This post is written by Chandler Smith, first-lady of Cladwell.
I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids under 5. Most days start early and don’t ever actually end. (Who really has their newborns sleep-trained at 6 weeks?! We’re still working on our almost-5-year-old). Our days are filled with lots of dirty diapers, nature walks, trips to the library, tantrums at nap time, and discussions about the acceptable number of bites of pasta before dessert. (Is 6 bites really too much to ask? Please, child, please). I spend most of my time and energy serving the always thankful little humans around me. My life wonderful and exhausting, with afternoons that never end and years that seem to just evaporate.
So, here’s the deal — I want to look good, but I don’t have the time or energy to put effort into my style every day. I hardly have time to shower, let alone put together a cute outfit. By the end of the breakfast rush there isn’t much time for me. “Self-care” is some strange phrase I’ve heard of, but can’t really comprehend. My waistline has also yo-yo’d back and forth for the last 5 years, and trying on clothes is a painful, disheartening experience. My wardrobe is a strange mix of clothes from college, professional attire, maternity, and things stolen from my husband’s closet. (Sorry, babe). My pants range from size 2–12, and even though I know I’ve birthed 3 humans my self- esteem still seems tied to those trivial sizes.
Even though I don’t have time to shop or style my wardrobe, that doesn’t mean I want to be a frumpy mom. (You know — the mom who is always wearing jeans, their high school tennis t-shirt, and flip flops. Yes, you. This is a safe place). I know what I put on my body communicates who I am and how I view myself. It communicates respect for the people I see during the day. Even if they’re just little people. People are people. It communicates that I take care of myself and my body. It communicates that I am valuable and worthy of their respect.
So, here’s how I made a change. Small in theory, but as it turns out this change has had a huge life-altering impact. I started working toward a minimal closet just like many of these other women you read about. It seemed like if I could devote a little time upfront it would benefit me in the long run. To be honest, it worked.
I spent an evening, sans kids, and took all the junk out of my wardrobe. I held up each item of clothing I owned and asked, “Do you fit me now? Are you damaged? Do you work with my coloring and complexion? Have I worn you in the last 6 months? Do I feel pretty with you on?” If any item got a “no”, it was gone. (So long, my dear friend. You have served me well. Or at least cluttered my closet for too long).
When I finished my purge, only my favorites were left. I loved every item in my wardrobe. I bought a few pieces to tie things together. (“Hmm…if I had a denim jacket I could wear these 4 shirts in a totally different way.” Or, “Wow, I don’t have any jeans that fit me right now! Put that puppy on the list.”) At the end of my project, I had an open closet filled with only my favorites — interchangeable pieces that reflected my personal style and preferences.
Fast forward to today. I can wake up and grab anything out of my closet — and I know I will look good. I don’t have to spend precious time thinking about what to wear. I love everything in my wardrobe and — as long as I have time to change a shirt that’s been spit up on — I know I look good.
I’m free to spend my time on the things that I do care about; time with my family, friends, and maybe even a book. (Woah, woah, woah, let’s not get too ambitious). I can focus on the things that breath life into my spirit, instead of the things that leave me insecure and defeated.
I call that a win.