By no means do I consider myself to be a parenting expert, nor am I perfect at being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t return to my previous professional work after having my second child…nearly 6 years ago now! As every working parent can attest, it was difficult juggling work and parenting responsibilities. I always felt torn between my two “day jobs;” not giving 100% of my focus to either. When I had the opportunity to stay at home with my kids, I jumped at it. Knowing what a joy it was to spend my weekends at home with my babies, I had assumed that it was going to be a wonderful and smooth transition into full-time Mommyhood. Being at home would surely mean more time with friends for play dates, having time to make healthy and nutritious meals, and actually folding the laundry!
What I didn’t anticipate was my initial loss of identity and the loneliness that can come with spending all of my time with small children. I remember struggling to push my double-wide strolled through the narrow doors at my neighborhood Starbucks. Wearing sweatpants and no makeup, I watched with envy as seemingly put-together people were all lost in the “important business” on their blackberries (this was a few years ago now!). Ironically, in that moment I was jealous of the very thing I had looked to escape when leaving the workplace.
Again, this is a style blog and I feel much more confident dispensing styling advice. As such, below you will find a few stylish tricks and solutions that have helped me brave being a stay at home parent, all the meanwhile allowing me to look like I belong in the adult world.
Wear Mascara. Well, not necessarily mascara. A bra, perfume, blow-dry your hair…whatever helps you feel put together. For me, wearing mascara made me feel like I had put some effort into my appearance. Although I wasn’t wearing a full-face of makeup (truly I haven’t worn eyeshadow in years!), I could look another adult in the face and have a conversation without feeling like I was too slumpy. Perhaps mascara distracted from the spit-up on my shoulder?
I’m rarely a product loyalist but Benefit ‘They’re Real’ mascara is THE best mascara I’ve ever used. Truth-be-told, I’m quite vain about my lashes (could explain “wear mascara”).
Sub Your White Tee for Grey. Grey is just as neutral as white yet much easier to disguise stains and keep clean. I wear my grey tee under cardigans and flannels or simply paired with my favorite jeans. The Monrow tee above is the perfect weight (not too shear nor thick), and an awesome longer length – I love it so much that I own 2 (I rarely, if ever, do this!).
Invest in Sneakers. Oh, the things I used to be able to do in a 3″ heel?! I could run for the bus, work a 10 hour day while taking the stairs, and lead a workshop all day on my feet without batting the proverbial eyelash (we’ve already discussed how much I care about lashes!). But I cannot tolerate whining, negotiating, and tears while my feet hurt. It’s time to be practical, and I rarely advocate this – I don’t even own a raincoat and I live in Seattle! But buying a pair of on-trend, cute sneakers (not your running shoes….pleeeease) to wear with your jeans and cardi mom uniform will definitely put some pep in your step. While your heels gather dust in the back of your closet, you will get a ton of mileage out of this investment!
Take some time for yourself. This can sound so cliché, but it really does make a world of difference; positively effecting not only my personal sanity but my patience and ultimate joy with spending time with my kids. My time is before everyone wakes up – I exercise, finish writing this blog, or simply enjoy getting some chores done in the quiet of the sleeping house. I feel awake by the time everyone else gets up and don’t feel rushed to get something done on my own in “30 quick minutes.” (Does anyone else do this? “I’ll be back from the store in 30 quick minutes.”) I’ll admit, getting up sometimes is a chore (especially this week with daylight savings time), but I never regret it once I’m out of bed.
What are your tips for being a stay-at-home parent? Please share. Always room for improvement here!
As always, thanks for reading! ~Jenn