with my 3 year old rolling around the floor so I bought it without trying it on.

Later that evening I put on the dress with the new shoes and stood back to look in the mirror.  It was like looking at the old me, the young single me who always wore dresses, dressed up and felt good. I looked at myself and it almost brought tears to my eyes ‘hello you, I haven’t seen you in a long time’.

I haven’t had occasion to wear the dress yet but I think a big girls night out might be in order – it would be a shame to just let it sit in the wardrobe.

Mothers and Their Neglected Talents

I’ve just spent a weekend away for a friend’s hen party. We were in a party of 3 stay at home mums and one who works full time.

What struck me about our conversations at the weekend is that although all 3 stay at home mums are intelligent, skilled and have had good jobs in the past, our confidence about returning to work is rock bottom.  Part of this is a lack of direction, having been out of the workplace for a while, what do we go back and do?  Some of us are petrified about entering the world of work again and some don’t want to get caught up in demanding careers and feel guilty about neglecting the children.

For me work and career are a big part of both my identity and my self image.  I think we all agreed that staying home full time is more demanding than any job.  I love having some time away from the children, but for me work isn’t really about that.  Work is partly about having some financial independence so that I don’t feel guilty if I get my hair done or buy some new clothes.  Any job that I do has to be financially rewarding enough to pay for childcare for 2 children and leave a bit over.  Mostly, work gives me a sense of purpose and achievement. In any job I do I need to feel that I am challenging and developing myself and ideally I’d really like to make a difference. Work gives me a different aspect to my identity, at work I’m not just mum but someone people listen to and look up to.  I think I’m a better mum too when I work because I appreciate the children so much more and think about more than what I need to add to the shopping list.

I think there must be an abundance of mothers out there who have many talents but are drifting or working in jobs that undermine those talents.

Last week I went for a job interview for a full time job with some travelling and lots of responsibility.  The job was very exciting but I began to think about working full time and the impact it would have on the children. I got a glimpse of what it might be like to be a  full time working mum and the guilt about the lack of time you would be able to give your children.  I didn’t get the job, which was probably for the best.  I talked to another friend recently who has managed to hold on to a fulfilling career.  She feels that she never completely succeeds at anything because she is spreading herself between wife, mother and business woman and each one suffers in some way.

Going back to work this time will be the beginning of a new chapter, as the children grow up and I can build a new side to my identity.  As a qualified teacher I could easily drift back into a job in the classroom but somehow this doesn’t feel like moving forward. Maybe I should just take the easy option, earn a bit of money supply teaching and switch off to it at the end of the day. I’m hoping something more inspirational will strike me.  If anyone is looking for  someone who is passionate about early education, loves a challenge, writes, sings, can juggle a household of 3 kids and 2 dogs amongst many other talents give me a shout.