Valerie is the brains behind Midlife-A-Go-Go. You can find her posting there regularly. This post was originally featured there.
A couple of months ago, I awoke to a biting cold morning halfway around the world. The day began on a mundane note. I felt neither happy nor sad, here nor there; I just, well, was. I was existing in a monotone hue of tan—bland but not too boring. Ten hours of sleep did little to quell the feeling of exhaustion that ravaged my body. After a late breakfast, I dragged myself upstairs, stood in the shower and allowed a pulsating stream of hot water to cascade down my body that was drooping with fatigue. The water was rejuvenating, cathartic even, and suddenly, the tangled mass of inscrutable dreams that assaulted me in my sleep were soon forgotten. I was finally ready for the day.
Cleaned, clothed and carefully coiffed, I gathered my laptop, mouse, earplugs and creative juices and settled in downstairs at the kitchen table for a morning of writing. But wait…
I felt like I had forgotten something. Ah, yes . . . my phone.
As I walked through the living room towards the outer entry hall, I opened the door and stopped in my tracks like a fawn mesmerized/petrified by a hunter’s gun. I looked at my reflection in a full length mirror at the back of the wall. It wasn’t the mirror that was so surprising, but what was cast back at me in the cursed looking-glass.
With my mouth ajar, I slowly turned to the side, all the while keeping the me-that-I-hoped-wasn’t-me in my sights. I pivoted to the other side, faced front, looked down at myself, placed my open hand on my stomach, clenched my fingers around the fabric of my shirt, pulled it up then gazed back at my reflection. I gasped in horror and clamped my hand over my now fully open mouth.
I was wearing mom jeans. What the hell?!?
How had I allowed myself to slip into this horrible abyss of fashion faux pas?
And how blissfully unaware would I have been had I not gone upstairs to retrieve my phone?
Where it All Began
Ah, now I remember. It all began eight years ago when I purchased a cute pair of jeans (or perhaps, as I’m now firmly ensconced in the valley of midlifedom, should I refer to them as dungarees?). The jeans had a decorative scroll pattern (see above) that ran the length of the leg from hip to ankle on either side. I thought, “How adorable,” and purchased them on the spot. They promptly fell out of favor after one or two turns out of the closet, and I soon forgot about them.
Fast forward to one year ago. As my husband and I moved house first from Stamford, CT to Marietta, GA, and then again six months later to Cramerton, NC, many of my unworn, out of fashion, too small and too large clothes made their way to the Goodwill heap. These jeans, obviously, did not.
As I packed for that two-week trip to Holland and England all those weeks ago, I made the fateful decision to toss the dreaded jeans into my suitcase. Not once did I ever try them on to see if they fit, nor did I chance a peek at myself in the mirror while holding the high-waisted, nine-inch zippered abomination against my body. That, it would appear, was my undoing.
I should point out the irony in my wearing mom jeans: I’m not a mom in the “I carried a baby around in my belly for nine months then gave birth to a cute little bundle of joy” sense of mom. Granted, I am a stepmom, but I think there may be a clause in the Mom Jeans By-Laws that expressly stipulates that “Mom Jeans are to be worn only by biological moms.” It would seem that I had committed an infraction on the grandest order.
My husband, bless his heart, looked me square in the eye that morning and had then had the unabashed audacity to say, “They don’t look that bad…as long as you keep that thing there,” he motioned with his finger, “that top part covered up.” The look on his face suggested that he’d just eaten a bitter piece of fruit. Despite that, his suggestion wasn’t problematic since the jeans sat comfortably just under the safe confines of my ample breasts. Yes, they were that damn high.
Is it time for me to turn in my fashionista membership card? I think not. When I got back home to the States a week later, Goodwill welcomed me and those awful mom jeans with open arms. There, they’ll certainly find a good home from a caring, loving mom.
When it comes to mom jeans, I am not the woman and this is not the year.