It’s a term that gets bandied around a lot these days doesn’t it? Women pushing against the ‘frumpy mummy’ stigma and trying to remain cool and fashionable, with little ones in tow.
Personally, I don’t feel as though I’ve ever been particularly ‘fashionable’ — even when I was in my teens and twenties. I like fashion and I love clothes but being a slave to the high-street — or cutting edge trends — has never really been high up on my list of priorities.
But one of the things I do notice about my style since I had the boys, is that there seemed to be a list of things that suddenly became off-limits.
Quick View of What You'll Find on This Page
I stopped wearing very pale colours.
I had my colours done a few years ago and weirdly white was on my list of shades never to wear — but suddenly other pale colours like cream, ivory and stone also got shelved when I had the twins.
Long necklaces too, because they always got tugged by tiny, grabbing hands.
Anything in a lacy or delicate fabric that could pull — or damage easily — also got put to one side.
I didn’t wear too many clothes that needed dry cleaning either; why would you when they’d more than likely get splattered with baby sick?
Or more recently daubed with sticky or painty fingers.
Bags suddenly became very practical.
Gone were the clutches and sweet and petite arm candy that I used to carry around. These were replaced by gigantic and practical baby changing bags.
And finally, statement sleeves. They were a definite no-no.
The mere thought of a frilly sleeve getting caught up in any kind of nappy changing paraphernalia — or dangling in baked-bean sauce as I stacked the dishwasher — was enough to make me recoil and put a self-enforced ban on an exaggerated cuff.
So these days, when I am child-free for a few hours, my standard ‘mum style’ changes, to include more of the things that I’ve put to one side over the last few years.
My Mum Style
On our holiday to Cornwall last month and I had a lovely afternoon — sans children — noodling round the shops and indulging in a spot of people-watching, in a café, wearing practically everything that I’ve avoided since I became a mama.
Mum Style Revisited
I wore the most gorgeous lace blouse — inky blue broderie anglaise with the longest, laciest, frilliest statement sleeves I could find — topped off with a denim jacket.
And not an everyday blue denim either — oh no — this girl about town chose to wear the palest stone jacket; safe in the knowledge that no sticky fingers would be leaving jammy prints all over it.
I also wore the most beautiful long and delicate necklace.
A length of fine silver links, beads and charms. So pretty and the kind of thing I’ve avoided over the last few years (due to fear of strangulation). These days, the twins are less likely to garrotte me with my necklaces but are still very keen to touch and play with them. This has resulted in lots of breakages and some tears.
And finally, I ditched the changing bag in favour of something a little less utilitarian.
And this was perhaps my favourite exchange. No baby-wipes, odd socks or boxes of raisins.
A bag that contained nothing more than my phone, purse, lippy and sunglasses.
And what a bag. Bamboo handles and a daisy cutwork design that echoed the lace on my gloriously impractical sleeves.
A Sense of Self
I love being a mum. I waited for such a long time for it to happen and I cherish every day I wake up to my two tousle-haired little sons.
But I also love being me.
Being able to regain my sense of self — and my sense of style — even for just an afternoon felt very good indeed. It’s amazing how differently certain items of clothing — or accessories — can make you feel.
The addition of a dainty necklace or a lacy top works wonders for the soul.
As does a hot, uninterrupted cup of coffee and giant slab of chocolate cake.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.