“I will never be the mom who stops shopping for herself after she has kids.”
This was a line I often used on my own mom as we shopped together, pre-pregnancy. As I spoke these words through the walls of the dressing room at Express, I never dreamed I would think differently. Shopping has been a hobby (some would say an obsession) of mine since junior high. I love clothes. I watch TV to analyze the latest trends and wardrobe decisions of the rich and famous. I shop to relieve stress, to reward myself, and to counteract boredom. I spend weeks looking forward to a shopping adventure at Jordan Creek and have now embraced the beauty of the online shopping world.
Express has always been my shopping haven (heaven?). I usually have a difficult time finding things I don’t like, which makes shopping there a blessing (in my eyes), and an absolute curse (in my husband’s). Whether I’m looking for something new to wear to work, to a wedding, or to lounge around the house, it’s almost a sure fire bet that I can hit the jackpot at Express.
I hadn’t really stopped to think about how much I’ve changed since becoming pregnant, well, besides the bodily changes of weight gain, swollen feet, and the never-ending back ache. Yesterday, however, I had a reality check. On my way out the door yesterday morning, I grabbed a couple of bills and noticed an Express coupon that was sent to me for my birthday. Although my birthday was just a few weeks ago, I remember receiving the $20 gift card mid-summer. A year ago, a coupon of this nature would have lasted approximately a week before it started burning a hole in my purse pocket. Receiving a coupon to Express was like Christmas to me, a chance to justify my reason to hit the mall.
This morning, however, I grabbed the card noticing it expired August 31, aka, today. I absolutely couldn’t stand the thought of it going to waste, although I didn’t know if I would have the time or the energy to head to the mall after a full day of school in an excessively hot building.
After school, I had to literally force myself to pull in the mall parking lot as I drove by on my way home. I picked up a hair product I was almost out of, a birthday card, and some new, more maternity-esque underwear. As I walked by my once favorite store front, I again, forced myself to go in. I felt like I had walked into a foreign country. I didn’t know the store staff (shudder), the styles had changed (shudder), and nothing looked close to fitting my belly. I instantly felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, only instead of the knee-high black pleather boots, my swollen feet bulged from my $10 Target flats. I felt completely out of place.
I quickly found a cardigan on sale that I could wear now and after Baby J arrives. I brought it to the register and thumbed through my purse to retrieve my debit card. Before I knew it, the contents of my billfold spilled out across the desk, revealing my Babies R’ Us Rewards Card, a Baby Gap coupon, and a coupon for a complimentary sample of Enfamil Baby Formula.
This is when it dawned on me. I have officially entered a new world. One where women no longer enjoy trying clothes on in a dressing room, spending hours picking out the perfect outfit, or wasting hours in a clothing store. I have traded in my stilettos for a comfortable pair of flats. I have officially entered motherhood.
When I trade in the flats for a pair of lime green crocs…well then I’m really in trouble.