Frumpy Doesn't Happen Overnight

I was standing in line at the Ann Talor Loft last week, holding five different colors of the same shirt when it hit me. Frumpy doesn't happen overnight. I have always loved cool clothes, cute shoes and fabulous hair. While I prefer soccer shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap, I do appreciate that there are times and places when it is better to look a bit more put together. It certainly is not good to obsess or be overly concerned with how you look, but I do believe it is important to make the most of what you have been given...for yourself and for your spouse. I used to see moms and wonder how they ended up looking so tired and out-of-style. I assumed that these women were NEVER into "style" - it just wasn't on their radar (and I think I secretly admired that). But as I was standing in the Loft, I had a very frightening realization. Letting yourself go is a very slippery and gradual slope and is not likely an intentional journey...and now I was dancing dangerously close to the edge of the frumpy cliff. The kids come, the body changes, life gets ridiculously busy, the fatigue sets in and there is just no time for personal upkeep. I have felt this lately. I haven't lost the desire, but the time and energy is another story. My day is spent trying to balance responsibilities at home while shuttling kids to school and activities. Our money is spent trying to feed and clothe three children. My energy, well, I haven't had any energy since before I was pregnant with our third child almost two years ago. I think the majority of women want to look presentable and pulled together. I know that I do. But in this season of life we mommies are all lacking some combination of time, energy and money that makes looking pulled together possible. Many days I don't even manage to squeeze in a shower, so looking cute just isn't a possibility. What to do? Does this mean that I must give up? Do I surrender to front-butt jeans and holiday sweaters? Absolutely not. I fight the good fight, doing the best I can to maintain some sense of style during these tiring years with young children. Could "tired" be the new black? It may mean that I do the bulk of my shopping online (no shower required). I may buy three pairs of the same shoe in different colors because I happen to be near a shoe store on a particular day. I need to exercise as much as I can, but it won't be like it was when I was a college athlete. I can get my hair done, but it may be hiding under a hat most days. But what it also means is that I need to cut myself some slack. It is about survival now. It is about being an emotionally present mommy. My kids will get older and there will be time to look fit, rested and perfectly coiffed later. I need to attempt to take care of "me,'' but I may need to lower my standards - at least temporarily. Unfortunately, the world probably isn't going to look past my old sweats. Can I be okay with that? I am not there yet, but I'm working on it. Is it possible that after a few years of lower standards I could become more comfortable looking less together? Maybe that is the point.

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