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  • Writer's pictureMaia Dunphy

The M Word: Dressing Like a Mother

Baby clothes are cute, no matter what colour, size or style. Not so Mum clothes apparently. But what even ARE Mum clothes? I thought I just wore clothes, full stop. But it would seem not. I bumped into an old neighbor during the week, and admittedly, I was running to the shops on a non-work day so was dressed down (ie ‘one up from dressing gown’), but the second thing she said after “hello” was “ah you’re dressing like a Mum now!”

Sorry, WHAT?

I was caught off-guard. I glanced down to check myself; I was wearing jeans (which I have had for years) and a sweatshirt (ditto). Ok, so I was modelling a trainers and sock combo that was erring on the side of Forrest Gump, but still. The clothes I was wearing pre-dated my baby, so WHAT GAVE ME AWAY?!

Ok, so there was a small stain on the sweatshirt (a massive stain), the jeans were starting to go baggy at the knees (from all the kneeling and picking up of stuff and small people), but still. Was “dressing like a Mum” even the insult I was taking it as? Maybe I just looked more relaxed, more grown up, more comfortable in my own skin.

Who was I kidding, this was not meant as a compliment.

And then I did a very odd thing. Instead of finishing the brief conversation and heading off on my merry way, I said (a little too loudly) “But I’m wearing really amazing underwear”.

She looked nonplussed. The elderly lady in front of us in the queue looked horrified. And the man working at the till (who also heard as I spoke so loudly), raised an eyebrow.

In reality, I was wearing mis-matching, slightly faded underwear that I had grabbed in a hurry, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I EVEN SAID THAT.

She was stumped, smiled at me and mumbled “that’snicewellI’dbetterbeoffseeyounowmindhowyougo” and couldn’t get away fast enough.

There are times when I can think on my feet, blurt out a comeback worthy of a sitcom, but unfortunately this was not one of those times. As I walked home (slowly, so as not to pass the horrified elderly lady who was walking the same way), I wondered why I had been so bothered about the comment? What is dressing like a Mum and why is it a bad thing? It’s as if somehow the horrendous style-vacuum that is maternity wear creates a divide between the old you and the mum-you and no matter what you wear after it, you are doomed to forever dress “like a mum” in some people’s eyes. If she had seen me without my baby in tow, would she have said that? It’s not as if I ever dressed like Liz Hurley at an Elton John party to go to the shops.

Well I say we reclaim it. I consider myself lucky to be the same size I was pre-baby, so the only difference between my old style and my post-baby style is a few occasional stains and slightly more cumbersome accessories (try fitting a change of nappy into a clutch bag).

Possibly I need to sort out the stains. Or start googling photos of Liz Hurley.

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