JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

In a mother’s armoire

December 2nd, 2003 · No Comments

The other night, when we met some friends for supper, one commented on how Christmasy and cheery the girls and I looked, all wearing red. Sometimes I plan our outfits, like for trips to the photographer, but this was pure coincidence, the girls picking out their own clothes that morning. I appreciated the compliment, but I almost said, “Ah, we’re just already prepared for the salsa and tomato sauce tonight!”

We do have a lot of red in our laundry, but I think it speaks more of practicality than festivity. Red’s a great color for stains; good for spaghetti and pizza dinners, burgers and fries with ketchup, or playdates at the park. Good for a day long expedition away from home. Pastels, whites and yellow are pretty impractical, both for young children and their mothers. They don’t last long before becoming polka dotted with previous dinners. I love the durability of deeper tones, how they can survive bouts with Shout and stains.

For example, now whenever I acquire clothing for myself I have to consider how it will wash and wear, not just how it fits and flatters me. Hand wash only or laundromat specials don’t get taken home, unless I feel irrationally passionate about it – love is blind, after all. I have a couple pieces like this in my closet, a vibrant iris shirt, and a rayon flower print skirt, I felt I couldn’t live without, but mostly I buy stuff that can go in the washing machine. When I get dressed in the morning, I don’t just think about the weather, I think about whether I will be cooking spaghetti or chicken curry, digging in the garden, going to the park or caring for sick kids with runny noses and tummy troubles.

As a mom, I’ve made a few changes in my clothes. I used to wear many sweaters, but now I mostly use fleece to keep warm in the winters. Taking the sweaters to the laundromat got too costly for me with the time and money involved. Fleece is much easier – wash and wear again! – such a great invention for our generation of parenting! I wear plenty of pants now, probably more pants than I’d like to wear. I like skirts and dresses, but at the park on rainy Northwest afternoons, pants and tennis shoes seem so much more practical. Some skirts and dresses were not designed with young motherhood in mind. They stay there hanging in my closet waiting for a special occasion to come again, maybe a date to escape with Ted. Color has become more key. I like bright hues, like turquoise and magentas, but I keep away from whites and pastels; they aren’t my best colors anyway, and they attract stains. Red’s always a winner too and great at Christmas time as well!

I feel so far from the world of fashion. Going to the Gap the other day made this very clear to me. When an employee started chatting with me about the problems of panty lines, I realized how little I think about such dilemmas – I’m much more concerned about diapers. Glancing through the clothes line while I had a few moments in the store made me wish for other options. I would like to find some new skirts to wear, but neither a velvet mini nor a denim skirt with a inverted V cut into the front are options for me at this stage of life. I don’t look like a lump, and I don’t want to look like a lump – I’d still like to look a bit hip if I could. I’d love to know where I could buy clothes that function and fit well for a mother of three. Any ideas anyone?

Tags: Uncategorized