When I was growing up as a child of the ’90s, “Mom Fashion” was most certainly understood to be billowy blouses with large pearlized buttons tucked into acid wash, high rise jeans that gave every mom in my memory something my friends and I definitely not kindly, referred to as “mom butt.” This is what it meant to look like a mother.
I also remember that most of the moms that I knew appeared to me to be incredibly confident. They would look at me in my low rise flares and declare, “What are you wearing!?” all while laughing, smiling, and complimenting their friends on their pastel tie-dyed vests and shoes made of wicker.
As a teen, I swore to myself that I would never be an embarrassing, ugly mom. I would keep up with fashion and wear what was on-trend. I’ve always had a simple sense of style (read: nearly non-existent), but I never wanted to look like a mother. Embarrassing.
I learned recently that on Tik Tok, Gen Z’s are making fun of us Millenials for wearing skinny jeans, having a side part, and using the laugh face emoji, saying that it’s “peak mom energy.” Our fits are not it.
I became a first-time mom at age 27. I still consider myself to be a younger mom. Though I generally subscribe to the uber basic drip (I think that’s what the kids are calling clothes these days) that is skinny jeans and a side part, I also recognize that moms can look all sorts of ways. I’m pretty plain when it comes to my personal style, but I do have several piercings and a couple of visible tattoos. My grandma wasn’t impressed. At the end of the day, there really is no right or wrong way to look like a mother.
Some of us look like a mother by donning pricey athleisure, while others of us enjoy the same pair of leggings we’ve been rocking since we were three days postpartum. Both looks are perfect.
Some of us like to wear absolutely no makeup, while others like to sport a full face daily. Both looks are beautiful.
Some moms wear locs and braids, and other moms might feel most comfortable with a pixie cut that is also blue. Both looks express this mother’s individual self.
Some mothers have fat bodies while others are thin. Some mothers like to show a little more skin, while others like a more modest approach to clothing. All these mothers care deeply for their children.
Some mothers have stretch marks on their bellies from carrying babies inside. Other moms have stories of how they met their babies and have only carried them in their arms. Even more, mothers have lost or are aching and waiting to have a baby to hold. All of these mothers have triumphed and struggled. They are all beautiful, perfect moms.
Looking like a mother doesn’t mean you subscribe to whatever the “ideal” image of motherhood might be at the time. Some moms get hate when other people perceive they don’t “look like a mother.” But here’s the thing, we, like all humans, come in all shapes and styles.
Oddly enough, now that I’m a mother and I’m friends with other moms, I’m starting to see that Mom Confidence differently. Generally, most of my friends are not embarrassed by their bodies, but I don’t think I see women as generally confident in their whole bodies as I perceived them to be when I was younger.
Here’s the thing: every mother I know is absolutely amazing in her own beautiful, messy and imperfect way. I, of course, find myself observing other mom’s looks and style, sometimes wishing I could look the way they do or being glad in that moment I look the way I do. At the end of the day, I really am confident in the body I have.
I have a deep and sincere hope that when my daughters look at me and my embarrassing skinny jeans and out-of-fashion side part, they still see confidence. At least my shoes are sturdy. I hope that they understand that I wear what I like because I like it and I feel comfortable – not because I’m trying to conform to anyone else’s standard for what a mother should look like.
If you call yourself a mother, you look like a Mother, and you look perfect.