[Confessions of a Frumpy Mum]

“Do I look ridiculous in this, babe?” I ask my husband as I stand in front of the mirror, unsure of my ensemble for the day.

I brace myself. He is known for his brutal honesty on things like this.

“Babe,” he says. “You look like you stole that top from a person who is no longer alive to walk this earth.”

I cringe, but giggle at the same time. He never minces his words.
It’s a pussy bow top, burgundy, and one of many things my husband despises in my wardrobe. It is vintage inspired and he hates vintage, or at least he hates it on me. It is however one of my favourite blouses, which would explain why I am still trying to wear it even though I was 6 months pregnant when I first bought it. At the time, its soft, voluminous fabric catered well for my bulging belly, but these days maybe it really does make me look as if I might’ve borrowed my obese, deceased gran’s blouse.

There are many items in my wardrobe either left over from pregnancy or which I’m still clinging to about a decade after first buying them. I have a real problem with letting go of stuff (which is just a polite way of saying I am a massive hoarder). There’ve been several purges of my mostly-boring-black-and-gloomy-grey wardrobe during my 2.5 year gig as a mum, but it’s still full of some hugely questionable items.

Once I walked into Baby City to buy diapers, and a girl I was at school with years ago, who is now a manager there, asked me excitedly when I was due. I. Died. Inwardly. My son was already about 6 months old at the time!! I got back to my office, relayed the story to my colleagues and they gently advised me to bin the dress I had on that day. It wasn’t a maternity dress, and I’d had it for about 2 years before I fell preggers, but it had a cute, accommodating cowl feature on the belly that had been so stretched by my preggie body that it really did make me look as if I was still with child, even though I’d lost my preggie weight.
(I still haven’t disposed of the dress, by the way.)

Thankfully I didn’t really go through the “permanently in yoga pants” phase of early motherhood, because I have a glamorous mother who was constantly behind me after Ryder’s birth,  nagging encouraging me to “look pretty for when your husband gets home” (And yes, I threw up a little in my own mouth each time).

Since then it’s been a slow but steady decline into Frumpdom. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have the same disposable income that I had pre-baby. Shopping is an expensive exercise that often gets pushed aside in favour of stuff the kiddo needs. I’ve never been one to enjoy spending a lot on clothes. I’m all about the cheapie stores, factory shopping and online sales. Unless it’s a wedding or something. Then I like to push the boat out a little.

Heels these days are reserved for special nights out, and those are already few and far between. I tried on a stunning pair of skyscrapers a few months ago while out shopping with The Hubster, and as I teetered unsteadily, his response was: “Babe, you’re walking like a newborn calf in those things. Put them back. Now.” 

And so I resolved to stick to comfy pumps and sandals for my day-to-day slog. Anyway, heels tend to worry my leftover C-section tenderness and post-spinal block backache, especially when it’s cold. (Yes, I’d love some cheese with my whine, thanks).

As for hair? Don’t go there. I last “did” mine (which – for non Coloured sisters – translates as “painful chemical processing otherwise known as applying relaxer and/or colour”) about six months ago. When those Durban summer storms hit, you best believe I’m about to morph into Don King. But on the whole it’s a lot healthier. I’m past the point of promising that I’ll get it done soon. Now I just fib and say I’m going natural by choice.

And then there are the eyebrows, which I’ve never been great about seeing to. They’re bushy and patchy and just generally unkempt. So they match perfectly with my often spiky legs that are on most occasions only compatible with wearing pants.

Ah, but at least I still make time for my nails and my lashes. Even though they sit awkwardly alongside the remaining hot mess appearance on most days.

Anyway, the point of this rambling confession is that I’ve finally resolved to make a few small changes here and there in an effort to fight the dreaded mummy frump that I fear has already engulfed me.

In no particular order…

#1: Prep in advance. At the ripe old age of almost 35, I’ve finally learnt to take out tomorrow’s clothes the night before. That way I don’t grab the first thing that doesn’t need ironing in the morning.

#2: Do a closet purge, regularly. I’ve been doing this often, and there’s not much left. But anything dodgy that doesn’t fit, or hasn’t been worn in the last year or two needs to go. (No matter how much I believe that my matric ball dress might actually be back in fashion one day.)

#3: No more buying stuff just because it’s on sale. If it doesn’t fit well and won’t last more than 3 wears, I will draw on all the willpower I can possibly muster up to step away from the impressive price tag.

#4: Invest in good quality pieces. I am seriously lacking in this department. I’m also lacking the funds to action this one, but whatever.

#5: Make a list of essentials you don’t have and only buy those. I am working on my list. So far it’s a realllly long list.

#6: Accessorise. This holiday I invested in a few up-to-date accessories and statement pieces to try modernise my look a wee bit. Sometimes it works. Other times, well….

#7: Wear more colour. For years I opted for corporate “safe” colours like black and grey because I wanted to be taken seriously in the work environment. I desperately need more colour in my life!

#8: I need to stop putting on make-up while driving to meetings!

#9: Pack away the preggie clothes and nursing bras. Even if it’s not a strictly maternity item, I have no business trying to extend its shelf life. I’ll save it for hypothetical baby #2.

#10: Don’t always listen to The Hubster. His honesty is great at times, but he’s a dude. And if he had his way, I’d be in skimpy, short clothing every day.

#11: Stay true to myself. I’m mature enough to know that, at a stocky 1.47 m high, I cannot possibly try to follow all the trends worn by every gorgeous blogger I see.

The above are the simple, small steps I’m personally taking to avoid becoming one of those females you know you all look at and think “oh shame, she’s really let herself go after kids, hey!”

Any other advice for me to dump the frump? How do you do it? Share your wisdom please!


4 thoughts on “[Confessions of a Frumpy Mum]

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