Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ode to a cardigan

I was thinking today about how glad I was that I bought a cardigan at Target a few weeks ago for myself.

 I NEVER buy myself clothes. Never. Once in a blue moon I will buy myself a bunch of colored cotton t-shirts (on if on sale) when my previous set of colored cotton t-shirts has been stained beyond polite company wearing sake. But other than that, I really don't buy myself clothes. Mostly this is because when you are 1. cheap, 2. plus-size, it is really difficult to find clothing that meets both of those criteria. I can't just go into a thrift store (like I do with my kids and occasionally John) and find a general size area that fits me and try on clothes. And I can't even go into most generic stores and find a lot that fits--or if I do, it is usually really really ugly/huge floral printy/old lady/potato sackish. It gets frustrating sometimes. So that means I just don't bother unless I absolutely have to bother.

So anyway, the other day I was in Target in their pitifully tiny plus size section (which seems ironic) and I found what I have been secretly wanting for months--a coral colored cardigan. It wasn't on sale. I was bummed. There was only two sweaters left and only one of them was in my size. I tried it on and it was perfect. Suddenly, it was like some crazed fashionista second personality stole over me and I threw the cardigan in my cart and didn't let myself think about the fact that it cost $20 (or was it $25, ack??) and I didn't let myself think of the things I could buy the kids with that $20. I just shoved it in the cart next to the cleaning supplies and went to the check out stand.

Now here I am several weeks later, and I am SO glad I bought it. I have worn it many times since then (probably an embarrassing amount if I were fashion savvy), and I feel cute every time I put it on. The amazing thing is this: the budget didn't fall apart, we aren't starving or homeless, the world continued to turn even though I bought myself a sweater that was not on sale.

Sometimes it's hard to buy myself nice things (or buy myself anything except for the occasional Kindle book). Sometimes it's hard to justify spending time alone without any kids. Sometimes I find myself wishing for a little bit of time to do my hair and make-up and shower and exercise (uh, in reverse order ha). Right now it's not really doable for me to accomplish all of that. But that dumb little sweater has made a big difference in the miserly pleasures that I allow myself. Sometimes giving the kids one less thing so that I can have something nice is okay. Even as I write those words it seems so obvious. But in practice, it's sort of hard for me.

So I guess the question is, how do all of the cute moms do it? How do you find the time to look nice every day (or do you just freshen up for carpool??) How do you find that balance between being a mom who just lives for her kids every moment, to a mom that also recognizes the need to nurture small parts of her own life while in the midst of mothering? I think the answer is always times and seasons in life, and I am honestly very happy to focus my time and energy on my children the majority of the time, but the astounding difference that pitiful little cardigan made to my existence has opened my eyes that maybe it's time for some more balance in my life.


Emily Foley said...

I get dressed on days I know I'm going somewhere--playgroup or preschool or something--but other than that I'm in sweats. I wear an embarrassing amount of cardigans. I even have one cotton J.Crew cardigan in 3 different colors (well, no, 3 cardigans in 2 colors, I wear the navy blue one so much I bought another one). I'm not cute or fashionable. I wear what's comfortable (which means NO jeans and lots of cotton skirts) and I haven't even worn a bra in 2 weeks because I've been so sick. So there. I know some women who get up and do hair and make-up and look cute every day...I will never be that person. I was that person in college, now I'm too tired. And I just cannot bear to wear jeans.

Kelly said...

I totally get this post... I feel like I'm the last to get things. Sometimes I have to just do it because a girl needs a bra! I have discovered make up again and it's amazing at the confidence when I do my hair and makeup.

Kurt & Rachel Keyser said...

Don't ever move to Japan. It will only make you more depressed. Moms dress up to take their kids to school. No joke. Heels. Pearls. Even while riding a bike. Hair and makeup are perfectly done...all.the.time. I can't even buy their cute clothes even if it was in the budget, because they don't make clothes to fit me. I think I have purchased 3 shirts since living here. The only 3 that I've seen that will fit me. lol

The only thing I can pride myself in, is my clean apartment. Apparently the Japanese are hoarders and dirty on the inside. This secretly makes me happy.

luvnmy10 said...

I'm so happy that you bought the cardigan!!! I was reading thing, please tell me you bought the sweater! I have never been a clothes horse, but since teaching seminary I've started going through every skirt sale rack every store I go in, skirts are very versatile for me, and I love it when I find a cute one. My concerns are is it too young looking and good quality in a classic style and a good price. I want it to last and be cute, but nt too cute! This last one drives my teenage daughters crazy! Get in the habit of always eyeing the sale racks... There are hidden treasures that do boost our morale, like a new shade of lipstick, or a new soap or face lotion. Confidence booster!,

Emily said...

I used to be the same way. I think its especially hard when you're not the one earning the money. I always feel like I'm wasting money if I buy clothes or something for myself. I have gotten better about treating myself on pay day. Usually it's a new nail polish (~$8), but it's amazing what it does for you to have something new that makes you feel cute. I also save my "decent" clothes for days that we're going somewhere - dr. office, play dates, story time, etc. Otherwise, I find yoga pants and running tanks/shorts to really be most practical for crawling around the house with the kids or cleaning. I think taking a little time and a little money for yourself each week is healthy. If its for the purpose of boosting your mental well-being then I call it an investment :)