Not a day goes by that I don’t get a “What are you wearing?” from one or both of my girls. Truth be told, I have two modes, work mode, and workout mode. The in-between mode, you know what I’m talking about, moms, I have to look nice, but not like I tried too hard mode is really difficult for me to muster.
I am most comfortable in workout mode — gym clothes and a baseball hat with no makeup. Yet, for work, I have to dress professionally — usually a dress or suit and heels with plenty of makeup. I have honed my television exterior persona for so many years (decades, but who is counting) that I somehow have also made peace with this look. But everything in between makes me feel a little awkward, a little frumpy, and way uncool, like someone’s mom trying to dress like a teenager.
In reality, I get most of my teenager’s hand-me-downs, so I really am dressing like a teenager. I get the clothes not because she has grown out of them, but because she has grown less fond of them. Not wanting to spend money on casual clothes for myself, I am more than happy to inherit her skinny jeans and overpriced bohemian tops. Yet, even though they come from her, she still asks me what I’m wearing when I walk into her room for her approval.
“Hey there,” I say sheepishly, ducking my head into my teenager’s room. “Which shoes would you wear with this?”
“Neither, I wouldn’t wear that outfit at all,” she says barely glancing up from her computer, which is undoubtedly playing a Netflix show.
I then head to the 12-year-old’s room hoping for a higher approval rating.
“Um, well, I think maybe the higher shoes. But maybe not with those pants, and maybe you need a different shirt and necklace too,” she says, trying to be diplomatic.
Dejected, I head back to my room and stare at my closet with styles that span at least two decades. Let’s face it, no matter how cool we think we are when we look in the mirror, our kids are more than happy to shoot that image down. I know I’m not 16 anymore when I look in the mirror, but when I close my eyes, I can be transported to that moment in time in mere seconds. It’s not what you wear, or how you look to other people that makes you young at heart. It’s how you feel inside.
“You look pretty good for a mother,” my youngest said to me recently.
I’ll take it …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.