Every other woman’s magazine that can be bought off the rack in the grocery store has titles like, “Ten Essential Wardrobe Items for Every Woman” or “Ten Articles of Clothing You Don’t Want to be Without!” These articles also usually boast that these particular pieces of clothing can be found at bargain prices, and then go on to list the price along with the picture of the clothing.
For some of us, those “bargain prices” are the cost of our grocery bill for two weeks. The cost just is not realistic, especially for those living on one income.
Not only is the cost not realistic, the articles of clothing aren’t even realistic for a woman who is a stay-at-home mom. Sure, they work for a working woman and a woman who has an active social life, but for many women, they just aren’t articles of clothing that are worth investing in for the one or two times they will be worn.
An ideal magazine article for many women, that would probably be from a mom’s perspective, would address the essential wardrobe items for a stay-at-home mom. Held up against the usual list, the article might go something like this:
A knee-length trench coat is a necessary item for today’s working women, but for the stay-at-home mom the equivalent would be a big, fluffy bathrobe. This bathrobe must be big enough to wrap around both Mom and child and is ideal in a stain-proof fabric. Although any bathrobe will do, the best one is one that can withstand sticky hands and runny noses, and yet retain a somewhat attractive appearance when being worn to the door in response to non-stop knocking.
Heavy material that is not see-through is necessary because the knock summoning you to the door is probably the UPS man with a sign-for package and the only clothing you have gotten on so far at that point in your day is your underwear.
Next on the list, is the little black dress. Now, when is the last time a mother was able to fit into a little black dress? Much more realistic, and necessary, is having at least one clean outfit that is stain free, at any given point in the week.
A clean, stain-free outfit is nothing short of miraculous when children are about, but is vital for when the principal calls you in for an emergency meeting because your darling daughter was in a fight on the playground or your son decided that it would be fun to start a paint war in the art room.
An absolute must-have that is usually listed is dark denim jeans. Touted as an item that can slip between casual when paired with flats and a cute T-shirt and dressy when paired with a casual blouse and heeled boots, jeans are considered that absolute must-have in wardrobe items.
For a mom, the best piece of clothing that she can own that comes close to this item on the list is a pair of jeans that fit her well enough without pinching all the excess skin left over from multiple pregnancies and don’t result in a muffin top when fully zipped and buttoned. Ideal would be a pair of jeans that are regular jeans, not maternity, but even maternity will do if they are comfortable and clean.
Probably the most laughable item on the list of essentials is the “white-collared blouse”. “White” and “blouse” just don’t form a combination in a mom’s mind as an essential item.
If a mom does see this particular piece of clothing in her mind, she envisions it accompanied by splatters of spaghetti sauce and baby food peas on the sleeves, a lovely section of art on the back side that her child decided would look cool to add with marker as she was on her hands and knees wiping up the dirt from the knocked over plant, and probably even a urine or poop stain on the hip from the time she picked the baby up and didn’t realize a diaper explosion had occurred.
White blouses for the busy mom are just not realistic. It’s too risky! Instead, dark T-shirts are the must-have. Most preferable are your husband’s T-shirts. They are big enough to hide the flaws left over from pregnancy, long enough to reach runny noses and wipe them off, and dark enough to hide any possible stain that could ever occur throughout the course of the day.
What about the classy pair of flats that can be slipped into and will go with casual and dressy clothing that are listed on the “essentials list”? Even better than these is a big, fluffy pair of slippers that have thick enough soles to avoid being punctured by the sharp rocks the kids brought into the house because they were really neat, with a waterproof layer that will keep your feet from becoming wet as you walk through spilled milk and overflowed toilet water. If you can find slippers that match the bathrobe, you are the queen of Mama fashion.
Don’t forget about the dressy heels that will go with your little black dress and at the same time, be versatile enough to dress up your dark, classy jeans. The mom’s equivalent to this particular item is a good pair of running shoes, necessary for the task of chasing the overly-energetic child who decides bolt into Wal-Mart and the courageous toddler who sees only the ball on the other side of the busy highway.
Most ideal is a pair of running shoes that are of such good quality and durability that they can last for a good 30 years, since you probably will not have any time to shop for new shoes until the last child leaves the house.
Dress pants are next on the list, which are listed for the purpose of being comfortable during long board meetings and late work evenings while maintaining a professional appearance at the same time. Instead of dress pants, a mom will be much better off with a good sturdy pair of flannel pants.
A good pair of flannel pants will have an elastic waistband for the purpose of comfort and be made of a material that can keep its softness no matter how many washings they go through or how many grimy hands stroke them throughout the day. These same pants can also work as an extra layer during winter playtimes with your children in the snow, helping keep your legs semi-warm as the kids beg, “Just five more minutes in the snow mommy? Please?”
Accessories can’t be forgotten. The must-have accessory list usually starts with a cute gauze scarf to be jauntily wrapped around the neck and used as a fun brightener to any outfit. The mom’s equivalent to a scarf is a baseball cap that can be kept by the door on a hook, grabbed, and hurriedly put on as she hustles the kids out the door in a frantic attempt to get them to school on time.
Hats cover the worst of bad hair days and can kindly hide the fact that you have not been able to grab a shower in almost a week because you are in demand every second of your day.
A chunky necklace that can dress up even the most casual of outfits is next on the accessories list. Chunky necklaces give a mother visions of a child yanking with force and pieces going everywhere – pieces that the baby will be sure to find, attempt to eat, and probably gag and choke on. Much safer for a mom is no jewelry at all, save the wedding band and engagement ring which is symbolic of the committed and loving marriage that exists despite the chaos of having children.
The list is complete with a large purse. This is, perhaps, the most realistic item on the must-have list and crosses the boundary that exists between the working woman and the mother. After all, a mom is already carrying everything that she needs in a variety of backpacks and diaper bags, so why not at least buy one item that is in style — the big, funky purse?
You can tote that on your shoulder, looking for all the world as if you are a completely classy, in-style woman, all the while knowing you are toting nothing but diapers, cheerios, and sippy cups — and probably a milk-soaked slipper that your child decided to throw into the mix on your way out the door.
Pic of the Day: Every time he craps his pants