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MummyMadness » 2010 » October

Mothers and Fashion

Posted by Mattie on Oct 28, 2010 in Motherhood, Womanhood

Fashion is the new health issue.

I used to wake up in the morning and think what am I going to wear today? Is anything even washed? By the time I got the kids ready to go out the door, I pretty much still had my pyjamas on, or something that looked like it. Having worked in the fashion industry my whole professional life, I became embarrassed at how I was now representing myself.

Once my head got above water and I started to breath again. I decided that I needed to think about myself more. I needed to realise who I had become because I was no longer a career person and was now a stay at home parent. Just like food and exercise, my self-awareness had become a part of my life that I had neglected for some time now.  I know that most people don’t think that fashion is a health issue. I agree, it is not, but feeling good about you is a health issue.

After researching about the proper foods and running my heart out, I still felt lost. Sometimes I ran so hard and so far that I felt that I was trying to run away from or to something. When I finally bought a cool and functional running outfit, things started to click for me. I missed the fashion in my life. And if I missed it, maybe other mothers were in the same boat.

Getting a wardrobe together isn’t easy. Life is overwhelming enough for us, and most of us just don’t have the time nor budget to make mistakes. Hopefully, my experiences can help make your life easier. There is definitely an inner strength when you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

The clothes you wear reveal things about you to the public that you may or may not be aware of.  It is always important, but not detrimental, what you wear because people naturally look at you and come to some sort of conclusion. Why not take the time to make sure that you succeed in setting the impression that you want. None of us are perfect. But how can you feel good about yourself, when you walk out of your house looking dishevelled?

Yes, we have exceptions, when it becomes more important for your children to be in school on time, than getting your outfit just right. You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion to be stylish. All you have to do is sort it out.

Think about it. What is your style? Are you yoga laid back? Are you city chic? Are you a part time professional? Or are you plain Jane, just wanting to wear new clothes. Or, perhaps just like all of us, our bodies changed and our old clothes don’t fit anymore. No shame in that. Bodies change, dispositions change and so does our lifestyle. Being a mother involves change and adaptation.

Here is how I have learned to set myself up and teach other mothers to do the same. I have limited space, yet an extensive wardrobe. It is simple and you can do it too. Organization is a key element of having control of how you look and feel.

Focus on sections of your closet at a time. It takes time to build a working wardrobe. Time to make physical changes and time to make psychological changes. If you do too much, too fast, you will be overwhelmed and turned off. Clean out the shelves first, then the hanging clothes, work in that sort of direction. Being organized is a mindset.

Let it go. Clutter brings you down, move on. Clean out your clothes. I know that you have heard it before, but just do it. Plain and simply, if it is worn out and/or does not fit properly get rid of it immediately. Give it to charity or the garbage man. Don’t be a prisoner of clutter. Stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t work for you. Look at your new space. Now you have made room for the new you, the mother.

Identify what is missing. What do you want to wear that you don’t have? I like nice outerwear. I hate wearing my “rain” gear when it rains, but the reality of North Vancouver is that I have no choice. So I look for the best quality jacket in the most complimentary colour to add to my wardrobe. This is an investment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t spurge on some fun items, just not too many. I prefer a few great items that work for my lifestyle, so that I don’t have to spend all my morning time thinking about clothes. I have set myself up to succeed.

Edit your wardrobe consistently. Every 3-6 months when you see something you don’t like, put it aside and revisit it upon clearance time. I am not saying throw everything away. I am saying periodically think about your wardrobe and then don’t think about everyday.

Find your favourite shops. Who has time to window shop anymore? Find the stores that sell the styles that you like and have the sizes that make you look good and only visit those shops. If you are consistently not finding what your are looking for, then take it as a sign and try something new. Yes, in the beginning it takes time, but in the end, you will be happier with your purchases. Eventually you also will figure out when they put things for sale.

I have been doing this for years and have now stared teaching my daughters. When you go to the shops, try many things, but only buy the one thing you like most that you need. Don’t buy three of four items, just because they are on sale. Save that money for indulgence. When you really like a sweater, but it is not on sale yet. Love your clothes and they will be good to you.

A wardrobe does not have to be a prison sentence. Find the colours that work for you. And play around with combinations. Buy few cheap trendy items for fun.  An expensive item must have quality, flexibility and be flattering, no exceptions.  Buy all year round items that work with seasonal items like long sleeve T’s, a great pair of jeans. Take the time to get the fit right. You are worth it.

Having control over your identity and changing your persona based on your priorities and moods is empowering. No one needs a lot of clothes. A great wardrobe is made with variety. Wearing the same thing twice is not a sin. The challenge is to wear the same thing differently. If you find something that you like, keep it and use it. Don’t save it. I believe there is agelessness with reinventing yourself. Do it in stages and don’t try to do it in one day. Embrace it.

Think of a wardrobe as an investment in your image and well-being. It is not about what people think of you nor being better than anyone else. It is about how you feel about yourself. Don’t try to be perfect. We don’t use the word perfect in our family, because that concept does not exist and therefore, impossible to live up to. Good enough works for us.

One of the best seeds that I can plant in my children is that they should always try always to be good to themselves. Hopefully, when I allow myself some indulgence, they can learn about self-esteem.

For more fashion tips go to my fashion blog; www.mattiealamode.com

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Mothers and Exercise Class

Posted by Mattie on Oct 27, 2010 in Womanhood

I am about to complain about another mother, so if that is going to bother you, move on to the next post. I will not be using times, dates, location nor names.

Here goes,

There is this lady in my exercise class and she has been driving me crazy for months! She is older probably 60 with older kids, who are in high school or older. Not that it should make a difference, but her age does.

Here is why…I have had the same “spot” in this class for about 2 years. Position is important as you don’t want to hit some one with your weights and you don’t want to get hit in the head either.

My position is in front of the door. For two reasons; 1) because I like to leave the class early and don’t want to manage through the crowd. And 2) because I don’t want to be in front of a mirror. I find looking at myself in the mirror when I exercise is distracting for many psychological reasons. And, I like to be either in the zone or daydream.

Anyway, this lady cannot keep up to the class. She is always off step, which means that she is about to hit me at any time. Plus she is always between the instructor and me so I keep missing the changes.

She is older so I give her that. But why exactly does she need to position herself so close to me before the class starts, when we all know you need arm and leg room. Sometimes I think she does it on purpose. Doesn’t she understand personal space????

Some people need to be close to people. Well I don’t have those needs. I need to exercise without her limbs in my way. We have had some words but she insists in standing in my shadow. She won’t move.

Now I think that she does it to get my goat. Hence this post. At least, I have had my say and can let it go.

Why not move from my spot? Because I was there first!

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Mothers and A Fever

Posted by Mattie on Oct 25, 2010 in Motherhood

Two weeks ago I had a 100-degree fever for 2 days. It threw me for a loop so I haven’t written since then. It took me this long to get back into the blog groove.

When my kids have a fever I have to stop everything that I am doing and take care of their needs. That is the choice I made when I decided to have kids. When my husband has a fever the world comes to an end. Was that a choice that I also made?

Fevers suck! I felt so tired and delirious, trudging through my day. Pick up this kid, drop off that one. Soccer photos and birthday parties, I need to get to bed. Being polite is so hard when I feel sick and tired. But for real this time.

Can’t you tell with my glossy eyes? I am not my usual miserable self. I have an excuse this time.

Mothers don’t really catch a break. We don’t get weekends off, or sick leave. We have to negotiate our day off. I wish I could call my family and leave them a voice mail. I am not coming in today. I will call you when I am feeling better. Don’t call me.

But that will never happen. I rest and I do a chore. I rest and then I do another chore. If I am lucky, I can get out of the bedtime routine and get to bed early. Hopefully I will be contagious and no one will want to be near me!

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Mothers and Home Depot

Posted by Mattie on Oct 15, 2010 in Motherhood

I just got home from Home Depot. I spent almost 2 hours looking for fixtures and matching light bulbs. You can use this for that and that for this. They need to have a special customer service person that deals with mothers and only mothers.

We have so very little time and so many other things to do. As soon as I walk in there, I feel like 100 pounds has just been dumped on my shoulders. I guess I could send my husband, but external light fixtures need a woman’s touch.

Sure the handy man knows what to do or where to go or is afraid to ask. But not me! As soon as I walk into Home Depot, I want someone to take me by the hand to every aisle that I need to be, none other. I don’t mind walking. I don’t need a chariot.

Then, I want to know everything there is to know about the products that I need. Then, I want to leave as fast as I got there. And, I do not want to come back to return merchandise.

Thank goodness my kids are in school now. I used to do my chores with my kids and that was an insane experience. I always brought home the wrong product!

Now, I need an electrician…

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Mothers and Canadian Thanksgiving

Posted by Mattie on Oct 12, 2010 in Motherhood

Another Thanksgiving has gone by. It is a nice holiday at a good time of year, setting the stage for Christmas. I use this holiday as a summer wardrobe cut off. By now I need to start putting away that summer mode and dress for the new season.

I grew up in Montreal, so dressing for the season is what we do. I currently live in North Vancouver, which means dressing for a season is optional. But that is mostly the weather’s fault. Enough about fashion.

Since I am first generation Canadian, we never really appreciated Thanksgiving dinner as a family holiday. It was a three-day weekend. A freebee. Coming from a large Greek family we did big dinners for Christmas, New Years, Easter, and on a regular basis. We didn’t need a reason to make us all sit together to eat. We did it as a custom.

Now that I live across the country from where I grew up, I miss that. I am not sure that we would still have those big dinners. Each family has gone its own way. I miss those first generation years.

Now that I have my own family, we still don’t do the big Thanksgiving dinner, except it is not that big. My husband is an immigrant from England so he never had to say thanks to the pilgrims. All in all my kids are in my own childhood boat. I don’t think they missed it when they were younger as they didn’t know the difference.

Once they got into elementary school and the teacher would ask who had turkey this weekend? They would ask me what did we eat for Thanksgiving? My reply would be something like “steak or hamburgers”. Slowly, I figured we needed to get into the Canadian tradition of saying thanks.

Since my mother has moved here, she likes to do a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Except the kids are young and none of us really like leftovers. So my mother and I have decided we will do a whole chicken. The kids won’t know the difference. And, I won’t have to deal with the leftovers.

They funny thing is that when we finished dinner, my husband said to me; “That was good turkey.” I guess it really doesn’t make a difference as long as we all eat together.

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Mothers and Ice-Skating

Posted by Mattie on Oct 10, 2010 in Womanhood

Today I took my kids ice-skating. Although, it is not my favourite thing to do. I do like to skate with my kids. They huff and puff all the while the skates are being put on. If only they were old enough to tie their own skates. But, I guess once they start tying their own skates, they probably won’t want to skate with me anymore. A Mother never wins.

Skating is a funny sport. Mostly because it isn’t easy the first few times kids try to learn. Since I grew up in Montreal and we skated at park in the winter the way kids play in parks in the summer. I feel kids miss out on a winter activity if they never learn to skate. So we skate, whether they like it or not. And, every once in a while I get a good chuckle every time they wipe out. Only when they are not looking, of course.

But they do like it. Once the actual skating begins. The cool air on their face, the wind in their hair. Except kids wear helmets these days, so they never really feel the wind in their hair. I am all for helmets, but the wind in your hair sure feels nice.

There is so much complaining before and after. I am too tired. Which of my friends is going to be there. They’re too tight. My hands are cold. I am bored. When can we go home? Can I have a treat? Hmmm….

Complaining drives me nuts. I know when I don’t respond they eventually shut up and accept their circumstances. But why, why do we have to go through this ritual over and over again.

When I was a kid, we skated at Beaver Lake, in Montreal. Our toes were frozen, our skates were either too small or too big. Nothing was perfect and we all were so happy to be out having fun. We never complained. My parents would never put up with the crap I put up with.

But then again, my parents never skated with us.  I guess I know deep down that one day, my kids will look back and hopefully appreciate all the friggen time I have spent with them.

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Mothers and Costco

Posted by Mattie on Oct 6, 2010 in Womanhood

I just got back from Costco and I think this is the best place on earth! It is amazing for a mother to shop here as everything I need is in this warehouse. Within an hour and a half I can have everything that I need for the month. And a kitchen sink!

What I love about Costco is the efficiency as well as the prices. I can have my photos developed while I shop for chicken and underwear. The parking is enormous so I don’t have to feel squished between cars. And there is always a spot no matter what time I get there. No pressure.

The only thing that bugs me about Costco is the actual shoppers. I never wear open toe shoes, as I am afraid some aggressive person who is short on time is going to decapitate my toes.  Then, I have all of the hungry people who want every free sample in the store and leave their buggies everywhere while they decide if they liked the sample so that they can get another. Move over or move along.

The cashiers are so fast that it is hard to tell if they have done anything wrong. Since everything is scanned, it would be my mistake, no theirs. I always try to budget under $300, but it is so hard when every item is at least $7-$12. Lucky we have an extra pantry and fridge/freezer to store everything.

I consider Costco to a surreal shopping marathon. It is physical work to load everything into your trunk and then into your house after spending a lot of money in a short period of time.

But once I get home I have everything I need, except for dinner.

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Mothers and Blogging

Posted by Mattie on Oct 4, 2010 in Womanhood

Some one asked me why I like blogging. Well, there really isn’t one reason. I like writing. I would have kept a journal except my handwriting is awful and keyboards are awesome. No more calluses on my middle finger.

I think it all started when I couldn’t stop talking to myself and my children got old enough to walk into my bedroom or the bathroom (I like talking to the mirror), and asked who was I talking to? And, as they got older, why was I talking to myself?

I told them that I was just thinking out loud. Sometimes it is easier to think that way, when so many things are going on at once. The truth is that I was starting to boil over and needed to release some of my stress.

Once my talks to myself started to calm me down, it allowed me to laugh at current situations, as well as myself. I realized that I am not alone in this boat. Why not share my experiences so that other mothers don’t feel so alone. And, maybe start to laugh at them selves, as well. None of us get it right all the time. Most of us need to just get through the day without losing our minds.

Survival and humor is the motivation behind this blog. Hopefully you will laugh at the madness that we all go through on a daily basis.

Here we go…a day in the life of a mummy gone mad.

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Mothers and Hangovers

Posted by Mattie on Oct 3, 2010 in Womanhood

I went out last night. I think I had three drinks but I don’t really remember past 3. I suspect that I had more to drink than I ever had. I remember having fun. I remember going to the bathroom and then I remember laying in my bed …what the fuck was I thinking?

Have I lost my mind? When I was younger, much younger having a hangover was funny. Who cared? I lied in bed all day Sunday and then went back to work Monday. So the cycle not only began but also continued. My only responsibility was too myself and so what if I slagged off.

The feeling of my head exploding over and over again is no longer amusing. I bet getting older has slowed my metabolism and not only do I not bounce back, I bet that I have gained 3 pounds.

Then there is that caffeine effect. The more I drink, the more I stay away, just as I want to sleep. So I have I feel everything from my stomach sucking the life out of me, my head exploding all the while I am spinning out of control in space. Sleeping off this madness would be nice, but those days of passing out are over. The punishment of getting older is that you have to be awake during your hangover, no free pass.

Lying in bed all day Sunday is not longer a possibility, as my kids need to come and say good morning at 7 am. And, they want to know what is for breakfast. Breakfast? I think that I am going to throw up!

All day long my kids wonder what is wrong with mummy? Is she sick? Do we have to take her to the hospital? They look very worried.

I don’t make it a habit to get drunk, but sometimes it is fun. Mothers work hard and they need a release. Unfortunately we have little eyes watching us and learning from us, so we have to be presentable most of the time.

I decided to tell my kids that this is what a hangover looks like. Sure everyone likes their wine, but too much will hurt you. And I, like any other person in the world has made a mistake and here I lie with the consequences.

So listen up kids. Have fun with moderation or pay the piper.

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Mothers and Velcro Shoes

Posted by Mattie on Oct 1, 2010 in Motherhood

The other day I went shopping with my kids to buy new shoes. School has started and they need new running shoes that fit. Buying shoes should be fun for ladies, but these kids are so picky.

After finalizing the agreement of going shopping, which entails cooperation and no candy what so ever, we were off with the understanding that shoes will be bought today.  Now that they are old enough, they should be able to get through a relatively short shopping experience without having to be bribed. Relatively short happens to be in their hands. I will make sure that the shoes fit, they have to agree upon the style.

Here we go…

I am a fan of not many cheap shoes and few good shoes, because they have growing feet and they have growing feet. After taking about 15 – 20 minutes to find a style that they liked, it now became impossible to find shoes for school age children with friggen laces! They have the fancy ones that look like they have laces, but they don’t tie up. There were more shoes (over size 12) with Velcro than with proper tie up laces.

Call me old fashion, but how are kids suppose to learn to tie their own laces if they don’t have any? How are kids supposed to be vibrant, when they can slip on their clothes without any effort like a senior citizen? How are kids going to take care of themselves and feel good about their personal achievements when they don’t know how to tie their shoelaces?

I can’t believe how ridiculously hard it was to find a good pair of shoes with proper laces.

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