There seems to be a stigma floating around that moms who look put together aren't real and don't look "the part." I'm not sure who defined what a mother is supposed to look like, but to me, she looks however the hell she wants to look.
The way I dress and how much time I spend on my hair and make up is part of my identity; it's something I was not willing to give up when I became a mother.
It's hard to see women put into categories based on our appearance. Some moms rock the yoga pants every day and don't give a shit about make up or hair—and they own it. It doesn't make them less-than. Other moms feel better when they slip on their favorite jeans and heels. It doesn't make them less-than, either, and it certainly doesn't mean they don't look like a "real mom."
I am a clothes whore. I was born this way. It is who I am. When I was 7, I asked my mom if I could wear blue eye shadow and high heels, and when she responded with a big fat "NO," I cried for two days.
Some think I shouldn't wear blazers, heels and fancy bracelets because I'm now a mother.
After graduating college instead of using my B.A. in English, I went head first into the fashion industry. It fed my soul. It was intoxicating. I couldn't get enough. And when I left my career to become a full-time mom this obsession did not fizzle (most days anyway) like so many told me it would. Yes, things besides having a glamorous wardrobe became much more important, but I still needed to see me when I looked in the mirror.
Because of this I often get asked questions like, "Where are you going?" and, "Why are you wearing that?" Some think I shouldn't wear blazers, heels and fancy bracelets because I'm now a mother.
Of course there are days when I simply cannot put on any makeup, and all I want is to put on my sweats and T-shirt because I have nothing in me.
There are also days when I think, I am just a stay-at-home-mom, I don't have any big plans, so why bother getting dressed? But I want to, so I do. And I instantly feel better. I am suddenly more like myself.
To all the critics, know this:
Just because I became a mother it doesn't mean I have to say goodbye to this part of myself.
Just because I became a mother it doesn't mean I stopped needing to take shopping trips with my friends or by myself.
Just because I became a mother it doesn't mean I suddenly stopped loving jewelry and shoes.
Just because I became a mother it doesn't mean I stopped wearing dresses for no reason.
Just because I became a mother it doesn't mean my passions should come last.
And especially because I am a mother, I have learned what makes me still me. So I take a few minutes in the midst of hectic mornings to curl my hair or I give myself a little me-time online shopping for new heels.
Because I'm not just a mother.
Have I been known to run to the store in my pajamas? Yes, I simply throw a coat on so I am the only one aware of the braless party happening under my very comfortable, worn T-shirt. But most of the time I feel better, I am better when I like the way I look. And yes, I like the way I look in my jammies, I just like my favorite jeans and sweater better.
Every woman has their own style, even if they don't think they do. And that signature style is what makes them feel beautiful, comfortable, badass, and more importantly, most like themselves. The way that looks to anyone else does not matter.
It does take more effort, more time, but that is the thing about being a woman—if we want to do something that makes us feel better (no matter what that is) we absolutely should. We are all worth it. It certainly doesn't mean we are not real, we are vain, or we don't look the part.
Every mother I see looks the part. Every mother I see is doing her best regardless of what she is wearing, and honestly it doesn't get any more real than that.
Photographs by: Katie Smith