My top 7 tips for mamas going clothes shopping
Clothes shopping; is there anything more pleasurable yet utterly soul destroying all at once?
You can spend weeks imagining how that gorgeous top in the shop window will look on you only to find it does absolutely nothing for you in the harsh reality of a dressing room mirror - seriously do they make the lighting this bad for fun? Still it's the thrill of the hunt and the reward at the end (if things go well the feel of a full shopping bag clutched in your sweaty paw) that keeps us going. So I have figured out some tips over the years to make it less stress and more fun. These have been refined since becoming a mum.
- Where possible leave the children at home (preferably with someone you trust but any sane person willing to take them will do):Any time I attempt to shop with my daughter results in shouting, cries of 'home' or an attempt to throw herself on the ground. I remember too when I was a child streeling behind my own poor mother while she tried to enjoy herself. Not possible and I owe her big-time for that! I like to think I've made up for it in later years by being a more pleasing shopping companion. Anyway it's not worth the agony. Either find a babysitter or shop online with a glass of wine.
- Avoid sales assistants (until you either actually need help or want to buy something): Yes they will offer to help and yes they may very well give you an honest opinion on those jeans you've had your eye on for months. But equally they may lie through their teeth (while sneakily taking photos of you on their iPhone)* or they might decide to be brutally honest. Either way you just don't want to know. *I made that up about the iPhone - I'm fairly certain no-one does that and I'm just a very paranoid person.
- Face away from the mirror when trying on those jeans: This is a trick I learned after I gained a baby, an extra few pounds (or ten) and a whole bunch of stretch marks. Not fun to gaze at in the mirror as you stuff those love handles into the waist-band praying they fit and you don't have to go up a size. Wait until you have safely navigated your way into them and then turn around. You'll thank me.
- Where possible choose a dressing room away from anybody who has made the mistake (or had no choice) of bringing along their children: You will either end up feeling guilty you left yours at home or annoyed and stressed by the loudness. You will then end up buying something you will hate for all time. This will benefit a local charity at some time in the future but will leave you feeling ticked off.
- This leads me to number 5 - AVOID the sales rack: I only recently learned this when attempting to budget after becoming a 'responsible' parent. You may think I would be raiding the sales racks…but as my old economics teacher would say this would actually be a false economy. Sales racks invariably contain items that trick you into buying them by being 'such a good deal'. However when you bring said item home you will realise it makes you look lumpy and so it will languish in the back of your cupboard; making brief re-appearances when you are desperate for something different to wear. The only time I go near them now is to check if something I once liked at full price has made it into the sales…this rarely happens but still worth a look!
- Do not indulge in anything more than a slice of toast beforehand: It's tempting to treat yourself to a little something naughty before you hit the shops. Don't! The mammy tummy doesn't need any extra help and you will just end up thinking you need a bigger size! Save that creamy cake for after, you will need an energy boost after tackling the clothes rails anyway.
- Take longer than strictly necessary:Go for a coffee, a walk or just sit in your car. Enjoy the silence. Remember the minute you go back home you are mama again so give yourself a break once in a very long while and relax!
And there you have it - relatively stress-free mama shopping. Enjoy!
Ann-Marie a 34 year old mum to a very active 20 month old toddler. She is currently at home with her trying to fit in writing between nap-time and endless loads of laundry! She is keeping a blog about life with a toddler called Adventures in Toddlerdom and is also writing a children’s book. Check out her facebook page here