Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Motherhood - It's Not the Toughest Job in the World


Perhaps you've seen that viral Hallmark Video proclaiming that Motherhood is THE TOUGHEST JOB IN THE WORLD.
 


If you haven't, save yourself.  It's horrible.  First this company puts out a fake ad for a job they called "Director of Operations."

Then they tricked a bunch of people into a fake interview and told them the job involved working 24/7/365 with no breaks, no sleep, no pay, you can barely sit down and you can only eat when you associate is done eating. Then they tell them millions of people already hold this job....I'm sure you see where this is going.  Moms.

About the only true part of that is the no pay.  And, actually my 6-yo son gave me a dime he found on the ground the other day...so see, I do get pay.

Let's not even mention the moral issue with getting people's hopes up for a fake job so you can trick them into making a sappy video to sell cards.

Even besides that, motherhood isn't that bad, and it's certainly not the toughest job in the world.  I could think of about a billion different jobs that are tougher...things like oh...brain surgeon where one slip of the knife leads to death.  Or the slaves...working outside in the hot sun, slaving over cotton fields.  Or the people who built the Pyramids of Egypt back before they had cranes.  Heck, my job one summer working on a dairy farm milking cows was tougher than this...I had to get up 2:30 AM, every day, clean boatloads of cow poop off the cow's udders and deal with stinky ornery cows in the summer heat.  Or being a grad student, and having to get up at 3:30 AM to drive 25 minutes out to a farm, just so I can wrestle cows to take their blood.  And, let's not mention ultrasounding cow ovaries...it involved long gloves and more poop.  All that is tougher than motherhood.   Sure, motherhood involves dealing with some poop....but not nearly as much or as disgusting as those cows produced.  And, at least my kids love me, the cows couldn't have cared less about me.



I can get plenty of sleep.  Sure, occasionally I have to wake-up in the middle of night to attend to a child, but overall, I am well-rested and get plenty of sleep....even with co-sleeping.  I do plenty of sitting down (the size of my rear ends attest to that).  I can pretty much eat when I want to.

Yes, there is laundry to be done, food to be prepared and children to be attended to, but it's hardly the toughest job in the world.  I mean...I have a dishwasher, a washing machine, a dryer, air conditioning, heat, electric stove.  We even have Netflix....electronic babysitting available 24/7.  It's not like I have to chop firewood and stand over a boiling pot.  Some of my daily duties involve things like taking my kids to park day so they can run around with friends and I can sit around and chat with my friends in the warm sun.  Oooo...that's tough.   Or, sitting on the computer, reading blogs while the baby/toddler nurses...not exactly hard labor.  Last week, I spent a few hours just sitting on the front steps in the sun reading a book while the toddler played in the yard.

The video is meant to make people appreciate their own mothers...so they will spend money on Hallmark Cards for them this Mother's Day, but ultimately I found the entire thing to be very anti-child and anti-life.  No woman is going to want to have kids if she thinks it is akin to slavery.   No one is going to want to have more than 1 or 2 kids if they think motherhood is so difficult and tiring and lack of sleeping and you can never get a chance to sit down again.  We need to be telling people that motherhood is wonderful, not that it's horrible.  Yes, there are hard parts, but it's not 24/7 slavery.  A baby doesn't ruin your life.  It doesn't take your life away.  A baby enriches your life and makes it so much better, it may be a bit harder, but it is better. You don't lose yourself when you become a mother, you gain yourself.



Yes, motherhood is hard...but  guess what....life is hard. The sooner you can accept that, the better off you will be.  Sometimes I think that a lot of suffering we bring upon ourselves is because we spend so much time kicking our feet and complaining about how hard life is.  We're so used to comfort, soft beds and pilllows, air-conditioned/heated comfort, instanteous food at the touch of a microwave button, pain relief at the pop of a pill.. that we lose all sight of the fact that life is hard. That life is supposed to involve work.  That hard work is GOOD.  That everything isn't supposed to be easy.  We complain when we have to get out of our warm, soft beds in the middle of the night to go into a warm room and attend to a crying child that we forget about the legions of people before us who slept on the cold, hard ground. We moan about poopy diapers and forget about the nurses and doctors who take care infected, pus-filled wounds on a regular basis.


None of this is meant to belittle the work of motherhood. It IS hard, but its not the toughtest job the world as the video claims.  Matt Walsh basically said the same thing, but he's a man, so not actually a mother.  I wanted to put my two cents...as a mother (a homeschooling mother even)..out there.  Granted, I don't have special needs children, I can only imagine how much harder that must be.  I'm sure many mothers do have a life much harder than mine.  There are mothers who have to deal with feeding tubes and therapies and wheelchairs and numerous doctor's visits.  There are mothers who have to say goodbye to their children way too soon.  That is tough, very, very tough.

But generally, I don't think *my* life as a mother is all that tough.

Not that I don't want my kids to appreciate me on Mother's Day.  I'll accept a card (chocolate is even better).   But, I don't think my job is all that difficult.  I don't think motherhood is the toughest job in the world.  In fact, I don't think it's a job at all. It's a vocation.  When I'm nursing a baby, or reading stories or answering a million questions, or holding a clingy toddler, or hugging my child, I'm not working, I'm loving.  Yes, there are parts that are work (cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner) but those are acts of love.  I don't do them for pay, I do them because they need to get done and it is an act of love to do them for my family.


Let's not put mothers up on a pedestal.  They don't belong there.  The more we buy into this idea that mothers are these super martyrs that belong up on a pedestral, the more anti-child and anti-life we become. You don't have to be a super-human martyr to be a mother...you just have to have the capacity for loving another human being.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Doing the Liebster Thing


Thank you so much to Katie at The Lactating Catholic for nominating me for  Liebster Award. 



Katie's blog is one of those I started following because I (sorta) know Katie in real life.  I don't really know-know her, but we have a ton of mutual friends and once met at a mutual friend's wedding several years ago (not sure if she remembers that, but I do).  Plus, I knew her husband when I was college, through the Youth 2000 retreats.   So, that's enough to say I "know" her, right?

So, that's why I started reading her, but I kept reading her because her blog is witty and funny and sweet and poignant and brutally honest.  Plus, she's an actress and has been in a few community plays (along with her older daughters and even her husband), which is kinda cool....but also annoying because when she's busy with a play, she's too busy to blog and I miss her posts. 

Anyway, thanks for the nomination!  If you don't know, a Liebster Award is basically a blogging game where you answer a bunch of questions and then make up a bunch of questions for other people to answer.  It's a great way to find new blogs to read and learn a bit more about your favorite blogger.

So here are Katie's questions.

1. What made you decide to begin blogging?

I like to write and I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head.  I genuinely enjoy blogging and putting my thoughts onto paper  computer screen. Plus, I've made a lot of cool bloggy friends, so that's always super fun. I started the One Catholic Mama blog way back in 2008 after John was born.  I posted on it sporadically for about a year and then that was it.  Hardly anyone read it...I did basically nothing to promote it, I tried to be totally anonymous...no pictures, no real names....basically no fun. I think my husband was the only one who ever read it.  

Then in 2012, I was getting ready to write our Christmas letter and was looking for a way to include the letter with pictures throughout.   Pictures can take awhile to load via email, so I suddenly remembered my blog again (after not thinking about it for like three years) and decided to host my Christmas letter on my blog.  And, I had so much fun writing it that I decided to take up blogging, but this time I dropped all pretense of anonymity and started including lots of pictures and real names and promoting it.  It's still pretty small, but it's a lot more fun.  And, I really love writing and blogging, which is why I keep at it.

2. If you could switch places with someone for a day, who would it be?

My kids....because I'd love to know what it's like to be a kid in my family with me and my husband as parents.  Weird...no?


3. Where would you most like to travel?

I'm not super into traveling...but I'd love to go to Italy and Rome and Prince Edward Island, Canada (yes, those are totally unrelated). 

4. What is your all-time favorite blog post (leave a link)?

I answered this in my post on Sunday with this link.

But, I also really love this one. 

Actually, I love almost all my posts, which is why I post them.

So, I hope you don't mind if I post one more


5. What is your favorite book or movie and why?

I can't really say I have a favorite book or movie.  I don't spend a lot of time watching movies and even less times re-reading old books.  I guess I would say  Piercing the Darkness, This Present Darkness and The Prophet by Frank Peretti.   They are just awesome books and I love them. 


6. Who do you consider a role model?

Gosh, these are tough questions. I guess Mary. She's the only one perfect enough for the job.


7. If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?

A horse.  Actually, first I would buy a small house with a stable and pasture and then I'd buy two horses, because it's always more fun to go riding with a friend. 

8. What is your favorite hobby or pastime?

 I love walking/hiking in the woods.  And writing/blogging.   And hanging out with friends.  And horseback riding, but since having kids I do that, like never. 

9. What's the worst job you ever had?

Probably working for the meanest veterinarian in the world who used to yell at all his employees and was always stressed and never happy.  He basically turned me off from ever wanting to be a vet. 

10.What is your favorite meal, or what is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

I haven't eaten anything too weird.  And, my favorite meal is bagels with cream cheese and lox and onions and lettuce and tomato.  So, so, so so good.   And, so, so, so, so unfortunate that I really shouldn't eat gluten.  Occasionally I splurge on Gluten-free bagels and lox. 

11. What is one thing you would change about your life?

Well, I wish we weren't so financially stressed.  I never used to consider myself financially stressed.  Even when we were in law school, things were easier than they are now.  And, I wish we had more friends where we live right now....although I guess that is okay because it's looking increasingly likely that we'll be moving in about 4 months anyway to a place where we will have family around and hopefully more friends.  Hopefully we'll also be a bit less financially stressed as the cost of living is cheaper.

And here are my questions.

1. Describe your perfect day.
2. What type of house do you live in (ie. ranch-style, two story, newer, older, condo, apartment, country city, townhouse, etc).
3. Do you know your neighbors and are you friends with them?
4. Did you go to college?  What for?
5. Name one weird thing about your house?
6. Have you ever had a serious illness or disease?
7. Ever almost died?
8. On a lighter note, do you prefer silence or the noise of something (TV, radio, music)?
9. What color are your walls?
10. Do you like where you live?
11. What type of clothing do you typically wear?  Bonus points if you include a picture!

I'm tagging the following people.  Please forgive me if you've already been tagged.  And, please answer them...or not if blogging games aren't your thing (you won't hurt my feelings, I promise). 

Christine Gibson at her blog that doesn't have a title (as far as I can see) but is hilariously funny.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Answer Me This? What Did I Wear Today?


Last Sunday, Kendra was kind enough to tag me in her Answer Me This  post. 

So, I'm going to be kind enough to answer them!

1. What time do you prefer to go to Mass?

I prefer to go at 9 AM....that is the perfect time to go to Mass in my opinion.  Not so early that you can't eat breakfast first, but not so late that it is running into lunch time or cooking Sunday dinner.  Unfortunately, the closest church to us, where we usually attend Mass (ironically enough, not the parish to which we belong, it is better but further) only has Mass at 8 AM and 10 AM in the morning.  So, we sometimes attend the 8 AM and sometimes the 10 AM. 


2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?


Depends on what I'm doing.  If I'm exercising, sleeping or eating...too cold.  I hate exercising, working or even just walking outside in the heat.  And, I hate sleeping when it's super hot. I hate eating when it's hot (unless I'm eating ice cream).  However, if I'm just sitting around, I prefer to be too hot...because I don't like sitting around in the cold. 


3. How many brothers and/or sisters do you have?


I have two brothers and two sisters.  I am the second oldest.  My oldest brother just finally, successfully defended his dissertation on Friday, so he's going to get his PhD.  Yay for him!!!  Then there is me, and you all already know everything about me.  Then my sister, she is a Capuchin Sister.   Then there is my younger brother.  He is working on getting his PhD and is getting married in May!  Yay..we are so excited for that!  My youngest sister was adopted from Jamaica when she was six.  She used to own a flower shop

4. If you were faced with a boggart, what would it turn into?

It's a toss up between a rat and a cancer cell. Maybe a cancerous rat. 


5. Barbie: thumbs up or thumbs down?


Thumbs sideways?  I really don't have an opinion on Barbie.  I know...shocking..usually I have an opinion on everything.  My girls don't play with it.  They just never got into it, I never bought them any and no one ever gave them any. I wouldn't really care if someone did give them Barbie though.  They did have the odd Barbie-type doll over the years that usually did not make the cut for either a move or a toy purging.  It never really occurred to me to get them Barbie, I guess I think of it as an 80's toy.  My kids don't watch any TV (just Netflix) but nothing with commercials, so they basically have zero clue about "cool toys" or "fad toys" and they have never really asked for Barbie.  


6. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?


Just one? I guess, I would say learn to peacefully disagree and don't hold grudges.  I'm Italian, so my family can have some rip-roaring arguments (it's fun for us!), but we never hold it against anyone and those arguments don't cause family strife.  At the end of the argument, everyone is still friends and loves each other.  It wasn't until I was older that I realized that not everyone is like that...that there are people out there who will actually never speak to you again if you get into an argument with them.  Don't be like that. 

Annery also asked some questions...so I'll just go ahead and answer all the questions now!

1.  How many siblings do you have?  (I have 8!)

I answered this above. 

2.  What time of day works best for your prayer/alone time?

Night time...because my kids have the mom alarm and get up as soon as I get up, no matter how early it is. 

3.  Have you endured the Winter Without End too?

It's been super spring-like and warm here in VA the last few days, so I guess it did end. But, yes it was a very, very long and tiring winter.

4.  If you live somewhere warm, how do you feel about me visiting?

Come on down (although VA was pretty cold this winter and next winter we will possibly (probably) live someplace even colder (IN). 

5.  Do you sleep under blankets all year?  Even in the sweltering summer?

Yes, because I am a firm believer in air conditioning. 

6.  Do your kids (or you) eat sugary cereal? (Or am I the only one that lets that happen?)

No, we really don't eat cereal at all, except I occasionally buy Joe's O (like Cheerios) at Trader Joe's.

7.  Do you have any food allergies in your family? What helped you best in learning to cope?

We do not have any true allergies.  Gluten makes me depressed and anxious and makes Greta more anxious.  I think it also affects Heidi.  We stay away from it, but it's not a true allergy.  Our reaction also seems to be dose-dependent....we can eat small amounts no problem, but eating it very frequently does cause a reaction.  I avoid it all together.  The girls only eat it when they are out..like at a party or something. The only gluten we keep in our house is bread, which Ben and John use for sandwiches.  We eat all gluten-free pasta and I buy big bags of gluten-free flour blends to use for baking and make my own bread, pizza, cakes, cookies, muffins, etc., etc.  Occasionally I buy Udi's bread, but it's expensive so we try not to eat too much of it.

8. What's your favorite blog post of someone else's?

This one from Sarah.


9.  What's your favorite blog post of your own?

Hmm...probably this one. 


10.  What would be your ideal birthday present?

An all expensive paid adult-only vacation to a cabin in a tick-less  mosquito-less woods that I could take with my husband and other friends or family member members (but NO kids, so it would include free babysitting from trusted family members (like my parents)  Of course, my birthday is in Nov and frequently over Thanksgiving, so it also has to be someplace that's not too cold then.


I'm not holding my breath on this one. 

11.  Would you rather be surrounded by others without a break or alone all day?

Depends on who the "others" are.  There are some "others"' I would not want to be around all day, however, generally, I prefer to be surrounded by others.  The happiest time in my life was the summer I was a camp counselor in Appalachia with Christian Appalachian project. I was always surrounded by others and loved it.  I also loved living in the dorms in college and being surrounded by others.   Don't get me wrong, I like my alone time as much as anyone, but I only like alone time in small chunks....I would get very lonely with an entire day of being alone.  

12. What did you wear today?

To be honest, neither Annery nor Kendra asked this question.  But, I know your Sunday is not complete until you find out what I wore.  So...here it is.  I'm linking up with Fine Linen and Purple


Shirt: New York and Co. (thrifted)...you can't really tell from the picture, but it actually has a small black/white stripe pattern.
Skirt: Old Navy (given to me)
Shoes: given to me
I'm wearing a belly band under the shirt.  I find those bands so useful for wearing under this style shirt, way more useful then for their intended use (during pregnancy, I never actually used them on my belly when I was pregnant) but they work great for wearing under shirts that are a bit more low-cut.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Reasons My Kids Play Chess...And Why Yours Should Too

Okay, I'm not going to actually tell you what your kids should do....cause this blog isn't about telling people what to do.

I am, however, going to tell you about all the benefits I've discovered from our kids playing chess.


I'm not a chess player....wait...let me take that back.  Technically I am card-carrying member of the United States Chess Federation and I have a rating (302...which if you don't know, is not very good).   I even won the Third Place Medal in the Kentucky State Women's Chess Championship in 2001.   I lost every single game...amazingly they still gave me a medal...that's what happens when there are only three women players. 

As I was saying, I'm not a chess player...but I married one...a really good one that played in competitive tournaments and won money even occasionally.   So, I started to play a little bit, but I was never that into it.  I just don't have the competitive nature to play chess.

But...my kids are really into chess.  Really, really into it.  I'm constantly shocked at how much time they spend playing chess and talking about chess and studying chess and watching chess videos.   They are constantly coming to me and saying things like Mom, you should see this game I played. I played e4 and he played knight g6 and then I castled and we traded queens and he sacked his bishop and we had the Lucena position and then a rook endgame.  Meanwhile I'm all oh, yes, the rook endgame, fascinating.  

And, if you are a chess player reading this (cough, Ben, cough) cut me some slack if the above makes no sense.  I just made it up...as I said, I'm not a chess player.

My kids have known how to play chess for several years, but it wasn't until we moved to Virginia that there were actually able to play in tournaments....hence when they started to get really into it.  And, since that time, I've noticed some awesome benefits about playing chess.

1.
Chess is cheap, as far as activities go.  Sure, you can spend a lot of money flying to national tournaments and all (and we might do that once we actually have some money to spare) but for now, we just stay local and that is plenty fun for them.  Or, you could spend big bucks and pay a Master to teach your kids, but you don't need that.  My husband got to a pretty high rating in chess, all being self-taught.  The equipment is minimal and tournament entry fees are usually very affordable.   Plus, it doesn't take a huge commitment. You can go to tournaments or not...depending on your schedule...there is no major time commitment involved. There are lots of great chess programs and books and other ways that kids can teach themselves, all very affordable. 

2.
You win some, you lose some.  And that is important.  It teaches kids how to both win and lose gracefully.  Which is a really, really, really important skill to learn.   Chess is an individual game...so you can't count on your teammates to help you during a game...it's just you, so you have to learn to handle pressure and stress and winning and losing all by yourself.  Sometimes you have a good tournament and take home a trophy, and sometimes you lose more games than you win.  And, that's okay, because you have to learn how to handle both situations.


3.
It teaches you to slow down and really think. Good chess players really think about their moves and consider them carefully before making a move.  It takes persistence and practice to really think about your moves and not just make the first move that comes to mind.  I'm constantly amazed at how Heidi and Greta have been known to play really long games...over an hour even, because they (and their opponent) are really taking the time to carefully consider their moves.   



4.
Age and size don't matter.  Every single one of my kids could beat me at chess, easily. Chess isn't about who is the oldest or who is the strongest.  It's pretty funny to see this little kid beat a much older kid, or even adults.  There is some advantage to age, but not as much as you might think. 



5.
Critical Thinking. Chess improves critical thinking skills and logic skills.  You have to anticipate your opponent's move, you have to learn to apply strategy to different situations and you have to think ahead....many, many, many moves ahead. Plus, Ben says that chess helped him during law school...so if you think your kids might want to go to law school, have them play chess.




6.
Improved Math Skills. Seriously..I do think that playing chess has improved my kids math skills.  As a homeschooler, math is our worst subject...nothing against math, it's just..you know...math.  So, improved skills and better retention of math facts is a definite plus.


7.
Chess brings people together. Well...at least other chess players that is.  According to Ben, if you sit down somewhere and set up a chess set, people will come over and want to play with you.  So, apparently there is the whole social chess network, where chess players are drawn to other so they can chat over strategy and games. So, even as adults, it's a good social skill to have.  Plus, my kids spend an inordinate amount of time going over their games with each other and with other kids.  So, it brings them together, because they like to replay their games, discuss strategy and and argue over moves.  Yes, they do argue over moves....it's all part of the fun.

So, those are my reasons why chess is so great for kids.  Any other chess players or chess moms/dads want to chime in with any benefits you've noticed?

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(linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes Friday)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I Read Parenting Books and A Book Review: Beyond the Birds and the Bees, Raising Sexaully Whole and Holy Kids


I've read a lot of parenting books over my 12 years of motherhood.  I know a lot of people don't like to read parenting books.  I know a lot of people specifically advise against reading parenting books.
A lot of people say that reading parenting books are a sure-fire way to make you feel like you are doing everything wrong.  I'm not a lot of people

Maybe it's my personality, but I almost never waste time feeling guilty.  I just don't.  Never fear, I have plenty to feel guilty about, but guilt just isn't an emotion I spend a lot of time on.  I forgive myself, I know Jesus forgives me, and I forgive others...so it's all good. 

I don't like to pigeon-hole myself into one parenting philosophy and I don't follow anything 100%, but I do like to have a general game-plan or idea.  I can't just leave my parenting up to my whims.  That would be a disaster, knowing me.  I'd be all loosey-goosey one day and strict, tight-ship the next.  Consistentency is not my fortitude, that is for sure.  

I find reading parenting books to be very helpful, they either strengthen my resolve to keep doing what I am doing, or they give me tools or ideas to change something I am unhappy about.  I'm have no problem taking what I like and leaving the rest.  I find it very helpful to take bits and pieces of other's people's ideas and advice and put them together into an overall game-plan that I can keep in mind to help me get through those tough days.  

I think the main problem that most have with parenting books is that people are complicated.  A person's outcome in life (who they are when they grow up...whether that is a saint or an ax murderer) depends on many factors and their upbringing/parenting is just one among many.  The thing is, parenting does matter...it's just not the only thing and no way of parenting can guarantee a specific outcome, because people are complicated and have free will.  Not to mention the fact that genetics and certain physiological factors can also play a role.  But, that doesn't negate the fact that parenting DOES matter and that we should all be striving to be the best parents we can be. 

So.....here is the latest parenting book I have been reading.




I love this book.  I can honestly say that it might just be the most helpful parenting book I have ever read. And, I've read a lot in my time.  If you have just little kids you might be saying, oh, I don't need this book yet, my kids are too little.

But...there is always a but....it's never too early to start thinking about this.  And, they give some really good ideas and tips and advice for different stages of development...starting with infants all the way through teens. In fact, I think their advice for babies and young children is especially helpful.  They address certain sensitive issues (like self-touching in little kids and masturbation in older kids) from a uniquely Catholic perspective that you really won't find in any other book.

The authors do heavily espouse the style of parenting best known as attachment parenting.  While I don't like labels, it is the parenting style which has always worked best for our family.  So, naturally, I agree with a lot of what they say.   However, whether or not you follow attachment parenting, I think they make some good points....points that are well worth consideration that I hadn't really thought of before (things like how a baby learns attachment and to seek comfort from their primary caregivers can help them develop the necessary skills for intimacy within marriage as an adult). 

However, even past that, they have wonderful advice for nurturing your relationship with your child, dealing with puberty, helping teens navigate dating relationships and great tips and advice for just about every stage in between.  And, it's not just about helping your kids have a healthy sexuality, but about forming healthy relationships (and avoiding bad ones), helping your children form an identity statement and helping your children foster their own spiritual life. 

The book is easy to read, but chock full of information and you need to read it slowly to really absorb everything.  A theme of authentic Catholicism is woven throughout the entire book, and the book is written from a uniquely Catholic perspective that continuously references The Theology of the Body and authentic Church teaching. That said, I think even non-Catholic, Christian parents could get a lot out of this book, because it just has some really good advice and ideas in it about nurturing the parent-child relationsip and helping children respect their bodies without ever feeling shame about them or their bodily functions.

There are even some great ideas and information to help parents in their own marriage foster greater intimacy. 

You should read it. 


Linking up with Jessica. 
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Journey Towards Attractiveness


Last Sunday I posted about modesty, and mentioned a piece of advice I read.

Dress to be attractive, but not provocative. 

I covered the provocative part last week, but merely touched on the attractive part.  Dressing to be attractive has been a long, learning curve for me. 

When I was a kid, I basically learned how to dress from this book.

Sad, I know.  My parents were/are completely uninterested in fashion or clothing and didn't teach teach us anything about clothes, beyond the whole wear clothes that are clean, modest and not raggedy.

My senior picture in high school involved me wearing something plaid.  Plaid????!!!  Really???  In my defense, plaid was all the rage in the mid-1990's at my suburban New England high school.   Those were the grunge days after all. 

I'd post it, but I don't want to scare you all.  Plus, I'm too lazy to scan it from my yearbook, never mind that I don't even know where my yearbook is.

Anyway, it's been a long journey for me to figure out how to dress in an attractive manner.  There have been lots of bumps along the way.  And, we won't talk about my bra less, hippie phrase where I was convinced that bras cause breast cancer.  Yeah.

So, okay..moving on. 

The most important thing I have learned about dress, is to dress in a manner that is flattering to your body type.   Not for the body type you want, or the body type you used to have, but the body type you currently have.   And, that changes.  

Before, I had kids, I really liked the look of a fitted, turtle-neck sweater.  Like this.



And, I still like that style, but it just doesn't look as flattering on someone, who thanks to pregnancy and many combined years of breastfeeding, has mammary glands of the rather large variety.  It just doesn't. Something with a v-neck or more scooped neck is more flattering.

The length is great though.  I've learned that I really need skirts and sweaters with more length that go past the hips.   Ones that end right at the hips, just don't look good on me, because my hips tend to be the widest part of me.  I spent too many years wearing too short shirts before I figured that out.

And, I really like this style of skirt.

But, I just don't feel that it is as flattering on someone (such as myself) with larger hips. 

So, I tend to stick with more straight skirts or skirts that flare out/pleat below the hips, instead of right on the hips.

I've also had to do some Internet research into selecting the right pair of jeans for your body type, so as the avoid the dreaded "mom jeans" look.   If you search around, you can find some good information.  I think the biggest thing is just to avoid jeans that are too baggy or have too small pockets that are placed too high up. 

Learning about colors hasn't been as hard.  I have an olive skin tone and even as a teenager I noticed that certain colors are more flattering, so I tended to stick with those colors (for me, things like black, white, brown, red and dark pinks or purples, while shying away from things like pastels, which don't look good with my skin tone. 

And hair.  Oh hair..has been a learning curve.  I have hair that tends to get very frizzy and curly in humidity. And, I have spent most of my life living in a very humid climate. Sometimes I think I should just move to Arizona and solve my hair problems once and for all.   I'm too lazy to blow-dry or straighten my hair, so I've just been on a quest to find hair products that actually eliminate and control the frizz. 

This is the best I found (along with their conditioner).  And, no one better comment about sulphates or dangerous, toxic ingredients in shampoos, because I have my fingers in my ears and I'm not listening. ;)


Make-Up. I've had to basically figure out make-up all for myself.  I don't wear a ton, but do usually wear foundation (yes, it is a non-toxic, mineral brand, so you can all breathe easier on that).  Occasionally some lip gloss, eye shadow or blush, but foundation is basically my staple.   All, this has been a major learning curve for me, because I grew up basically knowing nothing about make-up or clothes or anything like that.

And, I'm still pretty clueless when it comes to accessories.  And nails...I have no idea how to have nice nails. I think that is going to be my next area to tackle. 

I'm definitely not a fashion plate, but over the last few years, I've been striving more and more to look more and more "put together."  I don't think it is beneficial to run around looked ragged and frumpy all the time. I think many people have this stereotype of moms always looking tired, haggard and dumpy, which makes the idea of having kids or having several kids, not all that appealing.  I'm hoping by putting slightly more effort into my appearance, I can help others see how great having multiple kids can be....and that it's not necessarily a sure-fire way to frumpdom. 

So....with that in mind.  How did I do today?  I'm linking up with Fine Linen and Purple, for What I Wore Sunday. 


I'm sure the shirt-tied-in-front look is so last year (or last decade or something) but I really like this white shirt, and it is just a tad too big for me to wear unless I belt it or tie it or do something to make it a bit more flattering. 
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