How to dress like (more than) a mother

How to dress like (more than) a mother

by marlies|dekkers

Is there a dress code for mothers? Ten years ago, I figured it out with my daughter’s help…

When my daughter Zilver turned 8, she sat me down to ask a question I had been dreading for years. “Mama, I need you to dress like a normal mom. Would you do that for me? Wear jeans, like the other mothers?” Wow, that was a big one for me. ‘Mom jeans’ may be all the rage right now, but a decade ago, they were the uniform for those who had sacrificed their dreams and ambitions for motherhood. Yes, I was a dedicated mother but I felt I was so much more than that! So, I kept chasing my dreams wearing distinctly non-mom items such as corsets, killer heels and micro mini skirts –or ‘belts’, as Zilver used to call them- turning the school yard into a catwalk. Until Zilver couldn’t stand it anymore.

What does a ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ mother look like exactly? I love that question, because it forces you to ask: what is a ‘typical’ mother? For nine months Zilver was part of my body, but as soon as I held her in my arms, I realized that my task as a mother was to give my daughter wings. Even if that meant she would fly away from me someday! I believe we are here with a purpose. I also believe that the key to our life’s purpose can be found in our talents. So, I raised Zilver using the exact same motto with which I design all my lingerie: dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be. And I never stopped dreaming and growing myself. After all, wasn’t that my duty as a ‘typical’ mother: to teach by example?

But here we were, 8 years later, looking for the perfect, non-offensive pair of jeans. I even hired a stylist to help me (left to my own devices, I probably would have shown up in some scandalous, deconstructed designer denim). When Zilver saw me in my new look –boring jeans, nondescript top- she beamed. “You can pass for a mother now!”, she shouted, and couldn’t stop kissing me. That eased my suffering a bit, but for a woman like me, whose looks are a means to express her individuality and creativity, this was pure torture. I didn’t even realize how effective my mom-disguise was till my own sister failed to recognize me from behind!

And then, after only 4 days of this, Zilver suddenly had enough. I was getting dressed in the morning, about to put on my dreaded ‘mom-jeans’ again, when she blurted out: “Stop, mama! I miss you, this just isn’t you. Please put on one of your corsets!” Now it was my turn to cover her with kisses! The thing is, I had been willing to do this for my daughter, even if it had taken years. Why? Zilver had always given me space to have my career and pursue my dreams. If she needed this from her mother, I trusted her judgement. But in the end, she found out she preferred me to be me: more than a mother, micro-miniskirts and all.

Happy Mother’s Day! Remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ mom (or a strict dress code for mothers, for that matter). Keep dreaming and growing; you owe it to yourself. Most of all, you owe it to your children!

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