When a Shopaholic Becomes a Mom

shopaholic - Boston Moms Blog

As a new mom, my life is drastically different than it once was. I discover constant bags under my eyes. I try and sometimes fail to implement a set routine during the week. And I have toddler tunes stuck in my head non-stop. One thing that has not changed is my love of shopping. I don’t know if it’s the thrill of getting a really great deal, the workout from walking while carrying so many bags, or a combo of both, but I never get sick of it. If the Hunger Games were set in the Target clearance section, I would win within about 20 seconds — no question.

However, with my new priorities and responsibilities, I find my shopaholic habits shifting. Some of it has to do with all the postpartum bodily changes. I don’t often feel cute, so I don’t feel the need for cute clothes. (Even if those printed dresses are only $10 each at Primark.) I’m also in this weird between-sizes limbo, so not having an array of outfits and pieces to choose from incentivizes me to get back on track to pre-baby size. Or so I tell myself. And I have a 6-month-old, so I will take comfort over cute any day of the week at the moment. Leggings are a gift from the fashion gods — I don’t care what anyone says. And sweatshirts are the best shirts.

My passion for fashion is still there, it just manifests differently now. The enjoyment I once got from finding nice things for myself has morphed into finding and dressing my son in adorable outfits. Since babies grow at lightning speed, I try not to go overboard. But sometimes it’s very hard to resist an outfit with a teddy bear hoodie that says “The Snuggle Is Real.” I mean, I am only human after all.

I’m still getting a handle on the sizing of baby clothes. Just because an article of clothing is labeled 3–6 months does not mean it will fit an infant in that age range. Some pieces were too small before my little guy even had a chance to christen them with spit-up. Others last much longer than the time frame they advertise themselves to be. Are baby clothes “fake news”? 

What’s worked for me has been familiarizing myself with brands and stores and knowing which things are going to stretch my dollars the most. Some stores stock clothing that I know will be retired to the outgrown pile after one wear, so I’ve learned to avoid them. Other stores sell pieces that I know will last even past their suggested age range. Buying up has also been a game changer. We can work with rolled up sleeves and pant legs, but a too-snug onesie? Unless my son plans on morphing into the Baby Incredible Hulk, it’s a hard pass.

Another trick that works for me is getting items that are on sale at stores selling better-quality clothes. They will last longer due to both quality and size if you buy bigger than your baby’s current fit.

Having someone you can pass the clothes on to eases the spending-spree guilt. I learned early on to curb my spending habits when I witnessed first hand just how fast they grow. But when a good friend has a child only a few months younger than my son, I know the clothes will be put to use when we can’t use them anymore.

I know there is going to come a day when my son will want to pick out his own clothes, and my shopping rules and tricks will need to change. But I am definitely going to have fun shopping for him and dressing him up while I still can.

Lesley grew up in New Bedford, MA, moved to Boston for college and has stayed here ever since. She holds a Masters degree in Criminal Justice and an MFA in Creative Writing. Lesley is a playwright, several of her ten minute plays have been produced throughout New England and two are published in the anthology, More 10-Minute Plays for Teens. Lesley lives in Dorchester with her family. She is mom to a happy and babbling 5 month old son. Likes: Netflix binges, wine, story time with her baby, makeup, and Ryan Gosling. Dislikes: mushrooms, traffic, and getting called ma'am.