When a woman becomes a mother, she is expected to give all of her being to raising her child.
Anything else, especially if it concerns her appearance or sexuality, is cast aside. Chicago-based therapist, Elena Vassallo Crossman, told NY Magazine, ” We live in a culture that’s very comfortable with women as mothers, and any role beyond that, no way. And that’s because what comes next, the next stage, the stage where a woman is for herself and not giving everything away, not seeking her partner, not giving everything to her children — I think it has the potential to be the most generative, creative stage in terms of a woman’s energy. She emerges from that dependence on relationships when everyone was looking at her for her utility. It has the potential to be the most powerful stage, and so a culture that disempowers women has to disavow it. This is why middle-aged or old women are witches and crones in fairy tales. It’s why they’re ugly. And if they’re not ugly, they’re dark. We have to make that power dark.”
If you’re disturbed by what you just read, good. You should be.
To me it sounds like dressing like a mother means we’re supposed to just give up and succumb to the exhaustion and the all-consuming needs of raising a child. It sounds like we should be walking around in yoga pants and flip flops (gross) with no makeup on and my hair in a frumpy ponytail (double gross) or face some sort of warped, mommy version of slut-shaming because some of us prefer to continue to dress the exact same way we did prior to having a kid.
I understand that some women did actually make the choice to start dressing “like a mother” because they no longer feel any desire to put in the effort to get dressed up and wear a full face of makeup. Great. The rest of us enjoy getting glammed up and feeling sexy. And I’m not talking about that effortless style that so many mommy blogs talk about. For some of us, that’s just as bad as giving up.