I’m pretty sure I used to be cool.
I ran with the popular crowd in high school. I played on the tennis team. I read Seventeen magazine. I went to parties. In college I became friends with just about the greatest people you can imagine. We went on crazy road trips. We blew our minimum-wage incomes every Friday at the mall buying clothes to wear for the weekend’s parties or dates. Our hair-stylist roommate ensured we were always well coiffed, well waxed, and made up just right.
And then I became a mom. And, slowly but surely, I’ve let myself go. And you know what? I don’t mind a bit. In fact, I feel great. Wondering how that’s possible? Let me count the ways I’m bringing frumpy back.
1. I rock the mom bob.
For years I wore my hair halfway down my back. Was it a pain to wash and style? Of course. But did it look great? I like to think so. When my son was born, I didn’t even consider lopping off my locks. He could grab my hair by the fistful, but I wouldn’t budge. I wouldn’t be that mom. And then I realized how ridiculous it was to wear my hair in a messy, unwashed ponytail every. single. day. So I chopped it. I’ve never looked back.
2. I wear practical shoes.
My shoe collection used to boast more heels than flats. More shoes for dressing up than for working out. More strappy sandals than flip-flops. But I quickly learned that long walks with the stroller weren’t exactly comfortable in cute shoes. And then my own mom, a 60-something hiking nut who shops the REI sales like it’s her job, sent me this hideous pair of Keens. And now? I laugh in the face of the moms who attempt to navigate the playground’s wood chips in their pretty post-work pumps. And that nanny who makes the 20-minute walk to the library in her platform wedges? She can look forward to bunions, poor posture, and bad knees while I’m still living the frumpy-mom, healthy-foot life.
3. I don’t even know what makeup is anymore.
I’ve never felt completely confident with my makeup-application skills, and I’ve definitely never been a fan of the overly made-up look (or foundation lines, or obviously fake lashes, or crazy-dramatic eyeliner). So when I was learning to navigate life with a newborn and a part-time job, makeup was one of the first things to go. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I do put on mascara about once a week — usually in the car, at a stoplight — when I’m feeling the urge to get dolled up.
4. I bought a backpack.
My son is three, and I’ve never owned a diaper bag. When friends were fawning over their Petunia Pickle Bottoms and their $300 Kate Spade baby bags, I was scratching my head wondering why I couldn’t simply use my voluminous purses. And you know what? I’ve had no problem stuffing all the diapers, extra clothes, pacifiers, snacks, toys, and water bottles in. But the thing gets heavy. And after reading about — and feeling — the shoulder and back stress that can come from carrying a giant purse, I broke down and bought a backpack. A backpack — that thing that students and hikers use! And I’m not going back.
5. I wear leggings. A lot.
When I slipped into my first pair of leggings as a pregnant mom-to-be, I swear I heard angels sing. What a gloriously comfortable thing it is to wear pants (yes, I consider them pants) that don’t lead to a muffin top or squished thigh fat. And the versatility! Leggings can go from day to night, from workday to workout. And remember last winter? When life with kids was all about survival and not about looking like a ski bunny? And we all wore our long puffy coats all day every day and our pants didn’t even show? Tell me I wasn’t more comfortable in my thick leggings than the moms in their too-tight designer skinny jeans.