so much more than a bad outfit

February 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm 8 comments

All the late nights without the thrill of smoky dance floors and flirting glances. All the sleepless nights without the glamour of intriguing conversations. All the up-all-night anyone could ever dream of, without the lazy sleep-til-noon luxuriousness. Instead it’s put the child to bed, stay up too late doing things like showering, working, watching movies, only to crawl into bed and struggle through several hours of nonstop toddler nursing, toddler sleeplessness, and toddler chatting.

It’s times like these when I find myself immensely grateful for my relationship with Nathan. Though still exciting, his love for me is not dependent on sexy glances thrown across the smoky dance floor, or being in the right after-hours spot, on the right night, saying the right thing, wearing the right outfit. Thank god. Especially about the outfit. Because sometimes? Sometimes I catch myself in an outfit like this:

That’s right. Dirty hair. No bra. And a heinous hot pink fleece blanket tied about my waist like a sarong.

I know my sister, while reading this, is quickly reaffirming any no-kids-for-me-EVER resolutions that sometimes float around her mind. It’s true Em, sometimes having kids means really, really, really, bad outfits. It starts at infancy. Echo cried whenever I put her down and I could really only stand one minute of crying. That meant one minute to pick an outfit and put it on. Which usually meant some pretty ugly ensembles, and even worse this one minute in the morning was my only shot, the day never allowed for any wardrobe changes. To make matters worse, engorged breasts meant huge wet stains on every shirt, every day.

I’m no longer in a wet t-shirt contest every day, but I still am not showering as often as might be fashionable. And though Echo affords me the opportunity to get dressed each morning, I still wear the same pair of jeans every day because, shopping with a toddler? Trying on several items while she crawls into the neighboring dressing rooms isn’t an event I seek out all the time. And, sometimes I end up swathed in an ugly hot pink blanket because I am sleep deprived, shuffling my way across cold winter floors, and not expecting company.

Often after surfing blogs I end up feeling startlingly inadequate. The photos show wonderfully designed living spaces, really cute outfits (on both kids and mom), and everything is clean, clean, clean. I wonder how they do it because I often assume (I’m sure incorrectly) that this is what their world looks like all the time. I’m not capable of that. Or maybe I’m not interested. Or maybe I am busy doing things that I’d rather be doing, including laying in bed at night talking with Echo instead of sleeping. (Because, I must remind myself, that’s a choice too. Crying it out while alone in a bedroom down the hall is theoretically a possibility.)

In any case, these choices lead to outfits like this.

Which brings me back to my relationship, because somehow, no matter what I have wrapped around me, Nathan is still attracted. And the circles I have under my eyes, because I nursed our daughter through a rough night, only make me more beautiful to him. He loves our girls like I do so any evidence of love giving is just the right look for his tastes. Phew.

And even if I am fully adorned in all the marks of full-on motherhood, I know he still sees something else as well. Though we have been in the past, and will be again, we aren’t dancing in the middle of a smoky dance floor, right now we stand on our worn kitchen floor, but he still sees the woman in me too and not just the mom. The feisty spirit and the irreverent intellectual. This allows me to wrap myself in heinous practical trappings, to dive headlong into the love of our daughters, because I don’t have to prove I am something else at the same time. He knows that already.

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outakes joe

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ivy  |  February 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    You are beautiful no matter what you wear Natalie!

    And if it’s any consolation, I don’t clean my house unless we’re having company or until I just can’t stand it any more.

  • 2. Joanna Smetanka  |  February 22, 2010 at 7:38 am

    heee heee haa haaaa haaa heh. that was hilarious. thank you so much. i actually had assumed that your house was probably always clean and artistically beautiful, even though I know you are always with your kids. it’s nice to know that other people who I’d admire are messy too šŸ™‚

  • 3. fillydesigns  |  February 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I don’t know what I want to say. I laughed a hearty out loud ha ha ha at the beginning. now my throat is pinched with tears. there goes the mascara. and yeah, i have a cute outfit on, but i would trade it (i think) for a broad back on one side and a little sweet smell on the other in bed at night. nat, it is so fun to talk to eachother through our blogs!

  • 4. kenya  |  February 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    It’s fun for me when you guys talk through your blogs. Also I don’t have any kids, but I have definitely worn my fare share of blankets sarongs around the house. Em, tell them.
    Long term relationship “fashion” is a real thing.

  • 5. kenya  |  February 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    fair share

  • 6. I.  |  February 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    oh how i enjoyed this post!
    thanks Nathalie!

  • 7. kris  |  February 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    i feel weepy and in love with your inloveness.

  • 8. Angela  |  February 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    so brave and beautiful! i smiled big (couldn’t laugh out loud, was nursing toddler to sleep šŸ™‚ as i read this post, and loved that i am not the only one with dirty hair, pulled back to conceal it, and i, too wear the same jeans every single day! thank you for your honesty, us mamas need this connection to know we are all in it together. and thanks to the papas who still love us despite it all and because of it all!


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