I’ve never been the type of person who enjoys shopping for clothing, and now that I have kids, the idea of dragging them along from store to store is about as appealing as spending the day getting cavities filled. (Actually, I think getting cavities filled would be more relaxing than shopping with my kids.) Most of the clothing I buy these days is purchased online, and I get just the necessities—a new pair of leggings to replace the ones that ripped, or a few new t-shirts to make up for the ones that my kids managed to permanently stain. As such, it’s rare for me to spend more than $50 or so on clothing in one fell swoop.
But recently, my husband and I decided to be brave and spent the day shopping with our children. He needed polo shirts and it was time to get new shoes and fall attire for the kids. At one point, we passed a store my husband knows I used to like but rarely shop at anymore, and he encouraged me to go inside and look around. Before I knew it, there I was, buying a whole pile of clothing I technically didn’t need.
See, I’m a stay-at-home mom who works part-time, but all the work I do is from home. While I do attend services at synagogue and go out on the occasional date night, for the most part, my usual attire consists of either shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt—which is why I wound up feeling guilty about plunking down several hundred dollars on a wardrobe update.
After all, it’s not like I have a day job to go to or a real need for decent clothing. And the stuff I bought—some nicer pants, shirts, and sweaters—probably won’t get worn when I’m home alone with my kids, especially because those little buggers have a tendency to touch with me their grubby hands and rub food remnants all over me. (Just the other day, one of my daughters ran up to me, grabbed my skirt, and proceeded to wipe her nose with it. She then wiped the remainder all over my leg.)
On the other hand, my husband, wonderful guy that he is, continues to insist that I shouldn’t feel bad in the slightest, and I’m starting to convince myself that he’s right. First of all, just because I don’t need to dress up often doesn’t mean I don’t need to do it at all. Between the upcoming holidays, date nights, and evenings out with friends, I can hopefully find opportunities to wear all the new stuff I bought.
But it’s more than that. I’ve also (finally) come to accept the fact that many of my pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit the way I’d like them to. Though I’ve probably lost most or all of what would be considered baby weight, things in my body just…shifted, I guess—to the point where a lot of my old stuff just doesn’t fit right. But I’m not going to punish myself for the fact that my body changed after carrying twins, just as I’m also not going to force myself to wear the same dress to synagogue this Rosh Hashanah that I’ve worn every year for the past five. I deserve to feel good about myself, and to have clothes that fit (and aren’t stained).
In fact, the last time I “treated” myself to new clothes was back when I got pregnant with my son and needed maternity pieces to wear to work. I forced myself to reuse most of those items while pregnant with my daughters despite the fact that I was considerably bigger and, in reality, needed new stuff to wear to my office job. When my husband pointed this out to me the other night, it finally sunk in. I don’t need a reason or justification to treat myself to new things, least of all clothing. I may be a stay-at-home mom, but I’m not a hermit, and on those rare occasions where I do go someplace other than a grocery store, doctor’s office, or preschool, I want to feel good about the way I look.
Now all I need is a nice new pair of shoes to go with that clothing, and I should be all set.