The Stay at Home Mom's Essential Wardrobe: Using Clothes to Make You Feel Good
Every now and again I get to thinking, and when I get to thinking, it is often true that I get to writing. Being a writer, that is simply what I do.
I am a stay at home mom. This means that I experience endless days of taking care of the home, the baby and the husband. I don't get to take a break and my days sometimes seem to go on and on forever. Sometimes I lose my patience and sometimes I forget that I am more than a mother: I am a woman and a wife as well, and women have some kind of an inbuilt need for clothes.
But it's different if you're a stay at home mom. Read on...
If you've ever watched a daytime talk show that does makeovers, you've seen it: the crazy hair, the stained shirts, the torn blue jeans. You've seen the "mommy uniform."
There is some truth to the idea that women who stay at home and don't make it out of the house very often tend to let themselves go. There are a few reasons why this might happen, all of which are very unfortunate.
She Doesn't Have Time to Do Anything for "Herself"
Mothers of very young children in particular often cannot find the time to make themselves look nice. Mornings are spent preparing breakfast, changing diapers and making sure that baby's clothes are clean. It is sometimes difficult to remember to take the time to put something clean on your own body.
And what stay at home mother to very young children has the time to fix her hair? Especially if there is more than one child in the house. She's busy, and the art of hair styling can take quite a bit of time out of every single day. So the hair often either goes into a pony or is allowed to take over.
Her Clothes Won't Stay Clean Anyway
A stay at home mom is a working mom regardless of whether she makes money from home. She is a housekeeper and a caretaker for her children. Cooking can be messing, and I can guarantee you that while doing the sweeping, mopping and dusting she's going to get untidy!
Let's not fail to mention the fact that babies spit up. Children spill their milk all in her lap. Fingerpaints get on clothes and don't always wash out as well as we'd like. Sometimes she's got bubblegum in her hair and she needs to cut it out because she can't come up with a better way to relieve herself of the stuff.
It's easy to get trapped when all of your clothes are dirty. All of the time.
My daily goal is to shower and fix myself before my husband gets home from work. I want him to come home to a clean house, a clean daughter, and a pretty wife. I know that this is meaningful to him and that he takes pride in me when I take pride in myself. But some days, when the baby has been fussy or I've had to field neverending phone calls... If the cats have been messy or if there are more dishes than usual... I just can't find the energy to care, let alone to go through the process of showering and dressing to please him.
Stay at home moms aren't perfect. Anyone who tells you that a perfect picture exists is lying.
She Doesn't Want to Change (Or Isn't Willing to Change)
I know that this sucks for the gentlement to realize, but sometimes a woman just doesn't want to change. This can be due to bitterness and anger, and sometimes a woman will simply let herself go, regardless of whether or not she understands that her appearance is important to her husband.
Ditching the Uniform
The mom uniform has to go, ladies. I don't imagine that you feel particularly good when you're wearing it and I find that the "uniform" makes me feel even more exhausted throughout the day! You deserve (and need) to feel good about yourself. In order to feel good about yourself, you need to develop a new wardrobe!
I am going to suggest that you go through your closet and dresser and throw out anything that is stained to the point of no return. Throw it in the trash. Nobody wants to buy it on consignment and it's not going to get purchased at Good Will either. So go ahead. Just grab a bag and stuff it full of your unwanted clothing. This will not only help to prevent you from putting it back on when you shouldn't, but it will help to clear the clutter out of your closet and drawers!
No guilt ladies, and no regrets. Get rid of those items that don't belong in your closet any more. You'll feel better once you have.
Note: It is perfectly acceptable to hold back one or two "work shirts" that can be worn when doing heavy jobs that result in unresolvable stains.
The Work Clothes
The first part of the wardrobe of a stay at home mother that I want to discuss is "the work uniform." Even though you don't go to a job every day, you are still a working mother and you need to dress appropriately for the job!
My "work uniform" consists of a comfortable yet flattering pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt or sweater (depending on the season). The shirts and sweaters are almost always purchased second hand at a thrift store. These are not shirts that I care a great deal about and they are "disposable" because they are very likely to become too stained to wear in public. Old jeans are preferable as well.
Wear a well-fitting bra! If you're anything like I used to be as a stay at home mom, you often go without one. After all, the only people who are going to see you during the day are your children, and they don't care whether or not you're wearing one! If you're still nursing, it might even seem more convenient to go without. Don't.
Another very important and often overlooked addition to the daily work uniform is shoes. Like your bra, these should fit well, and they should be lace-up shoes. Don't be tempted to wear an old or uncomfortable pair. The comfort the shoes afford you is going to be important to how well you perform your daily tasks.
The point here is less "what" and more importantly that you do wear makeup. For me, my daily "around the house" makeup includes only eye liner, mascara and some lip gloss. Less is always more, and this works well for me. It makes me feel good about how I look and it only takes ten minutes to apply! Putting on some makeup can really change the way that a woman feels about herself, and it is often very important that a stay at home mom feeds her self-esteem.
When I am working in the house I tend to wear only my wedding and engagement rings. I don't need any other jewelry and earrings and necklaces can get in my way. I prefer to leave them off until I am done with my chores.
I wear mine in a ponytail, but it is always washed every single morning. I never neglect to keep it clean and neat. Brush it every morning before you set on about the work of the day. Don't let your hair get tangled. If you have a hard time keeping up with a style, ask your stylist to make your hair in a way that doesn't require a great deal of care.
The "Feel Good" Clothes
Every evening, my husband calls me to let me know that he is on his way home from work. At this time, I take a moment to bathe the baby and get her dressed in something more appropriate. I usually put her into a cute dress and do something with her hair. Then I put her in her playpen in the living room and I take a shower. She is happy, and I smell better. I've been working all day and I sometimes sweat. The shower refreshes me and signifies a break in the day from work to "Daddy's Home!"
I try to choose flattering clothing to wear in the evening. Even if for some reason I spent the day in a pair of sweats (which would be unusual for me), I try to change into a pair of jeans that fits me very well and a nice sweater or a blouse in the evenings. My preference is for skirts, but because I am overweight, the skirts are not a flattering item until weight is lost. They somehow make me look bigger than I am!
I think that for most women the ideal situation is a comfortable skirt and a sweater or a blouse. A dress can be "too much" and jeans might just be too casual. You want to be comfortable enough to relax in the evening but "dolled up" enough to make both you and your husband feel good about how you look.
Once again, less is more. My advice is to focus your attention on your best feature in order to draw attention towards it. You don't want your husband staring at your overly-large nose rather than focusing on your full mouth. Play up your best feature and understate the others.
I don't add a lot of jewelry when I'm only going to be at home. I continue to wear my wedding and engagement rings, but also try to add earrings and maybe a necklace. These items should remain fairly subtle. For me it is a pair of small hoop earrings and a cross pendant on a chain.
Let it down! If you are a woman who generally wears her hair pulled back when you are "on the job" let it down in the evenings. Most men love a woman's hair, particularly if it is long. Use this time to show it off! If you have the opportunity (as I do) in the afternoons to take a shower before he arrives home from work, take this time to style your hair. I generally either straighten mine or focus on the curl, depending on my mood, and then let it remain down and unaffected when he is home in the evenings.
The "Date Night" Outfit
I try to have two or three of these. Some women have only one, but it gets boring to wear the same thing week after week. My husband and I have weekly date nights and I try to dress for them. I choose to wear comfortable clothes, and this is a time I choose to always wear a skirt.
The most important thing about this set of clothing is that it is clean and completely free of stains. I know that this probably sounds self-explanatory, but if you're like me, as a stay at home mom, it might be hard to find something that is clean! We don't have a washer and dryer, which only complicates the situation!
I prefer skirts for this outfit. We tend to have "casual" dates and a dress is just a little bit too much. If you and your husband choose to visit fancier establishments, by all means, feel free to wear something more appropriate for the occasion!
My favorite "date night" outfit is a denim skirt with buttons that go from the waist to the hem and a cream colored sweater. I wear entirely different shoes for my date nights, ranging from sandals in the summer to a very nice pair of brown leather ankle boots in the winter. Nylons, stockings or tights add a nice finishing touch to your clothing in this case.
I think that for date nights it is appropriate to do a bit more with your makeup. Perhaps seek out a more dramatic look. But please do not overdo it! You want to look like your husband's bride and not make him look like a pimp!
When we go out, I do a bit more with my jewelry. I wear a bracelet (for me it is usually a bangle) and I might put a ring on my right hand. I also change my earrings to something a bit... more. Something that dangles or has a little bit of flash isn't inappropriate.
Because we do casual dates most weeks, my hair is the same for this outfit as for the one listed above. I try to keep it relatively understated. If we are going to do something fancier, however, I do try to make an effort towards doing some kind of an up-do that is appropriate for the establishment we are visiting.
I hope that this guide has helped you somewhat. I find that my confidence as a stay at home mom increased exponentially the more that I did for myself. I feel better about myself and I get more done during the day!