Tag Archives: mommy weight loss

Becoming a Fashion Forward (Or At Least Not So Behind) Momma

This post on a friend’s Facebook page about Diane von Furstenburg collaborating with Gap to produce some limited-edition GapKids must-haves for wee ones reminded me of a post I have been meaning to write for some time.

At one of my baby showers (one of the only blessings that come with divorced families), a nice friend gave me this book called Baby Steps: A Little Handbook for Happy Parenting. Rule No. 3 in the book was: Yes, the baby will dress better than you for awhile.

I remember laughing at reading that at first. But then something happened and I almost took it as a challenge.

I have never been really concerned with fashion. Sure, I want to look good. But for years, I have been a believer in basics. Accessorize black, white, gray, or tan with some fun earrings, funky jewelry, and/or cute shoes and you are all good. It makes perfectly logical sense except that what you don’t realize (especially when on a budget) is that, year to year, your clothes never change–and quite possibly neither do you. I started to realize this in college when, as a joke, my roommate outlined my wardrobe–a black long-sleeve turtleneck for winter, a black short-sleeve turtleneck for spring, and a black sleeveless turtleneck for summer.

Point taken. And while in my post-graduate years, I took this all into consideration, I’m not really sure I made many significant strides. I actually hated skinny jeans until I realized that they were way easier to tuck into riding-style boots, which is one trend I absolutely adored. (Still do.) But cargo skinnies? No way. Gladiator sandals? Definitely a little too bold. Flat t-straps were okay, but the big-heeled version seemed a little excessive. And fancy shorts? Not a chance. Who¬† (other than celebrities) can get away with wearing silk shorts out to a bar or club anyway?

I still cared about looking current, but I didn’t really care about being trendy. In fact, I was willing to forgo trends for my own style comfort. But then came baby.

Ever since my little bundle of boy arrived, I’ve been so more interested in what clothes I’m wearing than I ever was. (Ever.) I don’t need expensive, designer duds, but suddenly I do want things that at least look trendy even if they come from Target. I will admit that one of the first things I bought for fun once I lost my baby weight was a pair of gray skinny cargo pants. (A lesson in never say never.)

But I’ve bought also sorts of crazy stuff in the past year because it was hot, cool, trendy, or fun. (By definition that would mean it also would totally qualify as impractical as a new mom. I think I might be taking “Pregnant in Heels” to a new level.) Yes, I actually bought a gorgeous pair of grey suede, over-the-knee, chunk-heeled boots this past fall. I don’t doubt that I made a statement when I wore them to my first French mommy group.

Similarly my last two shoe purchases for summer were as follows (the one on the left is Nine West and the on the right is Franco Sarto):

These gladiators were made for strollin'...

Not the greatest picture, but also arguably not the greatest selection, if you are talking about heel height versus functionality when it comes to lugging car seats or diaper bags or chasing children around. But, at the time, I felt that I needed (and deserved) them, so I bought them. (I still feel justified.)

I mentioned this sudden new-found interest or commitment or whatever you can call it in fashion–or at least trends, because who am I kidding, I don’t dare spend my husband’s hard-earned deployment money on essentially a label–to a couple of other mommy friends recently and found I wasn’t alone. Many of them were feeling the same, like they needed to make an extra effort to look good anytime they went somewhere other than the grocery store or gym. Showering was no longer just enough; we needed to have the whole package together. It’s like a passive-aggressive refusal among new moms to fit the stereotypical image of a new mom.

I say this, but I certainly don’t mean that women like me are trying to forget or hide that we are moms. I mean, we’re all cool with being a mom and having a lifestyle as a mom. I think the question is, do we need to wear t-shirts, khaki shorts, and flip flops or sneakers (or worse, Crocs) everyday? Hells no!

The only unfortunate part to this new sense of fashion daring for mommies like me is that we don’t have all that many places to go. The options are seriously limited–grocery store, Target, gym, church, work, and anything else pretty much is extra effort that may or may not require a babysitter. So while I’m buying these cute wardrobe goodies, I’m not really putting them through their courses for a night out on the town or anything. (In this sense, I actually look forward to meetings at the office because it means that I can get semi dressed up.)

But I buy the clothes anyway, despite some of its impracticality–I also recently bought a black, silk tulip skirt, which totally qualifies–because it’s really the only way I feel connected to the normal world. I’m so busy chasing, cleaning, feeding, bathing, and putting to bed that I barely have time to turn on the TV or answer e-mails, much less keep up with the all the latest happenings from around the globe. (That totally sucks, especially for a journalist by trade, to be constantly behind the power curve when it comes to knowing what’s going on in the world.) So, wearing something that looks sort of trendy is almost like a last stretch to stay connected with everything around me.

Maybe it sounds completely shallow. And maybe it is. But I completely feel more human and more together as an urban momma when I’m pushing my stroller wearing gladiator wedge sandals.

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Run, Momma, Run

Anyone who knew me in high school or college probably knew me, among other things, as a runner. I loved to run. Rain or shine, sleet or snow–and there was a lot of snow in Upstate New York–I would lace up my Nike trainers and hit the road to pound out some miles.

I kept up my running even out of college, logging miles in as wonderful places as Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., where I eventually made my home. Then something happened. One day I ran 11 miles–I was in training for a medium-distance event–and when I finished something had changed in me. It was the furthest I had ever run, and I should have been really proud of myself and confident that I was ready for my race. But I couldn’t shake this one thought: Where was I going so fast? Nowhere.

And that was it. I never really enjoyed running much after that. I still stayed active, but I never really ran again. I got into other things–kick boxing, yoga, weight training, etc.–but my daily run had turned into a trudge. I started to dread it and eventually hated it so much that I pretty much stopped running altogether.

I think I hit that point about six years ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long. But something happened a couple of weeks ago that may have flipped the switch back again.

I wasn’t able to get to the gym one morning, so I had missed the window of in-gym daycare. (I hate when that happens.) The dog was going nuts, as he’d been cooped up all day. And I was short on time. So, I had an idea. I’d throw the kid in the stroller, the dog on the leash and take off for the smart, newly rubberized track just down the block. I had 30 minutes, so I figured I could pound out 3 miles before I had to be back home.

Okay, so that was a bit optimistic. Between getting the stroller up and down the stairs to the track, keeping the dog from getting tangled up in the stroller, and stopping for doggy potty breaks–and if I’m perfectly honest, I’m a heck of a lot slower than I used to be–I only squeezed in two miles. But it was the most enjoyable two miles I’ve gone in a long, long time.

I think it was more fun than I was expecting it to be for a few reasons. First, I was under no self-inflicted pressure to go fast. I know I’m so out of running shape–and shape, in general–that I just wanted to get out and run around rather than reach a certain goal.

Second, I love my dog more when he’s tired. Remember I have a soon-to-be-six-months-old Dobie puppy that needs a lot (a lot!) of exercise or he’s a terror. And boy was he tired after our little jog. When we got home, he grabbed a few laps of water and went right to the living room to take a multi-hour snooze, leaving the house in order for a small moment in time.

But I think the reason I most enjoyed my run was this:

On your mark, get set, sleep!

See, my kid is not much of a napper, particularly in the afternoons, so anything I can do to get him to get some shuteye during the day, I will do. The alternative is a slow meltdown that begins in the late afternoon and crescendos around 6pm when he’s sobbing between bites of food and rubbing what food has missed his mouth into his eyes. But a few laps around the old track and goodnight; baby’s eyelids start sliding shut as soon as the stroller’s tires hit track.

So, while I don’t think I’ll ever be the runner I once was, the fact that I’m even remotely liking it again is a stride in the right direction in my book. I’m looking at running now as the ultimate multitasking tool–it gets me exercised while tiring both the baby and puppy out, making for a much more pleasant day all around. The fact that I’m able to accomplish these major tasks with in fell swoop or 12 around the track makes me appreciate running and dare I say enjoy it more than I have in a good long time.

Even the fact that I’m running on a track, which I used to absolutely hate, makes no difference to me anymore. In fact, it makes getting out and doing it that much easier. I don’t have to plan a route, I don’t have to negotiate uneven sidewalks and curbs, and I don’t have to stop for stoplights. The track is now efficient rather than boring.

About the only thing that’s been able to deflate my newly rekindled joy of running of late was that a man started yelling at me during my last run, telling me I couldn’t have the dog on the track. (For the record, my dog was running on the grass next to the track.) Given that there are no signs posted to that effect–in fact, there’s a sign at the entrance to the track area that says dogs must be leashed–I took a chance that whatever authority the man screaming at me had came with absolutely no power and just kept on running. Try and catch me, fat boy!

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