Monday, 28 May 2012

why I like to wear nice clothes (even though I don't always need to)

Me. two weeks into wardrobe of black.
I lost my identity a bit when I had my first baby. To be honest I didn't know what hit me. I was totally unprepared for how I felt. My husband and I were newly emigrated (from London) and in a strange city (Adelaide then Melbourne), where we had no friends, family or support network. I found myself alone and bewildered whilst my husband worked, trying to establish his career in this new home of ours.

I fell pregnant kind of by accident. I had to change pill brands when we arrived in Australia, and I took a two week break. Never thinking for a moment that I'd get pregnant. My husband and I had grand plans for our life here, that required two full time incomes so that we could indulge in our passion for scuba diving, eating out, saving up for a cool house by the sea and generally being a spontaneous couple in love. We had backpacked round Australia prior to moving here and were just so happy to be in this wonderful, sunny country...

After the shock of discovering I was pregnant (I was shocked, not necessarily happy shocked), I was pleased to discover how much I loved it. I felt fantastic and really did feel like I was blooming. I was nervous but excited at the prospect of being a mum, and I just thought I'd be fine. It didn't occur to me that I might struggle.

But once my perfect little boy was born, I was overwhelmed by how unprepared I was for motherhood, I felt adrift and confused and just stopped being 'me'. I missed my husband, I grieved for our old life, I resented having to give every waking moment to someone else. Of course I loved my baby, I just couldn't juggle it all, and I felt guilty. I missed my mum and having someone close by to help me. This resulted in me looking awful too. For the first time ever, I didn't even think about how I looked. I have never been high maintenance or vain, I'm very average, but I had always loved clothes and shoes. I just stopped going out. I didn't relate to any of the perfect mothers group mums and I allowed myself to wallow in feeling and looking like crap. I swapped my heels for cheap trainers (!) and thongs, and forgot about the old me, I resigned myself to drab. Looking back at photos of those days now, still fills me with such a rush of confused emotion.

A couple of years later, we moved to Queensland. I had number two, our sweet little girl and amazingly, I felt better! I found I could do it all second time round and everything seemed easier, I was getting back some control and order. I made some real friends and the cloud slowly started to lift. But it wasn't until I started work again that I suddenly 'found' my old self again. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt (this is sad I know) to have a reason to put on a smart dress and pair of heels. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning (other than the kids and the normal routine).

I have now been working, part time, as a Media Manager for a local ad agency (working around the kids) for over five years now, and I still love it. Sometimes I consider getting a 'proper job' full time, but we'll see... For now, I have this blog to work on, and it's something just for me. The old me. It's not about family, or my kids, it's just light hearted fluff, passing comments that I make to myself. I don't really give a shit if anyone reads it or not. Besides, it gives me a legitimate reason to look at boobs...


  1. Very well-written, Justine! I have a 2 year old boy and I totally felt like I've lost my identity after I've had him. It wasn't until I went back to work part-time that I felt like I've got part of my old self back (silly isn't it). I know what you meant by how wonderful it feels to have a reason to put on a nice dress and a pair of heels!!! I've quit my job now and I'm a SAHM again. However, this time around there is more inner peace and I'm liking it more. And now, I wear something nice every day although I don't go to work and it's just an ordinary day. Sometimes, it feels a bit silly as I look too dressed up when I'm around other mums. But who cares what other people think!! I love what I see in the mirror and my husband loves what he sees!!

    P.S. I saw the photos of you on MamaMia Wardrobe Week. Just want to say I LOOOVE your style!! Gorgeous!!

    1. Thanks Esther! And I'm glad you are getting back to your old self too! It's fab dressing up and looking good, and like you say, who cares what others think! I'm sure you are gorgeous! J x

  2. Oh Justine i can relate!!! i worked as a make-up artist for film and fashion and met amazing people and had an interesting life!...then i moved interstate so my partner could further his career, we bought our first house then SHAZAM pregnant at 23 whilst on the pill (all within a 2 months of moving up here).....not at all happy with this situation, it took me quite a while to accept and love the new life that was going to be mine, now i have 2 kidletts and they are wonderful, i still dress like a frump )-: but have found a passion for interior design and feel alive again! and parts of my old self are to work on correcting the wardrobe!

    1. I think having led such a full and interesting life before kids, and not being quite ready to give it all up plays a massive part. I use to gaze at other women who seemed so happy and content and wonder what was wrong with me. I'd never been a negative or depressed person, ever, before. But we're not the only ones who have struggled and that makes me feel better! I'm so glad you are getting your life and passion back. On the wardrobe front - it's AMAZING what a pair of sexy, high stilettos can do...go out and buy some!!!