Postpartum Style

I have a new appreciation for what carrying around anywhere from 20 – 50 extra pounds does to your joints, your spirit and self esteem, not to mention your wardrobe.

What have I learned?

1. Thank god for Zara. I have a yellow jacket with a little stretch I bought mid-pregnancy that has shuttled me well through the last 4 months postpartum.

2. Spanx can be layered. I am bullet proof.

3. Ponte knit dresses and love to Tory Burch.

For more tips, try this new blog: Ain’t No Mom Jeans.

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Bucket List Revisited

- Go out to a movie with my husband
- Read a novel (that I already own)
- See Oprah in person
- Squeeze in a maternity portrait
- STOP TRAVELING
- Buy a Lazy Boy for the nursery
- Cleanout my closets and organize the basement
- Make my husband red velvet whoopee pies and wash the dishes at least once
- Transition Lucy to her big girl bed
- Nap with Lucy (even though I’ll feel beat to a pulp by the end)
- Prepare the nursery
- Sell our house
- Buy a new house

Remember this? I got it all in except the last two, which happened after the baby was born.

Now I need a new list!

Winston James

Here is his newborn picture… which was already three months ago. He is sweet and cuddly, and lights up like the sun when he sees us. I feel like the luckiest mom in the world.

Lucky Number Seven

I didn’t forget that our anniversary was coming up. But pregnancy brain convinced me that April had 31 days in it, and as a result, our anniversary was on Wednesday.

I’m glad my husband is good with dates. And mentioned it last night.

Love you!

A Wonderful Human Experience

With two weeks to go, I am finalizing plans for maternity leave coverage and saying goodbyes at work. I had my last meeting with my mentor for a while, and when I walked out, he said, “Have a wonderful human experience.”

People ask if I am ready. No I am not. I haven’t finished the baby’s room. I haven’t filled out the disability paperwork, I haven’t put together the list of calls to make when we go to the hospital, I haven’t even packed a bag. Oh, and we put our house on the market last Friday.

But a calm is settling in. Because when the baby decides to emerge from it’s home of nine months, things are going to get real simple.

It will be time to have a wonderful human experience.

Hatch Collection

{1} Hatch Errand Dress in Oatmeal and Olive Stripe, Yellow Zara Winged Collar Blazer, Pearls from Chico and J. Crew, Grey Patent Belt from Target, Yellow Steel Capped Shoes from Zara, Fendi Peekaboo Tote {2} J. Crew Bubble Necklace, Grey Patent Leather Pumps by Calvin Klein {3} Hatch Collection Button Down in Black Silk, Slit Pencil Skirt by Isabella Oliver, Booties by Randall Loeffler, Bracelets by JewelMint {4} Hatch Collection Afternoon Dress with the Coat, Tory Burch leather elbow gloves, Manolo Blahnik pumps {5} Date Night Dress by the Hatch Collection, Cardigan by Elie Tahari, J. Crew Necklace, Boots by Manolo Blahnik (second hand from Decades Two), Belly Button (mine) {6} Same {7} Dinner Party Dress by Hatch Collection, Dannijo Galapagos Necklace, Stud Pumps from Valentino {8} Navy Jacket by Vince, Navy Slingbacks by Manolo Blahnik

Photos by Small Wonders Photography.

The Review

The Hatch Collection is beautiful and meticulously well marketed. It looks great on the models, fun to wear and style. But, how does it do in a real test drive, on a 5’3″ pregnant attorney who spends most of her time in an office building?

The Afternoon dress is a no brainer for work, as is the black silk Button Down. I also knew, pregnant or not, I would wear the Coat almost every day in the Spring and Fall.

But, frankly, when I received the box of goodies, I was afraid the draping and length of dresses would swallow my frame. The short dresses looked great on Lauren from A Mommy in the City (and I am guessing she is not 5’9″). But the long dresses were an experiment, a curiosity.

From left to right: Soiree dress, Dinner Party dress, Airplane dress.

The biggest surprise, then, was my love of the Dinner Party and Airplane dress. (The Soiree dress, with it’s cool pointy bottom hem, is definitely for the taller ladies, and I immediately slated it for the return box.) My husband loved the red silk party dress, and in theory, I did too. The problem was, at my height, the handkerchief hem was voluminously disproportionate to the spaghetti strap top.

But I have a secret weapon. I have an amazing seamstress that might be able to fix it with a little re-design. So, biting my nails, I asked her to take several inches of fabric out along with side seam towards the bottom of the dress. (I also took fabric out of the Errand dress and the Airplane dress.) It worked! Since then, I have worn it to two different events this past month. I look forward to belting it post pregnancy, adding cardigans and jackets to dress it down, although I doubt I will ever try to wear it to the office.

The Airplane dress is also a weekend piece, and I wore it immediately on our trip to Austin with a studded belt. The fabric was soft, stretchy, and perfect for chasing the toddler through the airport. Since then, I have worn the Airplane out for city errands and out to the farm.

I have already gotten so much use out of the pieces that the cost per wearing is paying off. And I look forward to wearing them postpartum while I get back into shape. Last time, when I assumed I would miraculously snap back to my old, fitted clothes but didn’t, I was forced to go shopping and buy new things at my lowest point. I learned my lesson, and now I have pretty clothes waiting for me on the other side.

Stay tuned… for some fashion-y action shots I will be posting next week…

Guilt is Not the Point

The #workingmom feed on Twitter occasionally fills up – as it did yesterday – with tweets like, “Do you feel guilty being a working mom?” and “The stay at home versus working mom conundrum”. As an attention getter, they work. Women do feel guilty or this topic would not kick up a dust cloud so much and so often.

How about this, ladies and gentlemen: I don’t feel guilty about the fact that I work away from home. And it does not even occur to me to feel guilty until I read something like this.

I used to feel guilt about my job. And it was two men who helped me move past it. Last fall, I was complaining to my dad about traveling so much and made a joke that I might not see my toddler grow up. And my dad responded, “No one told you that professional success would come without sacrifice.”

Shortly after that, another man advised me that everyone – man or woman – has to decide for themselves what level they want to obtain and what sacrifice they are willing to make to obtain it. This, and the conversation with my father, gave me the courage to take personal responsibility for how I spend my time. Instead of adding to my guilt, I now feel gratitude.

But I have learned from social media and elsewhere that to be accepted, I am supposed to feel guilty about working and express it on a regular basis. Especially because I choose to work outside the home and it is not forced on me.

This particular brand of mommy guilt intrigues me. The guilt-ers realize they sound too harsh if they push their guilt on moms who have no choice but to work. But they imply judgment, if not outright call it, on women who do not not need to work or make too much money at work. If they work in a high paying profession, working long hours, they should probably figure out how to stay at home. But long hours on minimum wage? Work away. We’ll carve out a special exception for you.

Here is a quote from a post I read yesterday by Shannon Lell: “I worked because our family relied on my paycheck. I now believe this is the best reason to be a working Mom and if economics is your reason for working, then stop reading because you are doing the right thing. But if you find yourself having to make choices or feeling bad about your circumstances, this might help you to feel better about which shade of green your grass could be.”

Having to make choices? We all do. Every day. Even the stay at home mom has to make the choice between a shower and a crying baby.

And more importantly, why should “feeling bad about your circumstances” drive your decision whether to work outside the home? What about the importance of:

- doing something you are good at,
- adding value, or
- serving others?

Using guilt to prop up your decision is not true motherhood. It is not noble. It devalues the intelligence of other beings, men or women, to make their own decisions based on a number of more worthy factors than guilt.

If they do feel parental guilt, men don’t seem to feel the need to do wallow in it. They don’t speak with other men in hushed tones about the guilt they feel because they had to go to the office. They don’t apologize because they had to take a work trip. And they don’t fill up a twitter feed asking each other, “Do you feel guilty being a working dad?”

Maybe its time for women as a gender to take a play from the men. Stop worry about whether others have made a valid choice. Own your own choice. Focus on doing the best job you have, feel gratitude for being able to do what you do, and cut yourself a break when it is not perfect.

Because if you don’t have children already – but plan to one day – you will feel guilt when it comes to your children. If you punish them, if you coddle them, if you spend too much time with them, or take a weekend vacation away from them. Guilt is something all human beings feel.

But guilt is not the point. So many, many other things are.

Hatch Review Preview

Dressing for pregnancy is science meets art.  Just when you have a few go to pieces lined up, the physical landscape suddenly shifts.  On top of that, there are few maternity lines that make anything suitable for the office.

When I discovered Hatch Collection online, I was intrigued.  As I transition into my late 30′s, I like the sophisticated, demure approach to the baby bump.  I love the colors, the quality of the materials, and the fact that the clothes are made in New York.  The photographs are beautiful, and everything is on trend, in a fun Americanized French chic sort of way.

The collection as presented is not without pitfalls.  The clothes are casually styled, featuring moms (pregnant and not) adorned with beach hats and fringed hobos. It may be hard picture how to wear them in the office. And the models are so beautiful you may question whether the looks flatter the normal folks.

But I like a challenge.  So after over analyzing the whole thing (and running out of any other suitable alternatives), I finally claimed a stake in the collection and have been test driving for a few weeks.  I even did a serious photo shoot of my favorite, mostly office appropriate looks that is due to be published in a week.  

I won’t ruin the review, but I will provide you with preview shots taken – not on the steps of an amazing brownstone – but in my own backyard.  And yes, I need a tan and some hair color, but if the point is to determine if the chic-ness of the Hatch Collection can transition from a leggy, nerdy glass wearing city mom to a short suburban lawyer, you get to decide.

The long sleeve T in heather denim jersey by Hatch Collection
Navy pencil skirt by Isabella Oliver
Aram collar necklace by Dannijo
Studded nude pumps by Valentino

Bucket List – Second Time Around

I now have 28 days to go until baby #2. Here is my bucket list:

- Go out to a movie with my husband

- Read a novel (that I already own)

- See Oprah in person

- Squeeze in a maternity portrait

- STOP TRAVELING

- Buy a Lazy Boy for the nursery

- Cleanout my closets and organize the basement

- Make my husband red velvet whoopee pies and wash the dishes at least once

- Transition Lucy to her big girl bed

- Nap with Lucy (even though I’ll feel beat to a pulp by the end)

- Prepare the nursery

- Sell our house

- Buy a new house

 

Seems a little ambitious.  And yet it is about 20% of the list I had the first time.  Last time, with 30 days to go, we were in the middle of a major house remodel, and my husband was transitioning from his office on the weekdays to the farm on the weekends to help out his family.  So I cut back this year.