Weekly Column: Living My Life in Flats (And Other Fashion Mistakes Mothers Make)

© Stephenie Freeman

My life no longer requires high heels.

It’s a sad reality that I finally realized while shopping the other day. There before me was a buffet of foot fashion: bright purple stilettos, red paten leather wedges, and floral pattered platforms, just to name a few. I stood there trying to figure out how to squeeze a pair of espadrilles in my life, but I finally decided that the emergency room bill after breaking my neck just wouldn’t be worth it.

I have never really had a particular affection for shoes, but I will admit that nothing makes you feel as good as a cute, new pair of shoes. And as the saying goes, no matter what size you are, shoes always fit. Be it a pair of Manolos from Neimans or flip-fops from Target, shoes can brighten your day, even if they’re killing your feet.

Since becoming a mother, however, my stylish shoes have been collecting dust in my closet. Instead, my running shoes get enough daily wear to make you think that I am actually a runner. They are comfortable, reliable and make sense for my lifestyle. Besides, I would look a little silly in a pair of black suede pumps while pushing a cart through the grocery store and sitting at soccer practice. But that’s just me.

I can hear the hip-mamas chanting now. “Just because I am a mother doesn’t mean I have to look like one.”

Which leaves me with only one question—what is a mother supposed to look like?

I pondered this question further while getting my hair cut recently. I overheard one of the stylist near me say, “I’m just so tired of giving ‘soccer mom’ haircuts.” She even did air quotes around the words, “soccer mom.”

I was intrigued and couldn’t help myself. “So, what does ‘soccer mom hair’ look like exactly?” I said while repeating her use of the air quotes.

“You know. It’s just plain and boring. They always want something easy.”

She obviously didn’t know that I was part of the group to which she was referring. Again, I couldn’t help myself. “Do you have children?”

“No not yet, but …”

“Well, one day maybe you will. And each morning you’ll find yourself busy making breakfast, finishing up homework, getting the kids dressed, all to find out that you only have fifteen minutes left to get yourself dressed and everyone out the door. Then you let me know if you still have the time to use a flat iron.”

Poor girl didn’t know what hit her. I really don’t blame her though. I remember the days before I had children. I was fashionable, never daring to leave the house looking anything but totally put together. Now, as long as whatever I have on is clean, I am good to go.

Staring at all of those cute shoes that day, I suddenly longed for those fashionable days of my past. Fashion is like most things in our lives—it’s a choice. When I was young and childless, I made the choice to spend the time and money making myself look fabulous. Now that I’m a mama, my time and attention to fashion is practically non-existent. Aside from the occasional night out with adults, I really never have the occasion to wear anything stylish, and filling my closet with a lot of clothes that I would never get to wear would be cruel. Both for me and the clothes.

I have an easy hair cut, I wear mostly jogging suits, t-shirts and jeans, and my make-up is kept to a bare minimum. So, I guess that means that I look like a “soccer mom” or a “karate mom” or a “tee ball mom,” which stands to reason since all of the money that I used to spend on cute things like shoes goes to soccer cleats and karate gear.

But I think that maybe some leopard print ballet flats might find a place in my life after all.

Won’t all of the other soccer moms be jealous?

One Comment

  1. Crayon Wrangler

    This is a wonderful post! I found myself nodding in agreement and empathy with the shoe and hair dilemma. I have been skirting the “getting my hair did” issue for a couple of months now. I know I want a cute look, but I also know that if it can't be put in a scrunchie; it's not the look for me.
    Thanks for posting this!

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