Please, look at my daughter, not me 5

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity for fashion. OK, OK…more than an affinity, an obsession. Sometimes I’m proud of my calculated purchases. Other times I’m mortified by the amount I spent on a passing, fleeting fad. But there’s something magical that happens when the right jacket comes together with the perfect pair of shoes. Oh, and don’t forget about the hats.

But what has become so surprising to me this year is that I have dished out next to nothing on new fashion items for myself. I’ve spent the majority of the past two seasons in some combination of leggings and soft T-shirts (but with fabulous shoes, of course). The culprit? Pregnancy: nine months of strutting my stuff in oversized cotton geared more toward comfort than creativity, all for a good cause.

Then this March, my little nugget was born. And I mean little: four pounds, eleven ounces little. And I learned there are way more important purchases than jackets, dresses and shoes. Those critical spends? Yup, you guessed it: baby jackets, baby dresses and baby shoes.

Did you know that preemie clothes are nearly impossible to find? Because they are. The first month, until she began to chunk up, my daughter lived in a mish-mash of whatever doll-clothes-sized onesies that I could find. But as the smiles came, so did the sundresses. With the giggles, I got her jumpers. I started following Instagram babies and moms who positioned their family into unrealistic yet glamorously staged daily photo shoots. Over the past four months I have been indoctrinated into the faith of the fashion-mom, and I have never cared less about the things I am wearing.

“Please, look at my daughter, not me,” I would say to myself when in line at Kroger. “Oh, that? Yes, that is dried spit up. Does that not go with my outfit today?” It’s funny how, as a mom, you can go from pinning dozens of new hairstyles you want to try in the middle of the night on Pinterest to just being grateful to have the time to simply wash your hair.

Then, it happened. We were invited to an event, a wedding. A real, formal affair with an excuse to pump some extra milk, get a babysitter and buy something for myself that wouldn’t be thrown up on. I wouldn’t have the two-hour marathon of hair-curling, makeup-blotting bliss that I remembered so fondly. but I had 40 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time to pluck those eyebrows, pull out the Spanx and don a fresh coat of lipstick. When I was done, I looked at my creation in the mirror, and there I was — not the mom, wife, workaholic or sleep-deprived dreamer — the real me. My husband stared at me with that extra-proud look on his face, and his eyes nearly twinkled when I smiled.

Whether it’s silly or not, how we dress can transform us into who we want to be, and make us feel things we want to forget or remember. Sure, you can say fashion might just be some silly bits of fabric. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t hold a candle to the joy of any life moment you’ve had. But, you probably remember what you were wearing when that moment occurred.

It doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the me I forgot about when started putting my daughter before myself. And she still comes first, and second and third. But now at least I’m registering on my own Pinterest board. In fact I’m getting jumpers with my giggles, too. And don’t forget about the hats.