For years and years I wore the same ugly nightshirt. Even Hubby commented on its hideousness occasionally, but I explained very patiently that it was comfortable, which is certainly the most important quality in sleepwear. Year by year, the nightshirt stayed. When I think back, I’m pretty sure I got it in high school – it was that old, blue with tannish flowers and an awful neckline with strange embroidery. It was butt ugly, I couldn’t argue with him on that.
After I had Sam I really needed a nightshirt that could open up so that I could nurse him at night…let me rephrase that, so that I could nurse him all night long. I had seen a nightshirt in a maternity store that had slits on the front for just this purpose. In my extreme exhaustion I decided it would be a good idea to give my lovely nightshirt a little makeover. Scissors in hand I told Hubby what I was going to do, and he did not raise a finger to stop me. I know why. He saw me with those scissors and thought to himself, “This is it! This is the end of the Butt Ugly nightshirt I’ve had to look at for the past 4 years. Stay silent. Take no part in what is about to happen, because when this turns out horribly you don’t want to have been involved in any way.” Sometimes silence says more than words.
And so I cut my “nursing slits” in my beloved nightshirt. The result reminded both of us of Silence of The Lambs. You know the part where you get to see that dress hanging on the back of the closet door when it all becomes clear that the killer is following a dress pattern using the skin of the women? That’s what it looked like, with its symmetrical diamonds cut out of the front. What added more to this effect were my huge breastfeeding nummies protruding from these slits in their flesh colored nursing bra. It was all very…fleshy. It was gross. It gave whole new meaning to Butt Ugly. That was the end of my long loved nightshirt. I’ll always wonder how Hubby did not rejoice out loud in front of me, but he kept silent and made sure he wasn’t even the one to suggest that it might be time to let go.
The replacement nightshirt was equally unattractive. I knew now that I needed something that opened up so that Sam could nurse next to me, but finding a short sleeved snap up nightshirt is a lot harder than you’d think. It’s the whole short sleeved aspect. But any of you who have slept in the bed with your baby while nursing know that it is just a big sweat fest. Sam would leave sweat stains on the bed as he slept in my armpit, so dressing lightly was crucial. So the one and only shirt I found was yet another Butt Ugly blue number. More floral was involved, this time consisting of other shades of blue and red creeping up and down the front. It was so amazingly Granny-esque, but again, quite functional. And that’s what I’ve been wearing for I don’t know how many months. It’s been long enough that the whole thing started to stretch out, and lose all semblance of the shape it once had. It was not flattering. I was not attractive. But Hubby was smart enough this time to keep his yap shut, knowing I required a fully functional piece for getting through the night shift with Sam.
He let me wear Butt Ugly 2, “The Big Granny,” without saying a word. Perhaps he knew that I would one day discover on my own how truly unattractive the shirt was and perhaps have the motivation to change it. Yesterday I finally had that realization. I woke up in the morning and looked down at my stupid shirt AGAIN, and thought to myself, “Why the hell am I wearing this still? I don’t even use the snaps any more – I just lift the shirt for Sam. There is no shape to it, making me appear even larger than I already am. And most importantly I am not, in fact, 65 years old. I would never under any other circumstances buy this shirt. Had my mother held it up to show me in a store I totally would have rolled my eyes and probably made some sort of sound effect a la barf.” I started to wonder why I would make a choice to specifically be unattractive and not care. I started to think about other ways I do that each and every day. It’s as though I have given up in certain areas claiming exhaustion, stress, lack of time, and perhaps just being married as an excuse. I wear clothes sometimes that I have seen pictures of myself in and sworn I would never put them on again only to pick up those nasty shorts again the next day. I’m wearing them right now! Why?!
It was time for a change, and I encourage you to follow the following steps to make this change with me; I think you’ll feel better. This will not be a huge change. For example I was not going to give up my lame mom haircut or put on anything more than lipgloss because that is just not realistic. I can get myself better pajamas though. I can wear something to lounge around in during the evenings and mornings that actually fits and has a least a hint of cuteness (dare I say even sexiness) and does not insinuate that I feel ok about becoming a grandmother just yet. And that’s what I did. I took an hour for myself and went to Kohls – easy, inexpensive - to get some new jammies. And I love them. They do not involve lace or frills, nor would they ever be categorized in the negligee genre. They are simple. Very soft solid shirts that are actually my size in nice, flattering colors (the softness adds the sexy) and crop pants that also fit and compliment the shirts. These jammies are cute and comfy, who knew? It’s not like I went out and bought some sort of “let me slip into something more comfortable” nightie that only comes out for birthdays or something. These are functional yet not totally disgusting, and that’s all I’m saying here. Just a little bit of improvement can go a long way in how you feel. As moms, we spend a lot of time in our jammies, and when husbands work then much of the time they get to see us (mornings and evenings) we happen to be in our jammies, so it really is important that we not feel like hags during that time.
So I say to you, go forth. Go forth all of you mommies who have been schlepping around in that Butt Ugly of your own, whatever it may be. Go out for one hour to the nearest cheap department store and get yourself something nice that you will feel good about. I will only add the following rules to make sure that you really benefit from your excursion. And you MUST follow the rules.
1) You may not shop for your child. You may not even look. You may not enter the children’s clothing or toy section of the store. If you feel this will be difficult, you are not alone. I tried to get my cart past the little boy clothes but that thing had a mind of its own. I had to leave it behind and save myself. It might be a good idea to take an alternate route past those sections if you feel this could be an issue.
2) You must buy something you will actually wear. We all have those little nighties of various kinds that never come out of the drawer because they are not practical and are only for certain…special occasions, ahem. No, the point here is to find something that you will enjoy every day and night. So stick to whatever pajama style you happen to wear and then find something in that style.
3) It has to fit. You are not allowed to buy the next size up. This is not up for debate. Stop asking me! No! Listen to me, look at my eyes: IT HAS TO BE IN YOUR SIZE. You will feel better because you will be less bulky and it will still be comfortable if you have done a good job of finding the right thing. I promise.
4) The new item may not be in the same color scheme as your old bedtime attire. We need to do some pattern breaking here ladies. Try something new.
5) If, on your way out, you happen to pass the make-up section and it is calling to you, you must go there. We are working on feeling just a little better about ourselves and if you are a product junkie who has been deprived since becoming a mom and getting on a budget then it is high time you allow yourself a little somthin’ somthin’. Get yourself one thing that you will use every day. Again, not something that will go in a drawer and come out for special occasions. For me, it was some under-eye cream that is meant to get rid of the dark circles under my eyes (big shocker I would go for this, right?) using the “reflecting qualities of Micah.” Yeah, I don’t care. I wanted it and I like it. Go find one for yourself and use without guilt.
Trust me, when you tell your husband what you want to do at the store he will jump at the chance to watch the kiddies while you go. He’s been looking at that blue floral thing for God knows how long and his eyes are sore. This is just as much for him as it is you; he’ll make sure you get there. And seriously, there’d better not be a husband out there that would deny their wife one hour to rejuvenate.
Go forth. I wish you well.