DIY Style

Sure, I’ve been known to occasionally walk my kids to the bus stop trying to pass my pajamas off as workout wear. “Yup, I’m totally on my way to the gym…” (after I go back to bed for an hour).

So, I’m not perfect. But come on, just because we’re moms doesn’t mean we have to lose our self-respect. Let’s save sweats and holey T-shirts for when we’re doing chores around the house. Let’s make sure to treat ourselves.

Do stuff with friends and significant others. Stop being a slave to motherhood. If you have Cheerios in your cleavage, haven’t had a shower in days and don’t know what day of the week it is, drop the kids off at the sitter’s house and give yourself some much needed time to reboot and get your groove back.

I have three kids. They are at more manageable ages now – I can take my eyes off them for a few hours or send the oldest to the grocery store for milk, but all this is very recent. Their baby and toddler years were so traumatic that I have mostly blocked them out, but some incidents are so potent that they could not be suppressed.

I will never forget the first time we made gingerbread houses as a family because my eldest child ate a handful of Red Hots and ran around the house until he threw up red dye No. 40 on the white carpet in the entry way.

My middle child would not take a bottle or nurse in any other position but with us both lying down facing each other and so I was forced to lay down on a sidewalk in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in Madrid and nurse her in front of passerby. My youngest child finger painted on the walls of his room with the contents of his diaper at 2 a.m. when he was a year old and had stitches five times with one ambulance ride before he turned three. And there was the time when they brought lice home from school and gave it to me. I didn’t find out I had it until I was at a fancy dinner with friends.

So I have been bogged down in the trenches covered in spit up walking around town Dora the Explorer stickers stuck to my rear. I am one of you.

Don’t misunderstand me, motherhood isn’t a complete drag. I actually quite enjoy it most of the time. My kids are really sweet and funny and helpful (except when they’re not). They are just entering the teenage phase of life and I’m scared silly.

But, I’m not going to let the fact that I am a busy, working mom be an excuse to let myself go. You shouldn’t either. Don’t know where to start? Keep reading.

How to get your groove back

Plan ahead: I know it’s hard, but you’re going to have to get up just a little bit earlier to have a little time to yourself and take some time before bed to plan out what you’re going to wear the next day.

Or better yet, check the weather forecast and plan out all your outfits for the week and hang them up in order so you don’t waste valuable time in the morning trying to pull something together when there’s breakfast to be made and Johnny can’t find a clean pair of socks.

Stay true to your style: What do you like? Make a style inspiration board by using a poster board and attaching pictures of clothing and accessories clipped from magazines, fabric, rhinestones, flowers – whatever inspires your inner-fashionista.

Or, make a Pinterest board and repin looks you love. If you can’t afford to buy the real deal, head over to TJ Maxx, Target or your local thrift store and copy that look for less.

Styling session and photo shoot: Get out your camera and play dress up. Put together outfits complete with jewelry and shoes and take pictures of yourself in them. Make an album on your computer, on Facebook (you can lock it so only you can see it), or go old school and print them out and put them in a binder so that you can choose outfits that you already know will go together.

This is so helpful for everyday outfit picking and even better for when you travel. Need help getting started? Take a dress and try paring it with different jackets and sweaters and tights and shoes. How many different outfits can you make starting with one dress? You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I promise.

Shop solo: Shopping with friends is so much fun, but their style and ideas of what looks good on you can distract you from what you really like and know looks good on your body. Buy by yourself, you won’t be sorry.

Workout: I don’t care what you do, but do something fun and active whether its roller derby, running, kick boxing, cycling, aerobics, soccer, jumping on the trampoline, hula hoop – whatever, just get out there and do it.

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, exercise has seven main benefits.

It controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves your mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, puts the spark back into your sex life and brings fun back into your life. Read the full article here,

Some of the benefits are no brainers, but the main point is that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of the little people in your life.

Reconnect with the people you love: Have a girls’ night out once a week if you can swing it, or least once a month. Or if you can’t do nights, start a group during the day.

I love my mahj jongg group. We meet once a week, stuff our faces, gossip and play a mean game of mahj jongg.

If washing the tiles is not your cup of tea, start a book club or a group with other people who have similar interests like photography, scrapbooking, knitting, cycling, hiking. The options are endless.

The important thing is to carve out some time and stick to it. This is a time for you to recharge your batteries and remember who you are when you’re not wearing your mom hat.

Make a standing date with your significant other. Rediscover what you love about each other.

Try new things and repeat old standbys. Have sex. It takes away stress and helps you sleep. It lets loose endorphins, nature’s happy pill and oxytocin, the hormone that creates feelings of affection and trust in your partner.

Reset your expectations: I’m still sporting a little kangaroo pouch from when I had my last baby, nine years ago.

I won’t be wearing my 90s crop tops anytime soon. I also can’t wear the 4-inch heels I used to run around in when I was 19. Those would get sucked right off my feet on the muddy soccer field where my kids practice.

What I can wear are outfits that flatter my curvier body, like dresses and skirts with ballet flats or sandals. That’s kind of my uniform.

It’s a little dressier than what most moms wear, but it works for me. When I know I’ve taken care of myself, I feel confident, get more done and am kinder to my family.

A mom who feels good about herself is a beautiful thing.

Go on, you can do it! I believe in you. Happy Mothers’ Day, ladies!

About me

I’m just a thrifty girl with a keen eye for beauty and fashion. Just ask my friends (and their teenage daughters). They frequently ask to borrow my clothes, teach them how to apply makeup and to advise them on what to wear for special occasions.

More importantly, they ask me how to stay current and fashionable in this economy without breaking the bank. I’m all about finding personal style and accentuating natural assets.

Don’t know what goes best with that little black dress? Want to give yourself a facial for mere pennies? Care to score some clothes for free? Your gorgeousness guru is here to help!