Sunday, May 1, 2011

All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go: A Blog About Encouraging Moms Not To Lose Themselves In The Shuffle Of Parenthood

Motherhood...that point in our lives where we women decided to not only dedicate our time, but also our bodies, to bringing forth the next generation of little people. Though this role is AMAZING, and truly a blessing, it can also feel like a slippery slope into vortex that sucks women in and leaves them as a shell of their former selves.

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs that there is. It is self-sacrificing, emotionally and physically challenging, and too often leads to feelings of depleted self-worth, self-deprecation, and dissatisfaction (whether it is admitted or not--I'm an honest mom...if you want a liar liar pants on fire "My child is the most brilliant being on earth and I am just such a happy parent ALL THE TIME!" mommy blog then you need to go somewhere else). There is a lot of pressure that comes with trying to parent children properly. Most of us have heard the saying, "There is no manual for parenting". This is true, but there are ways to ensure that keeping that warm, fuzzy feeling of excitement about who YOU are alive and well inside of you.

I know a fair number of moms. The majority of whom I know peripherally. I am anti "Mommy and Me" groups. Why? Because I can think of nine million things I'd like to do other than sit around on the playground cackling like a hen with other mommies and listening to everyone bragging about how their child is the most amazing child in the universe. Along with these long, drawn out stories about superhuman children usually comes the fluffy fakeness of how awesome every other aspect of these mommie's lives are--they have the best husband; they just took the best vacation; their house is amazing; they can't believe how lucky they are...yadda yadda yadda. Please excuse me...I need to go vomit.

I recently spoke with a mom who was actually advised by a physician that she needed to decrease her stress level. Why? Because she stresses out about everything--so much so that she would actually wake up and be so worried in the middle of the night that she would vomit (and goodness knows that's my role in life--specifically reserved for Mommy and Me group days). All joking aside, all I could think was, "Really?". This is what happens when we moms lose sight of ourselves. This is what happens when we LIVE for our children. This is the slippery slope I was referring to earlier--it's no bueno.

Remember June Cleaver? I love images from the past, or TV shows from the past that show how to be a good homemaker. I'm not talking about going all "Stepford Wives" here, folks--but I loved how these moms would their hair. And put on their makeup. And dress nicely. As a matter of fact, every old photograph I have of my family has my mother with her hair done, makeup on, and nice clothing. I can't even imagine the controversy I'll stir up when I say, "IT'S A REFRESHING CHANGE FROM THE PAJAMA JEANS, TEES, DISHEVELED HAIR, AND ZERO MAKEUP" that is so common today. Was the divorce rate super high back in the day when women actually took care of themselves? I'm thinking NO.

Ok--start throwing rotten fruit at me. I get it. You're tired. You don't have time to take care of yourself because you're too busy trying to teach your 1.5 year old to read because you purchased that phonics program that breeds child geniuses. I get that. But try to picture how much fun Junior Einstein is going to have explaining to his friends in the third grade why his mommy had to go away for a while, and why the nice men came and  tied her up in a white coat before they put her on a bed with wheels and put her in an ambulance. "Excuse me Miss--did you lose something?...why yes you did!...YOURSELF."

"Okay, Whitney...where is all of this going...and why did you post that picture of Victoria Beckham on the soccer field? Now I just hate you." I know--I'm a big jerk. But's my blog! If you want to pretend that investing every single part of yourself into your child is an endeavor that's well worth it and that you are "Julie Andrews spinning around on a mountain top happy" about it then write it on your own blog. Oh wait! You don't have one... you have no time! Why? Because you're still lecturing 1.5 year old Junior Einstein on dangling participles and the singular and plural of "rhinoceros" so you can brag about it at your Mommy and Me group.

Look--I know we are not all Victoria Beckham. I also know this--the job description of a stay-at-home mom (or even a working mom, for that matter) is long, involved, and exhausting. When I was married and was at home with my twin girls I would hate filling out applications for things where it would ask me what my occupation was. All I could enter was "homemaker". What I really wanted to write was, "Mother, Wife, Daycare Provider, Doctor, Dentist, Personal Shopper, Cook, Maid, Chauffeur, Therapist, Hairstylist, Personal Financial Advisor, and Mattress Kitten"...but it wouldn't all fit in the blank, unfortunately.

We mommies have a lot on our plate. My main point of this blog is to embrace YOURSELF again and to put YOU back in the picture. Some of you may know that I am into fashion. I love love love fashion. I don't care where I am going--I will dress my best every time I leave the house. I love the feeling that comes with knowing that I have taken care of myself. I love the WOW factor. "WOW! There's a mom who knows how to take care of herself!" (thank you for the recurring inspiration, Victoria Beckham--it has boosted my confidence through the roof). It doesn't matter where I'm going--I dress up to go to the grocery store. I love it. My confidence abounds. I even go to a "jeans and flip flop" church--do you think Sundays are "dress down" days for me? Heck no, Bubba...this fashionista goes all out for God. I'm sure He doesn't sit there and say, "Now are those Steve Maddens, or MIA?", but I just feel like God deserves more than my yoga pants--and so do I.

So what to do? I encourage MOM'S DAY OUT. Whether it be one day per month, or one day per week--every mom needs to get out and DO SOMETHING FOR HERSELF. Get a pedicure. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit and wear it on a date night with your husband. Get decked out to go to the grocery store to buy frozen pizza and salad in a bag. Going grocery shopping is no fun, but look like a million bucks while you're doing it and not only do you feel amazing, but IT MAKES IT MORE FUN!!!! Why do I clean my bathrooms in my high heels?...because cleaning bathrooms is the most dreadful task on earth, but if I wear a sexy 4-inch heel that makes me feel like a rock star while I'm doing it then WOOOOoooHOOOoooo!!!--I'm Victoria Beckham with a toilet brush!!! Not only that, but once you start feeling good about yourself again it might inspire you to want to flaunt your new fabulousness a little more and maybe, just maybe, you'll go out and buy those thigh highs and stilettos you've been dreaming about springing on your sexy man when Junior Einstein is having a sleepover party!!! When you regain yourself, everyone you love WINS.



  1. You said "mattress kitten". That made the whole post worth it!

    By the way, I love the comments on dressing up and taking care of appearance and its relation to the divorce rate of yesteryear... however, knowing what I know about not knowing anything about women, I am guessing that appearance was more tied to public acceptance by one's peers.

    In other words, perhaps women used to get dressed up to impress their fellow maternal friends at their "Mommie and Me and a martini meetings" (- hey, it was the 50's) and had little or nothing to do with hunka-hunka husband and his preferences.

    All that aside, I'm really stuck on the Mattress Kitten comment. That's classic literature, that is.