Fashion Feelings: Capes, and (not) Being Supermom

There’s always someone out there with an opinion on whether women can “have it all”.  I’m not here to give my opinion on this idea, however, it was what inspired me to write this, so it has to bear some sort of weight in this post.  I think it’s hard to even give an answer to that plaguing question “can I have it all?” because it’s so highly dependent on what “all” means to you.  I think some women define having it “all” as working and having kids.  Other women would feel slighted by this, and would say that’s not “having it all”, but rather staying home with their children is “all”.  So I’m not going to answer this because there just is no hard and fast answer.  But I think all of us out there with kids are still trying to be supermom, and yes, we are all probably “failing” in our own minds to have it all…whatever that means to us.

I never intended on staying home full time with my children.  That being said, I’m very thankful that I got the chance to do this.  I loved my job and I know that having small amounts of time to focus on other things (other than my children) makes me a better mom.  But given the circumstances of our life at the time that I had my second baby, it would have been a drain on our family and it would have been more hurtful than helpful for us.  So I stayed home, and tried to be supermom.  But that cape is a heavy mantle for me.

For me, I am one of those people who thrives with a job, with a creative passion, and with other creative people around me.  I’m a nerd who loves meetings, organization, and colored tabs in my binders.  Motherhood comes with no binders, and if it did, my kids would promptly smear them with chocolate and destroy them with crayons.  I am not a person that thrives in the chaos of a messy home.  I constantly remind myself that kids need to be messy and that letting go of always having things clean will help me enjoy life more.  But this is a struggle for me.  I wouldn’t trade the time I have at home with my kids for any job, period.  It is priceless.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard.  I often feel stir crazy, crazy exhausted, and just plain crazy.  I am not a great crafting mom, Pinterest mom, or creative mom.  I’m working hard on these things, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.  Speaking in front of people comes naturally to me, but helping my kids with a puzzle pulls muscles in my brain.  It’s funny how natural it is just just love and adore your children…and somehow you think that once you give birth it will also be perfectly natural to know how to make a Disney princess cake from scratch on their birthdays.  For me that is not so.

I am not supermom.  I see a lot of supermoms on Instagram, but I’m going to bet that by their own volition they are most definitely NOT supermoms.  Some days I have to remind myself that I can’t even be a semi decent mom if I don’t take some time away to breathe and do something for myself…let alone be supermom.  There are certain things I think I’m not bad at when it comes to mom-ing.  I cook a lot, I love talking to my kids and reading them stories, singing to them, and shopping with them (big surprise there) and I will be an EXCELLENT Disneyland ride buddy mom.  But crafting?  Getting messy and doing things that I can tell will require extensive vacuuming later?  Playing board games and puzzles?  Not easy for me.  I’ll get there.  But supermom I am not.  I can still wear a cape though, that’s allowed, right?

Capes are making a comeback and if you want to know more about their fashion history, check out this article with some really cool photos.  I got this velvet cape because it is perfect for semi-cool weather (which is something we have a lot over here) and I’ll most likely be wearing it most with jeans or shorts.  Velvet is one of those fabrics that can go SUPER fancy, so pairing it with denim is always an easy way to daytime-it-up.

After all my extensive hair-pulling-out, self shaming, and unashamed comparison on social media, I can only conclude one thing.  Supermom does not exist.  It is a myth that we keep alive in our brains, primarily to torture ourselves.  Kind of like the tooth fairy where we’d actually go to great lengths to TRY and lose teeth (so gross) just to make a couple of bucks.  And in light of this, I will SAY I will stop tormenting myself with images of perfect family photos and event quality birthday parties, but the truth is, I most likely still will.  I am human after all and it comes with the “mom territory” to automatically feel like a failure when things don’t look picturesque.  And with toddlers, most things are covered in crayon scribbles and not in like a cute Instagramable way.

And now, back to the toddler arguments.  And those things are endless.  Happy Friday

On Lessons Learned From My Kids

Having toddlers is unlike any other experience in my life.  It’s both exhausting and hilarious, fun and not fun, and pretty much just all around insane.  I feel like a forgetful, sleep deprived, hot mess of a human on most days.  I do things like pay for my groceries, and then proceed to leave the store without everything I just paid for.  I forget words that should come easy to me, given that I am a native English speaker and all.  And I say sentences that I never, ever thought I would say.  Words that I previously thought didn’t belong together, now fly out of my mouth with great ease.  Generally they are accompanied by the words “no” or “don’t”, but the result is always the same.  I give humans instructions on basic tasks, like: “chew, then swallow.” Yep.  Life is bizarre.  But these kids teach me a lot of things.  Serious things of course, but come on, the funny things that they teach us are always better right??

So here it is: Lessons I Have Learned From My Two & Three (just now four!) Year Old.  (this is all tongue and cheek obviously, I don’t THINK I need to say that though…)

  1. Sharing is not Caring.  Sharing is Whack.  Yes, let’s de-mistify this one right now.  When people tell you to SHARE, what they’re really telling you to do is to “give away that thing that you really really want and HAD FIRST.”  Pretty much the most unfair principle in life is sharing.  I have learned that when people ask me to share, it’s best to scream “GET YOUR OWN FREAKING ________ THIS ONE’S MINE!” and then to run away.  It’ll work every time and you’ll never have to share again.
  2. If you scream, they will come.  Yes people, I’m about to blow the lid off that whole “waiting patiently” thing.  The louder you scream, the quicker people will do what you want, mostly just to shut you up.  Screaming gives you ALL the power.  The loudest one gets what they want first.
  3. There is no such thing as “too much” sugar.  My toddlers patiently remind me every single day that they do not need meals.  They only need snack bars, cereal, M&M’s, ice cream, and chocolate croissants.  Everything else is optional, but not really necessary.  There is no need to sit down and eat a meal.  It is much preferable to eat what you like, while you do what you want.  Meal times are a fascist regime designed to keep you away from all your stuff.  Revolt against them.
  4. There should be toys sold in EVERY store.  Without toys, a store is basically useless.  Now they don’t have to be actually MEANT to be toys.  Lots of things can double as toys.  Tools at the hardware store make EXCELLENT toys.  Flashlights, back scratchers, and other random little items at the register of your local drugstore work beautifully as well.  But really, if you leave a store WITHOUT something that can be played with, you have failed.  Miserably.
  5. Everything can and should be allowed in your bed/crib.  The BEST way to go to bed at night is with the light on.  If you turn the light off, how can you see your stuff?  Take everything that you like, put it in your bed.  Then play, read, and basically have a party (food is encouraged) because sleep?  That’s for babies.
  6. Clothing is optional, and should be used creatively.  Following the traditional constraints of clothing is a no no.  Phrases like “pants go on your legs” are very closed minded.  Socks can go on your hands.  Pants can double as a super cool hat.  Wearing multiple shirts or pairs of pants simultaneously can be fun.  But please, when you do this, make sure to throw a HUGE fit when the articles of clothing don’t comply with their current situation.  It’s really the only way to deal with this struggle.
  7. Nothing, NOTHING is as important as picking up a dropped toy.  Driving on the freeway?  Not as important.  Trying not to burn dinner?  Paltry.  Have to pee?  It can wait.  When a toy falls out of reach, this is CRITICAL.  Threat level MIDNIGHT.  Alert the neighbors, all your friends, and the white house because THIS IS NOT A DRILL PEOPLE!!!!!  Drop EVERYTHING and pick up that toy.  Or ELSE.

Ah yes.  Toddlers are magical, cute, and secret evil geniuses.  I learn a lot from them!  I am learning, on a more serious note, to not call myself F-A-T when I feel like it…because I sure as heck don’t want them to learn that from me!  And wearing shorts is not the most easy thing for me post babies, but I’m learning to accept myself where I’m at, appreciate how far I’ve come, and keep working towards where I want to be!

I got this giant oversized shirt at Off Fifth, and I love it.  It’s so oversized that I feel like it has a lot of uses.  It is so great for summer!  This necklace is from Free to Wander and the espadrilles are my new go to shoe…they’re from Soludos and they’re so comfy!

Happy Monday all you amazing humans.  Hope you’re screaming loudly and eating some sugar right about now.

Things No One Ever Told Me About Being A Mom

Full disclosure.  This post should actually be called one of two titles…either: “Things People Actually DID Tell Me About Being A Mom, But I Wasn’t Listening Because I Really Didn’t Care At The Time” OR “Things People Actually DID Tell Me About Being A Mom, But I Don’t Remember Because, Well, I’m A Mom Now And I’m Always Tired.”  But you can see how those are remarkably longer and less catchy, so I chose the first one.  Just making sure you know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

I am one of those people who ALWAYS tries to be extra prepared.  I plan.  I read.  I ask people’s advice.  I never jump in without checking out my surroundings if I can help it.  And when it came to having kids, that held true.  My husband and I were married for 7 years before having kids.  We dated for 6 years before that, so we’d been together for like 72 years before we decided it was time.  My math is pretty spectacular huh?  I had babysat.  I had been around toddlers PLENTY.  I had held babies right after they were born and had close friends who were parents.  I read books.  I basically prepared myself for the most terrible time of my life…sleeplessness, stress, and God knows what else.  Then my son was born.  And he was amazing.  He ate and slept like a dream.  I was like…yeah, thanks for preparing me for the horrors of war, when this is more like a snapshot from a Hallmark card, except for the fact that I’m still about 100 pounds overweight after giving birth.  So about five months after he was born, I did the only natural thing that a completely insane person would do, and I got pregnant again.  I was like, this is easy, I’m gonna rock this and be the most AMAZING COOL MOM EVER.  I bet you can sense where this story is going.

Right about the time my daughter was going to be born, my son turned one.  Now there’s something magical about when your kid develops their personality to a greater degree and starts behaving like a tiny human more than like an infant who smiles and stuff, but basically eats and sleeps and that’s the bulk of it.  Yeah it’s magical and HORRIFYING.  All of a sudden, the “easiness ” I had experienced flew right out the window.  He had opinions about what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.  He was no longer a captive of the carseat and the stroller and he wanted to move around freely and touch everything.  And the only thought in my mind was “WHAT THE CRAP HAVE I DONE?!?!”  My husband and I would be out and about and we’d see a couple with a toddler and a giant baby belly and we’d be like “nooooooooooo runnnnnnnn save yourselves…” but we knew it was also too late for them and we were all in the same boat with a bunch of toddlers poking giant holes in the bottom of it, laughing gleefully while we all tried desperately to shovel water out to stay alive.  I’m making you excited to have kids aren’t I?  Hahaha.  Keep reading.

Then my daughter was born and the adventure got crazier.  Now I have a two year old and a three year old and I often wonder at why I didn’t predict this ridiculous situation from the beginning, then I remember that my math is total crap, and that explains a lot of things in my life.  So here goes.  Things I didn’t realize about being a mom…full honestly, no holding back.  Take a deep breath, and dive in with me!

Moms are always tired.  Like always.  And being tired makes you emotional.  Therefore, moms are always emotional.  When I was in college, I babysat for a moms of toddlers group at my church.  Every week, I’d watch the moms come get their kids and literally, ALL of them had been crying.  I was like: “Why are they ALWAYS crying???”  College me, let me explain to you why those moms were always crying.  Because the last time they took a shower and did’t have three panic attacks while trying to rinse their hair because there was screaming and mayhem outside the door was at least three years ago.  Because now going to the bathroom in a public restroom equals STRESS because at any moment, a tiny person WILL open the door latch and fling the door open wide while there’s a line of spectators standing outside the stall.  Because they got woken up by a barfing child, then had to clean the whole crib, sanitize the area, and attempt to go back to sleep amidst terrifying imaginations of the whole family getting the stomach flu.  Only to awaken, exhausted, to find a completely healthy toddler with EXTRA energy, bouncing around the room on the furniture, unstuffing the last kleenex box, spraying the saline nose spray around the room, and generally wreaking havoc while mom is desperately trying to get a spare moment to drink some coffee.  Because moms watch their kids eat french fries and croissants while they eat fruit…and still can’t quite fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans yet.  Because the last time a nap was an option, was during the last election year.  So college me, get off your high judgy horse and have some freaking compassion.  And then go home and take a nap for me, will ya?

Moms are always trying their best, and basically completely failing by their own standards.  Oh. And by the standards of social media.  Let’s not forget that priceless gem that’s making moms all over the world feel a little more like failures for not Pinteresting their way through every single day.  Before I had kids I was like: “My kids are gonna be healthy eaters.  They’re gonna eat diverse food and be cultured and have a varied palate.”  Then out pops my son who from the VERY BEGINNING had the whitest person’s palate you have ever seen.  Black pepper is “spicy” to him.  He lives on American cheese and pizza.  I make him taste stuff and he puts it in his mouth, crinkles up his face in a look of disgust and says: “oh that’s GOOD mama…”  I ask: do you want more?  “Oh no.  I’m good.”  And then I see a mom who’s toddler is eating a nice seaweed snack on Instagram and the feeling I experience is somewhere in the neighborhood of watching a super skinny girl eating a donut.  Jealousy.  Rage.  Failure.  Fishy crackers are just as nutritious as seaweed right?  Please say yes.

Moms are always pushed to the edge.  They have been taken hostage by tiny and adorable humans, who want things NOW and have ZERO patience for not important things, like meals, laundry, or sleep.  Toddlers value things like finding that one toy they haven’t played with in months, and finding it NOW.  Things like, having 17 books in their crib even though that leaves no where for them to lie down and actually SLEEP.  Basically it goes like this.  You’re getting a constant barrage of questions, most of them consistent reruns, listening to a steady stream of noisy toys and screeches and wails, then your husband comes in and asks you a simple question.  “Hey!  How’s it going?”  Oh no he didn’t.  You know those slow mo scenes in movies where the opera music plays and you see someone have a complete meltdown, screaming and waving their arms in obscene gestures?  Yep.  That’s what happens.  Because you are always RIGHT on the brink of a breakdown.  Just WAITING for a car to cut you off or someone to shoot you a judgy look about the fact that you forgot to buckle your kid in the stroller and they’re now standing up in it.  People, this is why we need to be nice to each other ALL THE TIME.  Because when you’re driving on the road, you never know if that “rude person” driving behind you is a mom of toddlers, which basically explains everything.  Driving with toddlers is basically distracted driving…with a pinch of road rage thrown in for good measure.  Then you see someone with a bumper sticker that says: “My child is an honor roll student.”  And you’re like “oh good for you.  YOUR child probably ate seaweed when he was a toddler.”

All this to say, my three year old son brought me flowers last night.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  He hugged me, told me he loved me, and I instantly forgave him for the 100 pounds I’ve had to work off, the sleepless nights, and the unnecessary screaming and nagging I’d endured all day.  And that is the essence of it all.  No one ever told me that when I was a mom, I’d be a MOM.  The person who thinks their kids are absolutely the most amazing things on the planet.  The woman who tears up when they say “I love you mama.”  And who would do just about anything to make their lives more amazing.  Yep.  No one told me this.  Or more likely I just wasn’t listening.

I may be a mom who cries at sappy commercials and sweet stories the Today show now, but I don’t have to wear mom jeans.  In fact, in this outfit I just ditched the “mom pants” all together and went with a giant, comfy, oversized flannel.  With cute boots of course.

This dress was like one of my favorite finds from Off Fifth in Santa Barbara.  It’s HUGE and SO SOFT.  And I love that it’s long enough to be worn without leggings if it’s warm enough.  The boots are vintage repurposed from Wild and Free Jewelry but since she’s not going to be doing them anymore, check out Hillbilly Gypsy Boots for amazing custom pairs.  The earrings are my favorite Southbound ones…I really need to get another pair of these amazing earrings in a different color!

Hope your week is off to an amazing start!