The other day, my 11-year-old told me I needed new tennis shoes. I looked at my feet, at my somewhat worn pair of Keds. I was kind of proud of these Keds. Escewing the traditional style I wore in college, I chose a pair of retro looking ones, with a wide toe and big eyelets. I thought that for once I could be cool mom, a mom who could keep up with the Talbotts models who double as elementary school mothers in this town.
Then my 11-year-old went on. "No offense Mom, but those look like old lady shoes."
It wasn't always this way. I used to be a shopaholic, spending my single girl's money on that latest styles. I spent so much time in the mall that the manager of one of those junior clothing stores became a friend, and she often had outfits picked out for me before I showed up. No, I wasn't a "Sex In the City" kind of shopper, primarily because a small town journalist's salary precludes that sort of shopping. But I did like to keep up with the styles.
Then kids happened. We went to one income. The mall wasn't nearly as inviting, considering I was pushing a stroller and living on a Target budget. Fashion mattered less than comfort, and the budget dictated that I buy things I'd wear a lot. Jeans and T-shirts became my uniform, although I did finally throw away my mom jeans and went with a lower rise.
(Note to the kids out there: Say what you want about Mom jeans, but we never suffered from muffin tops.)
You'd think I could save myself with shoes, but I've been cursed with funky feet. Nothing fits right. Nothing. Back when it mattered, I'd shove my feet into an uncomfortable but stylish pair of shoes, ignoring the fact that they hurt like heck on the dance floor. Nowadays, give me a pair of runners or flip flops. Anything else is a pain in the foot.
I haven't given up on fashion entirely. As the 11-year-old hits the age where fashion matters, I find that she's inherited some of her mom's love for the shop. The fact that she's a size 00 and looks adorable in just about anything has made shopping fun again, albeit expensive. She sometimes asks me why I don't want to buy myself something from Hollister. She doesn't understand when I shake my head.
As for the shoes, I might let my 11-year-old have some input on what I choose. I'm sure she'll roll her eyes when I veto anything that feels weird, uncomfortable or on the verge of falling off when I walk. But that's the beauty of being a slave to fashion. Eventually, you grow out of it.