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My Machine Wash Life

John Paul Gaultier quote

Wise words from a fashion guru

Help me: I’m in a closet-induced funk.

The quaint little walk-in closet was the first room I painted when we moved into this house and my husband kindly granted me the space unshared. I coated the walls in an airy shade of blue and hung a little shelf with framed quotes by Coco Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s the girliest place in my entire house and I love being in there.

Or I used to, anyway.

Nowadays, my closet is a reminder of the life I no longer have; of the uselessness of dry-clean-only clothes and platform heels.

I’m immensely thankful for the opportunity to care for my son. But, after doing the stay-at-home mom thing for 14 months, I have days when I feel like I’m losing touch with who I used to be.

On those days, my closet sings to me like a siren. The strappy heels, the silk blouses, the chic little dresses: they make me sigh and long for an occasion to wear them. And, on a day like today, they make me unsure of what to do.

A few times a year, I go through my closet and rotate my clothes based on the current season, packing away the summer clothes at the beginning of autumn and stowing the winter items at the first hint of spring. During this time, I purge my closet of clothes and shoes I can do without, and I usually feel lighter and freer after having doing so. But this year, I’m in a crisis over it.

I’ve already been through my closet several times since the birth of my son. Each time, I confidently passed over my suits and business woman heels, thinking I’ll wear these things again someday. But today, I find myself wondering if I should just cut a swath through my little blue room and give these clothes to someone who may actually wear them.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I talked with another mom about how changed we feel since the birth of our kids. We both laughed about how it no longer seems appropriate to wear slinky dresses and revealing tops, and that it’s not just the fact that our stomachs aren’t as firm as they used to be. It’s as if I believe I have the word, “MOM” tattooed on my forehead. I guess I think people see me as a mother before they see me as a woman.

In actuality, I feel more womanly than ever after having borne a child. But sexy? Young? Vibrant? Not so much.

I know I’m feeling this way mostly because my son and I have both been sick for the past few days — again  — and the walls are starting to close in on me. I haven’t followed my own advice about getting out of the house, and I’m paying the price for it. But still, my clothes remain strewn all over the bed, abandoned after my crisis over what to do with them.

Perhaps for today, I’ll simply put them back on their hangers and save the organizing for another, better day. I’ll read the framed quotes on my shelf and remember why I love my little blue room. And I’ll ponder the wise words of John Paul Gaultier:

“Elegance is a question of personality, more than one’s clothing.”

12 responses »

  1. When I see pictures of you with your son, you look vibrant, young and sexy to me. You’ll be tired until he goes to kindergarten and then throughout his life until he goes away. Then you’ll feel rested but yearn for the little boy that filled your house with joy. Write a book Stacy. I think you are a writer! mommy Jan with alas more advice.

    • Thank you, Jan! Since my visit to SYC, I’ve been reading Heather Shumaker’s book. It’s been such a refreshing reminder of SYC’s ways, and gives me encouragement every time I pick it up. You ladies are truly amazing, and I’m certain I’ll be coming to you for quite a bit of advice over the years!

  2. After I retired it took me 3 years to dispose of my professional wardrobe.. I was sure those blazers would be “stylish” again someday………Now I have “church” clothes and casual wear and I do miss wearing heels……………..:) Stacey, you are beautiful inside and out…Hudson is a lucky little guy….

  3. I have closet induced depression every morning now. I’m in the stage of not big enough to look pregnant but too big to fit comfortably in my “regular” clothes. It’s about time to do the maternity change out, so I won’t be depressed when I open the closet door and only see clothes that don’t fit… I know this is only the beginning of an interesting ride.

    • Meigan, I sympathize! I remember those days. I was so resistant to get into maternity clothes. Then, when I finally gave in, it was a huge relief and confidence boost to have clothes that actually fit properly. Before you know it, you’ll have a big, splendid belly that invites all kinds of inappropriate comments from strangers. Enjoy the ride!

  4. It’s such a different journey being a man/Dad. My wife was smokin’ hot (in my opinion) pre-kids, and is more gorgeous today (our kids are 10-12) and I think the meaning of “being Mom” changed her self perception immensely. I know she knows she’s pretty, but I think feeling like a Mom takes away any sense of being “care free” which she needs to feel vibrant, sexy, etc. As a Dad, I certainly feel a deep sense of love and responsibility on the parenting front, but I don’t feel the stamp of “daddy-hood” as an undermining/heavy force. I know there are many women who don’t feel the same way, but I believe my wife would relate to your blog-post.

    • How awesome to have a man’s perspective! It is strangely different for men — daddyhood seems to suit most men very well. We women have to work a little harder to get back to feeling like ourselves after having a baby, but that’s part of the privilege of carrying a child. Thanks for sharing!

  5. First, I hope you feel better! My whole household passed around a variation of bad cold/cough/strep since before Thanksgiving, and I’m hoping it’s all over for quite some time! I think it’s normal for us moms to feel these “growing pains” of changing identity and thus changing wardrobe. Never underestimate the power, beauty, and honor of staying home with your son. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for seven and a half years, and I have no regrets.

    That being said, I live daily life in machine-wash clothing–but try to make it as cute and fashionable and flattering as possible. It makes me feel like I can still express myself, my personality and taste through my clothes, while doing all the Mommy things. I applaud you for not being a mommy who has given up on her looks. Valuing your appearance is not being vain (it can become so); it gives us self-respect and the respect of others! I do keep fancier clothing in my closet, and update it from time to time, for date nights with my husband or special occasions. Getting to dress up has become even more special, because it is so rare! I didn’t have a job that required business attire before becoming a mommy, so I don’t have to decide about suits, etc. I can see where that would be challenging!

    These years will fly by, I know it sounds trite, but it is true. It is a stage…be beautiful and joyful!!

  6. Pingback: Extreme Minimalism: Clothes in the Closet « Becoming a Minimalist

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