The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


New Wardrobe

I went back to work when my oldest son was eight and my youngest three after eight years as a stay-at-home mom.

Returning to the workplace was scary but exciting, too, and I eagerly dusted off my favorite Jones of New York outfits and polished my classic black pumps that had been pushed to the back of my closet.

My children left good luck Mommy signs for me the morning I left the house to reclaim my place in the professional world.

What I discovered upon my return to an office near the California capitol in Sacramento where I was to write copy for a politics and public policy newsletter was that a lot had changed.

The computers were flatter and faster, e-mail replaced conversation even with people in the same room and most of the background information I needed to write a story waited for me on the Web.

What I also discovered was that my wardrobe was hopelessly out of date.

I don’t mean a little off. I mean the clothes I thought were classic and classy made me look ridiculous. My silk paisley skirt was way too long and the heels on my pumps too low. The shoulder pads in my blazer needed to be removed and my tucked-in blouse needed to be pulled out. As I studied the women around me I realized even my at-home wardrobe was unacceptable.

My best jeans that fit so comfortably constituted the greatest fashion sin of all, a straight-legged, high-waisted abomination so infamous it had a name: Mom Jeans.

It took weeks of watching the women who worked around me (many of them unmarried and many others without children) to figure out what changes I needed to make. That is, if, wearing fashionable clothes was my goal. I was constantly telling my children to disregard what others say, and do what they think is right. Shouldn’t I do the same? If I had been perfectly happy in my wardrobe a month earlier, why make what were sure to be expensive changes now?

Then it hit me. I write. I use words as language. But other things help us communicate, too – our tone of voice, facial expressions. Clothes are language too, I realized. I saw that in the quick judgments I made upon meeting contacts at my new job. I decided within a minute if they were modern or old fashioned, careful or sloppy, friendly or standoffish based on how they appeared to me. I wasn’t always right, but that didn’t change the fact that I made quick judgments all the same. Clothes, as much as our words, body language and voices, are parts of how we communicate.

Who was I then? What did I want my clothes to say about me?

I haven’t figured that out. Somedays, I go to work in tailored pants and jackets, others I wear loose skirts and long tops. Somedays, I look more like a reporter. Others I look more like a mom. But the process of exploring who I am has been an informative one.

And, if I’m to be honest, a lot of fun, too.

By Laura-Lynne Powell


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