How to Keep Your Sense of Style as a Mum
I love this topic because I feel like I've been there and done that. There’s no blog that can fully contain what it is to transition into motherhood. The sleepless nights, the packing for you and baby every time you leave the house. You have to think ahead in a way you’ve never had to before. Becoming a mother to me meant taking on a heart and soul role and evolving in a way that you’ve never had to before this moment in time.
We start thinking: "Do I have to retire my dangly earrings due to little grabbing hands?" "Can I never wear white for the next five years? Or ever again?" "Should I invest in an all black, mess proof wardrobe?
I can safely say that I survived the early days of motherhood because I remained who I was. I didn’t morphe into someone else because I had a child. For the busy woman and mother, there is a complete Fashion Fox Hack List at the end of this blog for you to speed read.
LET'S GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS
The first and most important way to retain your personal style as a new mum is this: Always wear nice underpants.
I don’t mean to be graphic, but your boobs are leaking, you’re wearing ugly breastfeeding bras and using breast pads. It’s a time of life that’s tricky to articulate because your body has never felt like this before. We get so concerned about our tummy, our thighs, our everything. “Will it go back to like it was before?” We wonder.
But if you wear nice knickers the truth is that you’ll feel nice.
My next biggest tip to guide you through would be this: Don’t do it all at once if you’re too overwhelmed and sleep deprived.
Start with the small things. For instance, I would love spraying perfume at the start of each day. It instantly made me feel pretty and would boost my mood. I would end the day this same way. My secret is that I always wear a little perfume before bed.
Next, when you’re ready, wear a little bit of makeup. A splash of lippy and bronzer applied with a big fluffy bronzing brush will do the trick. Give yourself that 5 minutes and if you have 10 minutes give that to yourself. You’ll feel better, you’ll look in the mirror and feel “on” instead of tired (because when we look tired it makes us feel even more tired).
I was on my own as a single mum so I use to sit baby Baxter in his little baby seat capsule, facing me, while I took five minutes for myself to get ready for the day. He would sit there and watch me, fascinated (most days). Me getting myself ready and feeling good for our day was part of our little joint morning routine.
IF IN DOUBT, SOAK IT OUT
If you have a husband, give your husband your baby for twenty minutes and indulge in a bubble bath. Lay there for 10 minutes, shave your legs and let the water soak away the worries of the day.
I’ve noticed that so many mums don’t wash their hair. I’d see them and they’d tell me they had no time. Your hair is your crown that you never take off. Oily, dirty hair makes me feel yucky while fresh, clean hair makes me feel on top of the world. You deserve to feel on top of the world! If you can’t do any of the above tips, wash and blow dry your hair, it will make you feel instantly better. If you are able to book in with a hairdresser, do this and multi-task in the seat getting work done on your computer or phone. This is good use of time away from your baby.
Becoming a new mum is like having a hangover every single day for at least 6 months. Give yourself six week or more to settle into your new lifestyle.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Every second nap that baby Baxter would take I’d fall sleep and every alternate nap he would take I’d use to get work done (washing, ironing, etc). He would sleep every two hours for two hours so that’s the cycle we were on.
If you stick to your baby’s sleep rhythm as much as possible, you’ll wake up feeling better, you’ll wash your hair, you’ll be excited to put your lipstick on and most importantly you’ll feel recharged and not want to yell at your husband.
MAKE IT VANISH
Sometimes little slipups would happen, but that’s what Vanish and Napisan are for. Back then I always still wore everything I wore before having a baby.
Why? Because I love Napisan and I love fashion. Whatever happened I could always just wash or soak it out. People said I was crazy because I would even dress my child in white outfits. I use to not care if he’d get the outfit dirty because I would just Napisan it.
Think about it, it’s clothes, It’s not a limb or a life and wearing something lovely makes us feel nice to wear it. Other mum’s would sometimes say they wish they could be like me and dress like me. They thought they had to wear a baggy jumper and would say “I can’t wear white because of my kids”. In response, I would say, “but actually yes you can, and if it doubt just Vanish or Napisan it.” It’s worth it to feel nice, feel like you and make a good day and week for yourself.
I would always put a bib on baby Baxter. I would always get in quick and wipe his hands as soon as there was any mess. This would minimise spills and vegemite-y hand prints on my outfits.
I loved going for a walk with Baxter in the pram, it was like going on a bit of a holiday together. I’d always take a wet face washer and put it in a plastic bag in my handbag so that I always had it on hand to quickly clean things up. I found this way better than carrying wet wipes. It’s more robust, easy to clean, better for the environment and just did a better job all round.
I am a sucker for a fresh eyebrow wax and I love a great blow dry with curls.
What do you love getting done?
Whatever it is that you love that makes you feel a million dollars, make it a priority, that one indulgence will lift you up and enable you to give from a ‘full’ personal cup. As mothers we give and give to others and without meaning to we pour from an empty cup because we have been our own last priority. A happy mum with little niceties to keep our style and identity means we can keep giving at the high level we do in a way that doesn’t leave us empty and feeling unappreciated.
THE MOTHERHOOD REALITY CHECK
When life changes in a big way it can throw us all off track. Giving birth is such a big process biologically, creating life and the birth or cesarean process. All of a sudden our lives seemingly do a 360 and we have this little tiny human depending on us to survive. I think this is where we are at potential risk of losing our identity or having it diluted.
The body changes, weight gain can be part of it, we feel a bit thrown off balance and have to dig deep to find out what the new normal is. Sometimes it’s beautiful still moments in the wee hours of the morning where the sky turns from dark to dawn and nothing else in the whole world matters but being with our baby. Sometimes it’s mess, and tiredness and mayhem.
What I can genuinely admit to is that everything in your life always gets better when you feel like yourself. You’ll be a better friend, mother, wife and sister in an outfit that’s true to you.
Don’t get me wrong, It’s still ok to wear your baby belt on your jeans.
Don’t expect to bounce back with immediacy.
NAIVE AND NEW
A little while after giving birth to Baxter at the hospital, I pressed the button for the midwife and said “excuse me, something’s wrong, I’ve had the baby but still have a big belly.” I had packed my size 6 hipster Sass and Bide jeans to wear when leaving. I can’t help but look back now and giggle at that. Once you’ve had a baby and/or experienced a cesarean, it goes without saying that you won’t want to wear hipster jeans.
Aside from this, dressing beautifully always got me through. I would get up in the morning and even if I was tired I would always make the effort and I’d feel better. And even if you’re not the same size, just invest in 5 pieces that you wear, so you’re not punishing yourself and it’s all achievable.
It really takes your body 3 to 6 months to get over having a baby. Take yourself for walks, it’s good for your mind. I know when I go for a walk I would always come back and feel so much better.
For me I had a baby when I was 24. It was a really awakening moment for me. Because I was a child raising a child. I felt like I didn’t fit in with a lot of mums because they were 30, 35 or 40. Even though we were all technically adults it really made me feel on the outer because it’s actually a big personal lifestyle gap in terms of where you’re at in life, your life knowledge, your financial position and so on.
THE HUNGER MOTHERHOOD GIVES US
I learnt a lot but most of all I had to still be kind to myself because I was a single mum with a two week old baby. I want him to know that his mum worked really hard for him and loves him. And for me to be the best mother I could be having a nice outfit on and feeling like myself.
I was a young woman, alone in the world, still in love with my son’s father who had essentially asked me to leave our freshly renovated home. I don’t want to focus on him too much because I look back and I’m so grateful he was unkind and unpleasant back then. Because I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I had to be stoic. A situation was created where I had no other choice than to be strong. When you see your baby you have a hunger. A hunger to protect them, a hunger to provide for them. Having a baby there’s a multitude of emotions. There’s happiness, sadness, depression, mother’s guilt for wanting to go back to work, wanting to socialise. The thoughts of have I not done enough and personal things like, for me, the guilt for not being able to breastfeed. All of this being said, I have friends who have embraced loosey goosey mum clothes and love the relaxed, no make up, dirty hair life when they had kids. And they are as happy as pigs in mud! And I would never ever judge this mindset, ever! I would never shame another person for doing motherhood differently. I simply wanted to share my experiences and what I’ve learned. I never took it personally because motherhood and some aspects of it are hard. Everyone has a different experience with motherhood and we all don’t know what baby we are going to have so I have nothing but compassion and warmth toward other mothers.
Personally, fashion saved me.
People asked me how I did it. While everyone was partying, I really just worked hard and put my head down to build a life and a future. I just wanted to succeed and afford him all the opportunities I was afforded and more. I always dreamed of a life for him where he can become an astute young man, who can square his shoulders to task and enjoy the pure elation of success. When Baxter first started talking he used to call me “Mama”. I’d never been called this name before and for a little while it felt so different and new. In becoming a mum, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, ever. My heart and soul changed and grew but it did not change my connection to my identity and “mum” just became one part of that identity.
FASHION FOX CHEAT SHEET HOW TO RETAIN YOUR FASHION SENSE AS A MUM (take what you will, leave what doesn’t resonate)
Don’t expect to bounce back immediately
Use feeding cloths and bibs to save spills
If in doubt, reach for the Vanish or Napisan
Wear nice knickers every day (it’s a quick, free, instant mood booster)
Wear your favourite fragrance morning and night no matter what, it takes two seconds and the smell will make you happy
Be kind to yourself and don’t try to do everything all at once, introduce self care and details slowly. First some bronzer, next week add lipstick, next week wear a stunning top and so on
Bubble baths are excellent for the soul
Make a little bit of hair and makeup part of you and baby’s morning routine, be in the same room together and let them watch you get ready. It’s nice because you can see each other and take a moment before the day starts.
Your body will take 3 to 6 months to get over having a baby
Use fashion to communicate your personal style, remember who you are, be that woman every opportunity you get. Express yourself and your style to the world. You’ll feel amazing for it.
Carry a pre-wet face cloth in a zip lock bag or container for spills and messy hands
You matter. When you love you daily it means you’ll thrive as a mother, friend, wife, sister, you name it.
It was so wonderful spending another Tuesday night with you. I hope your week is going well, you’re feeling inspired and taking time for you. This blog topic is one which I've had so many customer and friends request. It was a pleasure to create content for this piece and to put it together. Bonjour! To all the new subscribers who've joined the Miss Henry family over the past forntight, all the way from beautiful France. Thank you so much for subscribing, liking and commenting. The blog is something I've made a priority each week even though I am quite time poor. I do it for fashion, for the love of wanting to connect and share and most importantly for all of you. I'll be here every Tuesday night (except for last Tuesday night...whoops!) and if you'd like to connect with me before then feel free to follow me on my boutique @misshenryboutique or me at @the_fashion_fox_ Your friend in fashion, Nicole xx Thank you and goodnight!