I May Be A Mom, But I Refuse To Be Caught Looking Like One
The nicest compliment Iâ€™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, â€œOh my god. You look like a pregnant mother on Teen Mom.â€ 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 Iâ€™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. Thatâ€™s not to say that I purposely go out and buy clothes from teenage shops or dress all matchy-matchy with my daughter. Iâ€™ve just never changed my style, which my fiancÃ© calls â€œDead Head-yâ€ and I have to correct him by calling it â€œBoho chic.â€
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. Thereâ€™s something about certain mothers that I canâ€™t help but describe as, â€œShe looks like a mother,â€ when I have to describe them. And thatâ€™s all I can say. At a recent event at my daughter’s school, I couldnâ€™t help but let my eyes wander over certain mothers and think, â€œMy god, some of these women really look like mothers. I donâ€™t look like that, do I?â€ And Iâ€™m not sure why I sort of judge them for this.
All I know is that people (my friends â€“ mostly mothers) understand this description. Most of my friends, even the ones with four children, I donâ€™t think look like mothers. Take away their kids and theyâ€™d just look like any other woman on the street who doesnâ€™t have kids. I think, probably, that I donâ€™t want to look like a mother. Because if I do, Iâ€™ll end up looking like my mother and her friends â€“ definite mothers.
Iâ€™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. Itâ€™s also in the way they sit. Iâ€™ve had a couple mothers over to pick up their children, who sit so prim and proper and I feel like saying, â€œItâ€™s okay! Seriously, come lie on the bed with me!â€
One of my daughterâ€™s friendâ€™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 daughterâ€™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, thereâ€™s one mother I always see at school events and I want to ask her, â€œWhere do you think youâ€™re going dressed like that?â€ Sheâ€™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 sheâ€™s just left the salon. She carries very prim handbags and wears lots of pearls (while Iâ€™m carrying a large bag, and maybe a few bracelets on my upper arm). Iâ€™m not sure why this pisses me off, except that perhaps I am jealous that certain mothers can seem to dress the part. Although itâ€™s not a â€œpartâ€ I necessarily want, itâ€™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.
Iâ€™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 canâ€™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 Iâ€™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 â€œthe partâ€ of a mother is like getting too much plastic surgery. Sorry, it doesnâ€™t make you look younger, it makes you look 45, no matter what age you truly are. (Nicole Ritchie, to me, doesnâ€™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 â€œlookâ€ like mothers (even if you donâ€™t see them with their children) and she said, â€œWell, Iâ€™m sure if you asked a teenager if we looked like mothers, they would say we did.â€ 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. â€œYes, you do. Why?â€ was her answer. So, yes, apparently (and unfortunately) I do look like a mother.
Do you think you look like a mother?