I’ve been a housewife, now, going on four years. Wow! Four years…my, how the time has flown. But this is my first year in housewife-dom that I’ve had a school aged child. This takes housewife-ing to a whole new dimension. See, for some reason when you’re a housewife and you end up visiting your child’s school, volunteering or whatever, all the other housewives who show up, check you out. (Not sure if housedads go through this too, but here is my experience.)
I think I’m oblivious sometimes. Not sure if any of the other moms have checked me out…they probably have.
I guess I should care, right?
The first time I noticed this ritualistic ogling was while standing in line to pick my son up after school. Here I am in presentable, nothing fashionable, yet reasonable clothing and this mom strolls up wearing espadrilles, short dress, face full of makeup, lips rosy red, bobbly earrings and perfect posture. My clothes felt really baggy and ill-fitting all of a sudden. All of the other moms standing around sort of tilted their heads so they could stare, without staring. Me included. At first, I was puzzled why she was so dressed up, I made excuses for her, “oh, she just got off work (but it was only 3:30), she left work early so she could be here, maybe she was going to dinner after…”
But I saw her and several other moms, every day, at 3:30, dressed to the nines. Not.normal. At least in my book.
Infected. Infected with the gotta-be-the-best-dressed-housewife disease. Or, was I. Later, I thought to myself how stupid it all was and the fact that, in general, I just do NOT fit in with crowds or cliques, so why start now? There are certain rules I follow and I don’t intend to start breaking them now. One of which is to present myself in a put together fashion every day. I do my hair, put on a cute outfit, sometimes a little dash of perfume; it makes me feel good about myself, even if I have no plans at all to leave the house.
Two Fridays ago Cy’s school had a field day. I volunteered to help Cy’s team.
All day long there were activities on the field and once again, the housewives showed up. That particular day, I put on a nice grey cotton shirt, jean skirt and my Keds. We were going to be running around cheering on all of the kids, while helping them move from game station to game station. As our parent team gathered together one of the moms said to the other, “Oh, look at you! Your sandals are so cute!” They were wedges, and shortly, the mom declared that the only reason why she wore them was because they were cuter then sneakers. *sigh* And not five minutes later, the mom with the cute sandals was lamenting her choice because her bum knee had already started aching.
I really, really don’t want to get wrapped up in the competition for trying to be the *cutest* or *hottest* housewife, because lord knows I’d lose anyway. I would, however, like to outshine those housewives by being real and open and genuinely caring. Competing for popularity has never, ever been my strong suit. Growing up I was always on the fringe. My crowd was the semi-dorky, not-quite-sure-of-who-we-were kids. We had fun. If ever there was a new kid, inviting them to join us wasn’t taboo, it was fun!
On field day, I found myself on the outside looking in, several times. The parents would gather together in a circle not leaving a place for me to hear the instructions, or whatever. Several of the moms would chat in huddles. At lunch time, our group separated and I found myself eating alone with Cy. The housewife club is a new form of high school (from what I hear and see, as I was home schooled I can only speculate). One of the dads struck up a conversation with me and said, under his breath, “Man, gotta get away from those housewives.” He went on to grumble about their ridiculous behavior. I laughed out loud and heartily. Then I quietly told him I was one of “those housewives.” He looked at me, surprised, “Wow, well, you wouldn’t be able to tell!” I took that as a compliment, I hope it was one.
That day I left thinking about how I was presenting myself to the world. Was it wholesome, or full of conditions? Was it accepting or exclusive? There is a lot to be said for how we dress, but my desire to make sure my spiritual clothes are on. My armor. It will help me navigate through this new housewife world much easier than if I come in under dressed.
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Patterns. (gingham, plaids, floral)
I used to be afraid of the above listed items. As far as color went, I did enjoy bright clothes, but I couldn’t properly create an outfit combining more than a couple of different colors.
And now, well, *sigh* my poor husband
So, sweet, Chandra asked us to post on how to wear one item three different ways. It took me a couple of days to come up with something. I’m not used to styling. I mean, I can put my clothes on and stuff but I’m a *dress how I feel* type of dresser and I’ll slap something together that I’ve never worn before, simply because I’m feeling brave.
But here is what I came up with!
The striped shirt can be used SO many different ways. I’ve heard that stripes can basically be thought of as a neutral. It’s true!
My first outfit I love. I first wore this to the theatre with my youth group.
This second one I wear during the winter and spring months (because back East, spring is STILL winter to me!!)
This last outfit was one of those *I’m feeling brave* moments. Put the floral, the odd patterns and stripes together. Just embrace those stripes and wear them confidently!
My style would probably fall under *eclectic*. Not everyone likes to challenge the fashion lines (hah) like I do. I have my limits, but I stretch beyond the norm. It’s fun to be brave!
And just to prove my point about stripes being a neutral, here is one of my fav outfits! (this is one of those outfits my husband raises his eyebrows at…)
I would encourage you to look at your closet for the first time…because how many times have we looked at something and failed to see it? Clothing can be so much fun. I mix and match everything in my closet and when I’m bored…I re-mix it!
Have fun and put a little stripe in your life
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First off, I have to say this: I write because I love writing. When I write it’s raw, it’s real, I stand behind my words and I don’t write to be a part of the popular crowd. Here is one of those *raw, real* moments. Hold on to your panties.
So, I’m a young mother. I have NO idea what I’m doing. The messes I make in the world of parenting are embarrassing and humbling. Let’s get all the pretense out of the way.
Hello from the newbie
However, I’m a quick study. The mental notes I take are copious and I don’t forget. As my oldest is only 6, I have a long, long way to go on all fronts. Over the years, I’ve gotten close to a few women and watched their parenting skills, I’ve admired how their children are highly educated and making their way in the world successfully. Their children are younger than I am.
But what I’ve grown most envious of is the relationship they have with their children. It’s amazing. Watching a twenty-something year old confide, sheepishly, but trustingly, in their mama while she smiles, encouraging them through their mistakes is heart warming. Mamas are wise (as I can not speak from the standpoint of a man, I’m going to keep this on the ladies’ side of the tracks).
I have a dear friend who has three children, two boys and a girl, the youngest is 14, a girl, and the oldest is 20. All of her children confide in her knowing that even if they make horrible, horrible mistakes she’s there for them. Recently, one of her children got into some scary trouble. And even though she and her husband were terrified, in the end, they felt the best way to handle the situation was to allow the transgressor to pay for the mistake. Literally. The bill came in the mail and over the course of a few months, it was taken care of and a huge, important lesson was learned.
That is the type of mom/parental unit I want to be. That right there.
**Hi, I am your mother, but I will not allow you to escape from your mistakes, you MUST take responsibility for your actions!**
Pray to God that I never become the type of parent who lets their child get away with just about everything, only lightly disciplining them for fear that they will *hate* me or I will *lose* them. Just as I have women I look up to, I also have parents who I observe with disappointment. Like I said, I’m new, but I’m a quick study.
When your *child* is 15, 16, 17, 18 … it seems logical that there should be an expectation for accountability. (I could scream as I’m typing this)
Last year I wrote a post on denial and how detrimental it is to any familial relationship. I live that post. No joke.
It is more important for me to maintain a trust with my children that follows into their early adulthood, than to be their best friend and lose their respect. Let my child blush from embarrassment, cry from shame, or weep from guilt, during our private moments together but please, don’t let them lie to my face and me believe it, willingly. Believing their lies willingly will make me a failure (in my eyes). I’m failing them by not calling them out in love. In spite of what I may think, my child will come back to me years later and thank me for stopping the cycle. I just know it, because I’ve seen it happen before. Remember my friend I mentioned earlier and the scary incident? Yeah, she and her young adult child are closer than ever because there was a firm, nurturing love in their parenting choice — not denial or fear to encourage their offspring to accept responsibility!
Parenting my children with all my love and good will is my goal in life.
Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. -H. Jackson Brown Jr
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I never spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of mother I wanted to be. I didn’t ever really feel maternal. Life was very tumultuous for me and a lot of times I just couldn’t wait to turn 18. But, my mom was the best mom she could be. I remember loving how she took the time to make things for us; she was always creating. She did flannel boards with Bible stories, silly puppets, costumes, clothing, she wrote a lot, she would read to us, and she always made sure we went places with the youth even when money was tight. She was a very good mom. Looking back at my childhood, I swore that there were certain ways I would never be as a parent. I don’t feel comfortable sharing them, but let’s say that you can either look at your surroundings and be sucked in (because that’s all you ever knew) or you can look at your surroundings and make.a.choice!
I had my baby boy, Cy, when I was 26. I was NOT ready. Yes, I knew I was pregnant and that I had to be a mom, but I didn’t become his mom, or connect with that fact until years later. It was really, really hard for me. I loved my baby boy, but I didn’t see myself as a mom, therefore my mom skills were lacking. My love was not lacking–just my skills.
I wasn’t patient enough. I’m still not as patient as I want to be and I wish that I was. If I were to answer this question in earnest, we could be here a long time. Let’s just say that I started holding myself accountable for my actions. After making a parenting boo-boo, or even DURING my misstep, I would talk to myself and try to redirect my emotions and turn the situation into a positive. It didn’t always work, but when it did, I felt a million times better about myself for having controlled my *reaction*. I have written extensively on my blog about the way my husband and I choose to raise our children; it’s such a learning process. Goodness!
My children are growing up in a home where the mama and papa love each other deeply (very different from my childhood). My husband and I see life quite the same, we approach it differently, but our views complement each other. Our relationship is VERY symbiotic. David is very mathematical, detailed and can be a little more hard-nosed than I. I am very much into literature, I procrastinate (thus making me a little more like a chicken-with-my-head-cut-off-esque) and, at times, I can be more lenient.
My mom has always encouraged me to raise my children with a love for God and the things of God…and boy do I ever try.
Those are just a few.
The perfect family outing?? It would be in D.C running through all the museums or in NYC playing in fountain in Washington Square park (which we’ve done both). Those are a bit hectic, but our family loves doing things like that. however, if you were to ask my son he would immediately say, “let’s go on an uhventure!” My sweet boy. We love packing picnics and throwing a blanket out on the the front yard. We stuff backpacks full of useless toys and walk down the street in search of something great. Sometimes, we pile the kids in the bike carriage and D will pedal along side me while I run. When the occasion arises we go to the beach because my kids were born half fish. I promise! That’s what we love to do.
11. Let’s discuss your “mom-style”. Do you put a lot of thought into what you wear? Do you care more about how your husband and children are dressed? If you have tips for moms in regards to clothing…do tell!
Ahh, clothing. Growing up, I didn’t really know how to dress, I just copied other people. Most, if not all, of the time I was SO uncomfortable. Ugh. My trip to Europe really started the ball rolling between me and clothing and there was a definite change. Now, I care a lot about how I dress. I don’t like looking frumpy (but I’m not into looking perfect either). I was raised to make sure I was presenting myself well. Now, I’m careful to make sure my hair is done and I’m dressed for the day when my husband comes home. Looking nice for him AND me makes me feel better.
Tips for clothing? Don’t buy it until it screams your name as you walk by. A lot of times, I will grab an item and walk around with it in my cart as I shop. Eight times out of ten it finds its way back to the shelf and I save myself the $20 and just make do with what is in my closet. But, then again, if you were to hold me down for the truth…I would have to say that I love shopping online, I still let things sit my in *cart* but online shopping is so much more to my liking.