for Finn, for me

A wee sweater set for the fourth baby boy of a dear old friend.

“When men want to dress as women, they want to be the sexy version, in lace.  Men never want to be a stay-at-home-mom still in her period underwear and nothing else at four p.m., nursing a baby and zombie-ing her way through the house, not picking up anything, crying in front of the dishwasher.” ~Christen Clifford, Women in Clothes

I was going to chose a more optimistic quote, but this is the one I read over again four or five times both chuckling and identifying with the emotion it evokes.  Though I truly don’t walk around the house in my underwear.  That’s kind of awkward with teenagers about.  Plus, it’s really bloody cold here.  If I were to describe my “look” at the moment, the way my style reads, I would say it downright screams, “my house is a mess, my life is a mess, I’m a mess”.  Yup, I think that pretty much sums it up.  It’s possible that I’m being a bit uncharitable with myself here.  It’s just I kind of, sort of, thought that there might be a point in my life where I was somewhat pulled together and I guess, deep down, in the back of my mind, I kind of, sort of, thought that would have happened by this point in my life?  Not so.

I remember attending one of Galen and Mairi’s shows last year.  I was really struck by the other mothers and how fashionable and well, finished they were…make-up, hair, outfit, the whole package.  Me? As I was running out the door I tried to grab the burp cloth with the least number of stains and I made an effort to smooth my hair down a bit in the car.

I don’t really have any desire to be fashionable.  For me the longing is for something else entirely.  I have this conversation with Steve often.  I’ll say how so-and-so always looks so nice.  And he’ll say that what they do to their nails is strange or that he doesn’t like their haircut or style of dress.  Most of the time I agree with him that their look isn’t my cup of tea, as it were.  That’s not what I envy them, it’s that they clearly took the time to consider who they were, how they wanted to be perceived by the world and acted on it.  My appearance says a lot about me as well, but it’s rather haphazard and generally not done with much, if any, intention.  I’m not really sure that’s what I want to be putting out into the world.  Like it or not, everyone has a style whether carefully cultivated or entirely accidental.  I think I would like mine to be more about who I want to be.


9 thoughts on “for Finn, for me

  1. Claudia

    As someone who follows your blog and has a keen interest in style, I found this post really interesting. Feeling good in your clothes and that they represent you has little to do with fashion but a lot to do with style. Your husband has a style, whether he wants to acknowledge that or not, as do you, although I sense that you’re ready to pull together some of the threads in your life to better encompass not only your values and lifestyle but your aesthetics. Style and fashion are often looked down upon, particularly because they’re seen as the purview of women. For me, the question behind deciding on what I want to wear is “Why?” Is it because it pleases Is it because I’m trying to impress someone? Is it because I feel it represents something about me (whether aspirational or actual)? You make beautiful items; you should celebrate that and treat yourself to that beauty – even if it comes with a stained burp cloth.

  2. Melody Post author

    Exactly. I think I have a rather strong and fairly well defined aesthetic sense, I just don’t often apply it to care of myself!

  3. Corina

    I have followed your blog for a while, and let me tell you, lady, you are gorgeous! No, you don’t paint your nails and put hairspray in your hair, but who wants all that toxic stuff on the body anyway?
    I’m someone who lives out in the wilderness, homesteading, dirt under the fingernails, covered with amniotic fluid when helping with birthing goat babies, mud on me from the pig pen… You get the picture. Let me just say there is no makeup involved here.
    Society tells us we need to look a certain way as women. F— it! No, thank you! I feel most beautiful when I’m true to who I am, and I think that we women radiate extreme beauty when we show up authentically in the world!

    So keep on doing what you are doing, beautiful lady!

  4. Melody Post author

    Thank you for the kind words! No, you are right, I have no interest in hairspray or nail polish! My entire life I’ve been in the habit of telling society exactly where it can stick it’s expectations of me. This is something different though. It’s more about self care, self respect?, self knowledge, self love? I think I put a lot of love and care out into the world. Which it not to say that I can’t be terribly self centered, because I’m sure at times I am. The times when I am thinking too much of myself tend to be from a negative perspective, I’m too tired, in pain, over-whelmed, hurting in some way- emotionally or physically. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend some time figuring out what I can wear that makes me feel wonderful? Frankly, this is a somewhat superficial manifestation of a deeper journey of self discovery that I seem to be in the thick of at the moment and I’m trying to honor where ever that takes me.

  5. christina gomez

    I am 41 and have been trying to find my style forever. I have 6 kids who are all out of elementary. I don’t love polished fingers eaither. I don’t use a to of makeup and prefer the natural look. Yes, I too can relate! You are beautiful the way you are.
    Ps. At the mall yesterday someone selling flat irons asked me if I wanted one. No. I was nice and said no thankyou. Her reply was did I ever use one. I told her I didn’t need to. (I have embraced my curly hair) lol

  6. Melissa

    As I enter my late 30s, I have found that I can really only devote so much time to any one thing before all the others fall apart. So if i’m spending a lot of time making sure my nails look good or my makeup looks good or I wear matching socks, that means that the dishes aren’t getting done or the kids’ clothes aren’t getting washed or the garden suffers or or or or….you get the idea. I honestly think that we will make time for what we think is important. I tend to think that reading books and cooking delicious food makes me happiest, so that’s what I spend my time on. No shame in that. And the reverse is true–if you want to start spending more time on yourself and your look, then that’s what you’ll spend some time on and will make you happiest.

  7. Carol Urban

    I think most of us feel this same way about ourselves, however, have you considered that those other mothers look at you and wonder how you manage to radiate beauty, warmth and graciousness while still homeschooling your children, tending to the household and nursing a baby in tow? I think your style would be considered romantic and comfortable. A casual beauty. I would wear a simple cotton or linen day dress every day if I didn’t have to muck around in a dog kennel. HA! :)

  8. Melody Post author

    Melissa- I know that ball dropping phenomena all too well! Though I don’t believe that people always do what is most important to us. Some times we do what is easiest or what is right in front of us, sometimes we don’t really try to discover what is important to us so that we can prioritize it. I don’t particularly want to spend more time on my appearance. I think what I need is to invest more thought into it, so that I can do the same sorts of things that I always do, but enjoy the results more.

  9. Melody Post author

    Carol- No, that thought has never occurred to me! But bless you for thinking of it yourself! No, I’m afraid in this particular scenario we are those weird people who send their *boy* to ballet class (surely that must be under duress! the poor child!), who no one really knows because we’re not on the local school’s PTA (but I think I heard they have something like 12 kids at home!), who people generally try not to make eye contact with (they’re probably in some sort of cult!). Especially when I’m nursing.

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