I have lost my shopping mojo, and it’s all The Baby’s fault. It’s not for want of trying; you just have to look at my bank statement for proof of that. But I’ve racked up more shopping fails in the four and half months since The Baby was born than in the entire rest of my adult life.
I love clothes. I wouldn’t say I love fashion, but I know what I like, and I know what suits me. Or at least, I used to. I’m not, and never have been, a jeans and t-shirt person. No, I’m a dress girl, all year round. I wear them with tights, boots and a boyfriend cardi in the winter, and flip flops in summer. Easy.
After nine months of pregnancy, I was looking forward to getting back into normal clothes again. Some women look fantastic with a bump, but while I stayed (reasonably) trim, I never felt comfortable with my pregnant image, mainly because it was so different from my normal look. By the time my due date rolled around, I was thoroughly sick of living in jeans and stretchy tops, and couldn’t wait to wear something more feminine again.
Problem is, it turns out my usual style isn’t baby compatible. Let’s face it, breastfeeding in a dress isn’t easy, unless you want the whole world to see your knickers. So, ever since The Baby was born, I’ve been on a mission to find some nice clothes that provide easy boob access but also make me feel like the old me. I breastfed The Boy until he was 20 months old, and can imagine doing the same this time round, so I feel I deserve some pretty new things to tide me over until I can get back into my dresses. Even hubby has commented on me wearing the same few outfits, over and over again – and this from the man who is blind to fashion.
But can I find anything? Can I heck.
I decided, rather than giving in and joining the jeans brigade, that skirts would be the way to go. All well and good in theory, but it turns out that post-partum, my body is a completely different shape. I’m back to my pre-baby clothes size, but there’s a squishy roll of blubber where my waist used to be, and I’m constantly stressing about having a VMT (Visible Muffin Top). And finding tops to fit my ginormous (well, they feel it to me) breastfeeding boobs is no mean feat either – really, there’s a limit to how much cleavage one should expose on the school run.
To complicate matters further, The Baby doesn’t like shopping. She complains about being in the pram, and carrying her in a sling is not conducive to trying things on. Shopping has become a smash-and-grab raid where I race around frantically, trying to find something that looks like it will fit/suit before The Baby has a strop.
As a result, the shoe rack in my hall is now overflowing with carrier bags from my favourite stores, all full of garments waiting to be returned on the grounds that they make me look like a sack of spuds. Worse still, more often than not, I forget to return them within the required 28 days and so forfeit my refund. I might as well just burn money, really.
Fortunately (or not, as the case may be), I have no such difficulties shopping for The Baby. She looks beautiful in everything. But me? Well, I despair of ever looking nice again. Perhaps I should admit defeat right now, resign myself to living in jeans for the rest of my life and satisfy my lust for pretty things among the racks of baby clothes. Clearly, shopping for myself is a lost cause.
Then again, there’s always shoes…