I gave up on adult fashion when I was pregnant. I threw on the cleanest tent in my closet and went on with my day. After the pregnancy/labor dust had settled, I was left holding my perfect little baby and beholding the rubble that had become my personal appearance. I cringed at my split ends, shapeless shirts and baggy pants, but I was too exhausted to imagine up a solution. When I left the hospital, the nurses only told me how to keep baby Darla alive, not how to do so while getting a shower in daily. The maternity jeans were firmly planted on my butt and that’s where I intended to keep them. Eventually, I tried to slowly piece together a sense of post maternity style with minimal effort and here’s what I came up with.
1. I picked out a hairdo that looked complicated and not only kept my hair out of Darla’s grabby fingers, but could be done in two minutes. Since my hair is so long (due to the fact that I don’t have the wherewithal to book a hair appointment), my solution is “The Heidi Braid”. Here’s the directions in a nutshell: I part my hair in the middle, braid one side, wrap it over the top of my head, pin it, braid the other side, wrap it over the top of my head and pin it. It looks complex and I usually get kudos from other new moms for being able to spend so much time on my hair. It’s so simple that I only need to give Darla a handful of Cheerios to buy enough time to get it done. The other option is a very sloppy side bun, which I find has a disheveled appeal that people will mistake for being windswept. For the moms I know with shorter hair, they find that the A-line bob is the low maintenance do for them (although it does require more upkeep with regard to more frequent haircuts).
2. I shunned all gold, dangly jewelry and opted for plastic bangles and necklaces. Everything is considered a toy to Darla. My glasses, my credit cards or a clump of dust on the ground are as entertaining as all her toys that light up and spin. At about 3 months, I gave up on wearing any jewelry beyond my wedding ring. Thankfully, Smart Mom Jewelry has understood a mother’s desire to accessorize and keep her 14 carat chain intact. They’ve invented bangles and pendants that look like modern pieces made out of coral or jade, but are actually entirely plastic. These pieces are suitable for both a fashion-conscious mother and curious infants and toddlers.
3. (For those women who breastfeed) I started wearing shirts that are easy to adjust on top. When I decided to resurrect my pre-maternity clothes, I realized how highly impractical many of my dresses and shirts were. High collars and shirts with a lot of little buttons were completely useless and were tossed back into the dead stock box in my closet until further notice. Instead, I looked for loose fitting shirts with tops that could easily be adjusted and button-up shirts that opened with little effort. I found five basic shirts and rotated through them. The good thing about being friends with mostly other new moms is that they’re all as bleary eyed and delirious as you are, so they don’t notice you’re wearing the same shirt as you were two days ago. They’re just impressed when you’re not wearing sweats.
4. I wear slip on flats everyday. You’re going to be in and out of play areas that won’t allow you to wear shoes. Rather than fumble with laces while juggling a baby and a diaper bag, I just wear my comfortable flats and bring clean socks. It’s one less thing to worry about when your child’s anxious to crawl and interact with other babies.
5. I carry a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. You might be toting a 15 pound child in an ErgoBaby carrier, but you can make sure your other tote is a little more fashionable. Marc Jacob’s diaper bags are just as chic as a purse you’d wear pre-baby.
6. I have collected many baby distractors in order to buy five to ten minutes a day to take a shower. I, like every mom I know, have become a master of child diversion. I’ve rotated through swings, bouncy chairs, exersaucers and play pens, each one accommodating different levels of development. I consider all these guys to be my best friends as they’ve consistently entertained Darla long enough for me to get a five-minute shower in. I also like to supplement these items with this Munchkin “Fresh Food Feeder”, which I fill with fresh berries and bananas. Darla thinks she’s eating food and I have a calm child for ten minutes!
7. I take (at least) one hour a week for self-care. Although there’s no better feeling than having your child in your arms, take your partner, sibling, mom, dad or childless friend up on his or her offer to take care of him or her. You can now do something purely about you. Whether it be sitting in your car crying, taking a nap or getting your nails done, it’s good to remember your identity outside of motherhood. It makes the bags under our eyes seem that much less intense.
Nothing’s more beautiful than a mother with her baby. It’s a perfect image of bliss and joy, but sometimes we mother’s don’t feel so fresh. These style tips might not turn us into the well-coiffed women we were prior to having babies, but they can help us feel cleaner and calmer.