General Health

The Truth About Dressing Like a Mum (and Why it’s Total Bullsh*t)

I don’t want to dress like a mum!

Not so long ago, after giving birth to my second child, I found myself staring into the mirror before heading out to begin another day of responsible parenting.

My first thought was not whether I felt comfortable or whether I was wearing something suitable for the day ahead, it was…

“My god… I’m dressed like a mum”.

I immediately changed into something else because… well, despite the fact that I am one, I don’t want to look like a mum! I didn’t want to fit THAT stereotype. The one that means you’ve let yourself go as a result of bearing children and having other things to worry about besides your appearance.

Real mums don’t wear lipstick?

I decided to explore this idea of dressing like a mum and found that you are pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don’t. What I mean is this. If you look dishevelled, you are labelled as “dressing like a mum” and the world judges you for it. Ladies, you know how this works. The one day you decide to wear no lipstick and your worn-out pregnancy tights for that quick dash to the corner shop for milk, is the day you’ll run into everyone you know.

On the other hand, whatever you do… do not attempt to NOT dress like a mum! For sure, some people will tell you that you look amazing, but the critics will say you look too sexy (especially if you are a single mum). Mum life, it isn’t easy – especially when it comes with an undecipherable dress code!

So what does this mean? How are you supposed to step out of the house and not feel like you are being judged by the panel of Project Runway?

Well here is the good news.

Dressing like a mum is bullshit

glamorpus mum

In those first few months after giving birth we tend to wear things like stretchy pants and tights paired with loose shirts as our bodies recover from pregnancy. Also, breastfeeding doesn’t allow for a massive choice of wardrobe. So maybe that is the time when dressing like a mum does exist.

Otherwise, there is no such thing as dressing like a mum. It’s a common misconception that even I fell prey to. Mothers are somehow expected to look like crap (to put it bluntly) because we’re conditioned to believe that caring about our looks comes second to caring for our children.

You know what I realised afterwards, looking in the mirror, horrified that I looked like a mother? I looked exhausted.

Mumma exhaustion is very real

dressing like a mum
Image source: Flickr/ Tina Franklin

Looking like a mum had nothing to do with my clothes. It’s more to do with the fact that there’s bags under my eyes and no matter how much makeup I put on, I still look like I’ve just rolled out of bed.

There is no such thing as dressing like a mum because we all have different taste in fashion. I’m not ready to stop wearing my somewhere in between a rock chick and surfie girl attire. I don’t think that has anything to do with whether I have pushed two children out or not.

If you want to take care of your appearance and wear designer labels and have your hair straightened each day, that’s awesome! I envy you! You shouldn’t cop criticism about whether that fits someone else’s idea of what a mum should look like.

Rock that mum bun

Having a day where you look dishevelled and choose to wear your daggiest clothes does not mean you are dressing like a mother. I know plenty of people without children who have days when they really can’t be bothered dressing up and impressing anyone.

Of course there will always be THAT group of judgemental human beings who want to have their say on your clothes in relation to you being a parent… but screw them. You don’t need someone telling you how to dress. It’s a free country!

Dress however you feel comfortable. If that means rocking a mum bun and some elastic-waisted pants, do it. If it means skinny jeans and stilettos, yay you. Because the only thing that you can wear that means you’re dressing like a mum are your childrens’ arms around your neck.

Now pull on your comfiest pants and come read this article about how to survive motherhood in five easy steps.


Avatar of Nicki Newton Plater

When she isn't chasing after or car-dancing with her four year old son and one year old daughter, Nicki is a writer who has written for various websites and runs her own site specialising in film, Movie Critical. She loves Disney more than her children, was probably married to Charlie Chaplin in a past life and probably needs a coffee right now.

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