Believe it or not, as a SAHM, I like to look nice. I'm not rocking those suits and strappy sandals like I used to but I still want to look nice, if albeit casually.
After kids, my body and I are occasionally at war. Sometimes my body wins. Sometimes I win. But, we have a mostly peaceful existence.
My body reminiscences about being just like it was in college. I remind it that I carried two children in my womb for 9 months each and TO SETTLE THE FLIP DOWN. I'll take my stretch marks and saggy belly any day if it means I can have my two sweet baby boys. (That's right, folks. I'm bringing sexy back!) I'll wear these stretch marks with pride as they are a reminder that I was blessed enough to be able to have children.
I am roughly the same size after kids, except *ahem* things are a little differently proportioned. (Mamas, you know what I'm talking about!)
For many reasons, I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes. My kids wipe their noses and other things on me like a Human Kleenex. They pull on my pant legs to get my attention. Or after giving me a hug, they hang off my sweater collar like Kobe hanging on the rim after a dunk. So, whereas I used to shop at Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and the like, these days, not so much.
These days, my favorite place to shop is a place that rhymes with Bold Gravy. I like it because you can find cute, trendy pieces without spending a bunch of money. (And also because it is super close to my house.)
I love to shop. When I say "shop", I mean going into a store, by myself, with a cup of coffee in one hand, strolling leisurely along, stopping at anything that may catch my eye. THAT is my idea of blissful shopping.
But, alas, this is not meant to be most of the time. Most of the time it ends up being a bit more chaotic.
For instance, the other day, I took the boys there to take a look around. After placing Baby L (2) in the stroller and taking J's (4) hand, we head into the store. I arm each boy with a Hot Wheels so they will have something to do while I look around.
Upon entering the store, I go to the first table to take a look at some lightweight sweaters. They are playing with their Hot Wheels. Things are going swimmingly.
As I move to the next table to look at t-shirts, things start to go downhill fast. Baby L chucks his car, grabs a stack of t-shirts and throws them on the floor. Meanwhile, J runs over to an assessor/toy/trinket stand, grabs a squirt bottle and puts it in his mouth as he pretends to drink.
I quickly assess the situation. After rolling Baby L away from the table, I run over to J and grab the bottle out of his hands. I tell J that is not our water bottle so we do not put it in our mouths. J and I walk, hand in hand, back to Baby L who is squawking. After putting the t-shirts back on the table, I quickly search and find both Hot Wheels, place them in my purse and come up with option B.
Option B involves me handing my keys to Baby L and playing "I Spy" with J, while I continue to look at clothes. All goes well for about five minutes, then Baby L tries to eat my keys and J runs off.
At this point, I have a few shirts and a couple of pairs of pants to try on. I yell for J who comes running and we all make out way into the dressing room. Trying to get all of us in there is like herding cats. For serious.
Anyway, at this point, the natives are extremely restless so I realize it is time to bring out the big guns. I pull up Kipper The Dog and hand them my iPhone.
I try on my clothes quickly, but methodically, to see if these clothes will be the ones to make my inner supermodel reveal herself. I'm not asking for much. Just a cute, sparkly top that hides my after-baby-tummy or those pair of jeans that will make my butt look J-Loesque.
I find a cute lightweight striped sweater. I'm in love. *Sigh.* Old Navy, you complete me.
By now, my iPhone lays discarded on the bench, J is opening the dressing room door while Baby L is licking the mirror.
Abort! Abort! The ship is going down!
I quickly snap out of my reverie, take off the top, put back on my shirt, grab the kids and get the heck out of there!
All of this takes about 30 minutes. No joke.
So yeah. Shopping with kids is crazy.
BUT, it is worth it if you find that one piece that makes you feel beautiful. Like my striped sweater.