I May Be A Mom, But I Refuse To Be Caught Looking Like One
The nicest compliment I’ve received in the past few weeks was when I went to visit a friend for tea. I walked into her condo and she said, “Oh my god. You look like a pregnant mother on Teen Mom.” I thought that was very sweet. I was wearing leggings, a long wrap around sweater over my very pregnant belly, a scarf wrapped around my neck and gold-rimmed sunglasses on my head.
See, I know in my head (and heart) that I am a mother, based on the proof that I have a child. But I’ve never felt that I looked like a mother. In fact, nothing about the way I dress has changed since I became a mother at age 29. That’s not to say that I purposely go out and buy clothes from teenage shops or dress all matchy-matchy with my daughter. I’ve just never changed my style, which my fiancé calls “Dead Head-y” and I have to correct him by calling it “Boho chic.”
I have also never changed my hairstyle, except maybe to get layers once in a while. My hair remains long, half way down my back, so I can throw it into a ponytail or bun. There’s something about certain mothers that I can’t help but describe as, “She looks like a mother,” when I have to describe them. And that’s all I can say. At a recent event at my daughter’s school, I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander over certain mothers and think, “My god, some of these women really look like mothers. I don’t look like that, do I?” And I’m not sure why I sort of judge them for this.
All I know is that people (my friends – mostly mothers) understand this description. Most of my friends, even the ones with four children, I don’t think look like mothers. Take away their kids and they’d just look like any other woman on the street who doesn’t have kids. I think, probably, that I don’t want to look like a mother. Because if I do, I’ll end up looking like my mother and her friends – definite mothers.
I’ve been trying to figure out what makes a mother look like a mother, and mostly I think it comes down to their hair first and foremost. There are certain mothers who have this certain kind of hairstyle that, to me, looks like a lot of work and like they want to be grown-ups. It’s also in the way they sit. I’ve had a couple mothers over to pick up their children, who sit so prim and proper and I feel like saying, “It’s okay! Seriously, come lie on the bed with me!”
One of my daughter’s friend’s mothers, who I recently met, actually did. We were waiting for the play date to end (her child did not want to leave), so I curled up on my daughter’s bed, and she joined me. We chatted like that for almost an hour. I really enjoyed it. But there are other mothers who sit at my table like they are at a job interview, wearing nylons and comfortable (read: ugly) pumps.
In fact, there’s one mother I always see at school events and I want to ask her, “Where do you think you’re going dressed like that?” She’s usually wearing a matching skirt and blazer and her hair is so hair sprayed down that she could go through a tornado and come out looking like she’s just left the salon. She carries very prim handbags and wears lots of pearls (while I’m carrying a large bag, and maybe a few bracelets on my upper arm). I’m not sure why this pisses me off, except that perhaps I am jealous that certain mothers can seem to dress the part. Although it’s not a “part” I necessarily want, it’s still enviable that they can find the time and effort to want to look like they are going to a party instead of hearing a presentation on how maple syrup is made by a third-grade class.
I’m not sure why any mother would go out of her way (and some definitely do) to look like a mother. Just because you have kids, does that not mean you can’t wear skinny jeans or keep your hair long or wear funky boots? There are certain items of clothing that I have given up on, not because I’m a mother, but because of my age. Mini skirts, for example, I refuse to wear. However, I will wear short jean shorts. To me, dressing “the part” of a mother is like getting too much plastic surgery. Sorry, it doesn’t make you look younger, it makes you look 45, no matter what age you truly are. (Nicole Ritchie, to me, doesn’t look like a mother. All the women on every The Real Housewives franchises? All look like mothers!)
I was discussing this issue with a friend and she definitely understood what I meant when I told her that some women just “look” like mothers (even if you don’t see them with their children) and she said, “Well, I’m sure if you asked a teenager if we looked like mothers, they would say we did.” I did better than that. This morning, as I was sitting with my daughter at a coffee shop (I was dressed in a hoodie) I asked her if she thought I looked like a mother. “Yes, you do. Why?” was her answer. So, yes, apparently (and unfortunately) I do look like a mother.
Do you think you look like a mother?