Nearly every mother I know has a hustle. Or three. Or more. There’s something about motherhood these days that practically none of us is “just” a stay-at-home-mom or career mom or a mom period. We’re also entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives, homeschoolers and so much more—not to mention being a partner, friend, sister, daughter and a whole list of other awesome roles. Enter: clothes for moms that do all the things.
It may sound silly, but my daily style impacts my ability to be so many things at once. (Anyone else think of Hermione and Ron’s interaction in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.” Hermione replies, “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” AMEN HERMIONE!) When I need to be ready to get the girls ready, jump on a conference call, bust out a blog post, plan the week’s meals and have the mental energy left to have a conversation with my husband that goes beyond Daredevil plot points, I need an outfit that works for me.
I received an Athleta gift certificate in exchange for writing this post. As always, all opinions and content on this blog are entirely my own.
Clothes for moms: not just mom jeans
Yes, I know that mom jeans are seeing a comeback, but if you’ve met me—or read my post defending leggings—you know my daily style rarely includes jeans. I’m all about clothes for moms that are stretchy, comfortable and easily washed.
(Kiwi still eats most of her meals on my lap and loves to show her appreciation for a meal by wiping her face all over me. I get a lot of food on me, ok?)
So when I saw—and felt—all the clothes at Athleta’s Portland store in the Pearl, I wanted them all. I ended up choosing this beautiful plum criss cross dress. It was love at first touch—the sweatshirt material is softer than anything I own, and I adore the subtle petal hem detail. It’s now my favorite outfit.
I put the outfit to the test on a recent Friday. My childcare fell through, so the day was even more packed than usual. Still, I had work to complete before the weekend, so I loaded my kids into the car and brought them with me to work.
Clothes that work for moms
When we arrived at The Perlene, the feminist co-working space in Southeast Portland where I have a membership, the girls were curious and shy. They’d never come into work with Mom before, so they explored—while keeping a firm grip on the hem of my dress. They warmed up quite a bit when some of the ladies there offered them popsicles. (Thanks, gals!!!)
While the girls were busy eating their treat, I squeezed in writing a few emails as well as some other work. (There’s nothing better at helping you prioritize than the timer of a kid eating a popsicle! The limited window for work really helps you focus!)
The girls did a fantastic job of giving me a little time to bust out a few tasks. As a reward—for all of us—we went upstairs to the movement studio. Kiwi and I danced, and Peeper taught us a routine she learned at ballet camp this summer.
All through it, I wore my criss cross dress. Talk about epitomizing the best clothes for moms: The dress moved with me from my professional life to my motherhood life. I was wearing an outfit that—gasp!—seemed to get that these separate lives are simply one part of a beautiful, if sometimes harried, existence.
juggling all the things composing a life
Recently I heard a radio interview with anthropologist and linguist Mary Catherine Bateson, and it hit me so profoundly that I pulled over the car and recorded my reflections in my notes app. Bateson pointed out that the phrase “juggling”—as in, “I’m juggling motherhood, a full-time career, running the household and making sure my kids’ dinner doesn’t consist of Cheerios dug out of the car seats”—is terribly anxiety-producing. Instead, she prefers to think about “composing” a life as a sort of improvisation. So motherhood doesn’t have to be this feat where you’re always trying to keep the many many balls of life in the air, terrified of letting one drop; motherhood can be a composition, where you use your creativity, skill and ingenuity to craft something beautiful and meaningful.
Now isn’t that more approachable than “juggling”?
I’ve been reminding myself of this distinction when life feels hectic. Days when I have to both be mom and a professional—even at the same time—can get real stressful real fast. But having even one thing be easy—like my clothes and my style—makes a profound difference.
So you won’t see me in tailored slacks and a dry clean only blouse when I head into work. To be honest, I don’t have the time for all the costume changes (not to mention dry cleaning runs and stain-removing marathons). I need one outfit that works for everything. Luckily for all us mamas, clothes for moms who do all the things can be beautiful. We can dress practically and comfortably and still feel gorgeous. That’s what this Athleta dress does for me. It makes me feel beautiful—while I compose a beautiful life.