Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Playing Dress Up

For the longest time after my son was born, I kept waiting for his "real" mom to come and pick him up or come home. I waited, like the babysitter at the window at the end of a long night, for the parents to come home and relieve me of my childcare duties.

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I did eventually come to realize that I was NOT this child's babysitter and he was staying with us forever. But it took me quite a long time to think of myself a "mom".

This past weekend I went out with an old friend of mine. We went out for drinks and dinner and good conversation. We were going to a new-ish bar/restaurant that another friend of ours just recently opened. It was nothing fancy but I knew I wanted to look nice, not a sweatshirt and jeans type of place.

I chose my outfit carefully. I really only have one or two pairs of jeans that fit me now (yay, me...22 pounds gone!!). So, I chose the pair that I thought was dressier and a shirt and a nice sweater, all paired with a fabulous pair of pumps that I got on sale at NY&Co. for Five bucks!! It was a mix of things I would wear to work and things I'd wear out. Honestly, it was a nice outfit...I knew it would look good together and look good on me.

I took the kids to my parents, my dad was going to watch them for the evening, and I dressed there. I blew out my hair so that it was mostly straight. I put on my makeup- a little bit more than I do for work. And finally, I put on my clothes.

I looked really nice.

I looked good. Like good enough to go and pick up a guy at a bar good. Like what I would have worn had I been single and going out with my single friends for the evening.

And then I looked in the mirror a little deeper and chuckled to myself, "I feel like I'm playing dress up."

I go out with friends and family and my husband on a regular basis and I try to look nice but generally I don't dress myself in a way that reminds me of my bar hopping college days. The other night, I reminded myself of that former person.

I felt like, in my tighter than normal jeans and my tight black t-shirt and black pumps, I was playing a part that was no longer mine to be played. I was playing dress up just as I had years ago with the clothes in my mother's closet.

And I didn't know what to feel beyond that.

Part of me felt really good that I did look so good.

Part of me felt like a fool.

Part of me was just happy that none of my outfit had stains on it.

It was weird.

It was a strange feeling to be standing there in my parents' bathroom and come to the realization that it didn't matter how I looked to anyone else- I wasn't dressing to impress anyone or catch anyone's eyes. What mattered was that I was happy with how I looked and it made me feel good.

But I felt like I should have been wearing something different.

From the moment I realized I was not my child's babysitter I have fought against every "mom" stereotype there is. I did not want the "mom" haircut or to wear the "mom" jeans or drive the "mom" car. Two out of three isn't bad, right? I just felt like a part of me did not have a right to dress that way. That I should have been wearing something else.

My mom-voice told me that I looked like I was dressing up for that part that would never be mine again but my 29 year old woman voice told me I looked good.

I listened to the latter.


Helen E.M. Wright said...

Good for you!!! Hope you had a great time!

While here I have those exact thoughts. When I'm home though, I wear whatever I want and look great!!! ;)

A Buns Life said...

It IS a weird feeling isn't it? But you deserve to feel good and not always look or feel like a mom all the time!! There are times that I have gone out that I have felt so good and confident in myself that when I have gotten a bit tipsy I would make it known that I was a mom of two, because I KNEW I didn't look like I was a mom! :) I hope you had a fun night out!!

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