I have recently been joining Kate on Thin Ice in her Grooving Mums feature. This is a way of sharing stories of how mums are doing things for themselves. I’m trying to see myself as more than just a mum and stop seeing doing things for myself as self-indulgence. This week I focused on shopping.
Before I had children clothes shopping used to be something I loved. Being slim I was lucky to be able to wear most things and I knew exactly what suited me. This began to change when I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter. After the initial excitement of buying maternity clothes for the first time, I soon came to the conclusion that everything I tried on made me look like the ballet dancing hippos from Fantasia.
After she was born I hadn’t considered that my shape would stay changed for such a long time. I had to go out and buy new tops because my chest had expanded from an A cup to a DD. Having always been flat chested I had no idea what suited a full breasted figure, and of course anything I wore had to be easily accessible for breastfeeding. Gone were my days of wearing pretty summer dresses and I would wander around the shops looking with envy at all the pretty feminine clothes that I used to wear.
Over time shopping became a chore. I could never find clothes that I thought would suit me, I would try things on and come out deflated and disappointed. I hated looking at my shape in the changing room mirror and would come home frustrated and empty-handed. It wasn’t that I was overweight but my shape had changed and I had no idea what to wear to flatter that shape.
Those of you who have been following my story so far will know that since the birth of my 3rd child I have taken up running. As a result I am now happier with my figure than I have been in a very long time. I noticed that many of the clothes I have been wearing over the past few years are looking baggy and old. I decided to do a wardrobe purge and throw out anything that was too big or had lost its shape and start afresh.
A large proportion of my clothes I’d had for a very long time, some were bought on my honeymoon 9 years ago and a few things were even older. A lot of the other things came from charity shops or cheap shops, a sign of my belief that spending money on myself is self indulgent. On the plus side there were many things in my wardrobe that I had given up hope of ever fitting into again and they all went on with ease.
I made a decision to go out and buy a few things that were modern, fitted properly and made me feel good. I had my 3 girls in tow and almost abandoned the attempt but instead plumped for sticking to one shop, finding some things I liked and trying them on. My 7 year old helped me pick things and I explained the styles that just don’t work on me. I was pleased to find a number of things I like ( a good start) and took them to try on. As I was going in I spotted a girl with a little black dress, I loved it and it reminded me of exactly the style of clothes I used to wear, so I vowed to find it when I came out. I chose a few things that I was happy with and went to find the dress. On my way I spotted a lady carrying a pair of shoes that I also loved, I added them to my collection. When I eventually found the dress they didn’t have my size but I checked the changing rooms to see whether the other girl had bought the dress. Fortunately she hadn’t and it was in my size. By this point I couldn’t bear the thought of going back to the changing rooms with my 3 year old rolling around the floor so I bought it without trying it on.
Later that evening I put on the dress with the new shoes and stood back to look in the mirror. It was like looking at the old me, the young single me who always wore dresses, dressed up and felt good. I looked at myself and it almost brought tears to my eyes ‘hello you, I haven’t seen you in a long time’.
I haven’t had occasion to wear the dress yet but I think a big girls night out might be in order – it would be a shame to just let it sit in the wardrobe.