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Monday, November 8, 2010

Fashion, Guilt, and Self Worth

Fact 1: I feel guilty spending money on myself. Really, I do. I have no problem dropping money (as frugally as possible) so that my husband and children can look well dressed. But I have a terrible time buying clothing for myself. In fact, such a terrible time, that I skimp and buy them at Walmart. Thing is… Walmart clothes just don’t live up to the life of a mom of four. I bought some t shirts there this summer and within a month, they were stretched out and worn. I had to label them as “to only be worn at home with the blinds closed” shirts. I’ve read great things about mothers finding great styles at thrift stores for basically pennies, but when you’re not the average size 8, well you just can’t walk into a thrift store and expect to find fantastic pants.

So, not willing to spend more money on junk, I pretty much spent none at all... leaving me in worn out, misfitting clothing. My sandals are worn to shreds and my brown clogs are cracked on the bottom, letting in all the wetness of a rainy or snowy day. But why? Why do I dress my family well, but neglect myself? Maybe because buying new clothes and shoes for myself is fun. I like having new things. So if it’s fun than it must be far too indulgent. I don’t know. Or maybe because good women’s clothing is far more expensive than children’s (purchased frugally off clearance racks, etc.). I really don’t know why I feel so guilty about it, but it feels like a sin to buy clothes I feel good in.

Fact 2: I’m fat. No really, I am. I’m not talking down to myself, just being honest. I’ve got at least a good 50 pounds to lose, and a lot of it is right there in the gut and backside. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find clothes that look good on you when your “waist- up” is 3 sizes smaller than your gut/hips/rear? I want to look good and feel good in my clothes. This means hours of trying on over 20 outfits before something finally works. It’s exhausting and defeating. Makes me feel like the Goodyear blimp.

Fact 3: Neglecting my appearance ALWAYS hurts myself and my family. It makes me feel like a tired, grumpy mom who doesn’t give a care in the world about anyone or anything. And this grumpy, frumpy feeling spurs me on to laziness and comfort food. This, of course, does not assist me in my weight loss goals.

Neglecting my appearance causes me to compare myself with other women around me and despise those that have better clothes and a “better body”. It does not represent my husband well. It does not help me be a happy mommy. And it does not motivate me to be diligent in the work God has given me.

Conclusion: I cannot neglect my appearance. It is detrimental to my health and the health of my family. I just wish it were free.

(All of this is an effort to quiet the guilty voices in my head for spending all my birthday money on myself today.)


  1. awww. I wish I could help! If I had time on Saturday, I would go with you to a bunch of stores, help you find cute stuff that fits and make you toss/replace all your stuff that isn't worth keeping.


    But yes, please care for yourself. You are beautiful (even with weight to lose). Play up your good features, work with what you've got and seriously? Pray for God to provide you with great fitting clothes at a good price.

    He cares even about that, you know?

  2. I can totally relate with you here, Brenda. What is really frustrating is that I'm having trouble motivating myself to DO something about it. It should be easy, right? Consume less calories than I burn? Why is it so hard?

    I need a plan that is not complicated and I need someone who is going to be hard on me when I don't stick with it.

  3. PS: I'm glad you spent your birthday money on something you wanted!!

  4. Hey lovely--

    I'm know that I don't have kids to buy for right now, so I don't have THAT distraction. But I feel you on the "dressing two different sizes of body" thing. My upper body is waaaaaay smaller than my lower. So. Things that I have found that work and still look fantastic:
    - knit wrap style dresses. These can fit in the upper body and still have room for GIANT BACKSIDE.
    - skinny jeans/flats/tunic top. I add a cardi for warmth and to make things more fitted.

    I can't wait to see what you got!

  5. Ah, Jo. I wish you were going to be in Fort Wayne for a week, not a day. :P

    I know, Janel. Seriously, once I get started, I'm fine. If I can have two to three good days in a row, I'm set to go. I can maitain a fewer calories diet. But if anything throws in a wrench, I'm back to square one. Why is it so hard to get started?

    Laura, I'm not sure about the knit dress thing. My gut is far, far from flat. I won't gross you out with details, but I'm thinkin' it would all be visible in a knit wrap?? But maybe I should give it a try sometime. I'm not 100% sold on long tunic/skinny pants thing. I'm afraid I would look like I walked out of the 80's/early 90's... but then, I'm really not fashion smart AT ALL. I need to take a class on "how to dress the body you have" I think. You should just come teach me. :P

    I'll try to post pics later.

  6. I love your candor Brenda.

    And it might be worth hunting around to find a really great thrift shop. I drive 40 minutes to the great one here. But they always have a wide variety of sizes and nice brands.

    Oh, and these are miracle workers and worth every penny for less than perfect bodies under dresses or knit things:

  7. Yeah! I'm glad you spent that money on yourself. I'm convinced that looking good (not being fashionistas, but just looking good) does wonders for us as moms. It truly is mostly about our attitude...but also think of growing up and the ways you perceived other moms. Weren't there moms you thought of as dumpy and moms you thought were nice looking? We want our kids to be proud of us, especially when they hit the teen years.

  8. To add to that, I don't think we've got to dress expensively or even nice all the time. But to be able to go out in public and not be the mom the clerk feels sorry for because she looks so bad is important. Otherwise we start feeling like, well, moms! I'm with you on the guilt over spending money though. Daniel just made me buy some new clothes, and it was a hard pill to swallow. That's what my comment stems out of, I think...

  9. Thanks, Beans. I'll have to consider that.

    Yes, Julia. That's true. I hadn't thought of the "kids being proud to call me Mom" thing. Hmmmm... Stimulates several thoughts.