Heels to Flats: Tangible Change

Written by Emily

I’m not sure how many of you out there do this. It might be no one else, but I’m going to risk it. When I get dressed, I think to myself, “What would Stacy and Clinton think about this outfit?” “Who are Stacy and Clinton?” some of you might be asking. C’mon. Take a minute. Yep–the two hosts of TLC’s What Not To Wear.

I dress as though the two of them might do one of those terrifying drop-bys in the department store–the ones that scare the poor victims on the show into fashion sobriety. This is why I wear blazers to the grocery store.

I loved going to work for a number of reasons, namely all of the warm reasons teachers choose to teach, but another reason was being able to get dressed. I shamelessly rocked heels and taught on my feet throughout all of my pregnancies. I was single-handedly trying to rewrite the image of teacher as the matronly-looking school marm who wears sweaters that tell stories of cats with button eyes. If I had to bite the bullet and buy something new every week to make this happen, then so be it. I know how to take one for the team.

So when I decided to resign, my chest tightened a little bit. No more getting dressed up on a daily basis. Some may think, “Thank God, bring on the sweats.” Not me. I looked my husband squarely in the eye and begged him to make sure I got dressed every. single. day. It’s a slippery slope to pajama pants at the library’s story time. A HUGE Stacey and Clinton No-No.

Yesterday, while rifling through my closet for something to wear to the playground, I caught sight of some fierce animal print heels (not at all appropriate). I moved myself over to the shoe section of my closet and took a moment to mourn the retirement of my heels.

Good-bye, red patent-leather heels.

Good-bye, snake-skin creamy gold wedges.

So long, favorite black pointy-toe heels.

And on and on with the good-byes. “You’ve been replaced,” I muttered. “Make room for the Sperry Topsiders and Toms. Move over for the flats.”

I’ll reorganize my closet and dresser next. *Sigh*

It’s materialistic and silly to write about something as superficial as shoes and clothing when I’m choosing to stay home with my children– a fulfilling, admirable and blessed opportunity, I know– but those things are tangible. I can see them beginning to gather dust in my closet and in my drawers. They’re the things that I notice myself passing up on a trip to the mall to pick up something for the baby, who is growing faster than I can keep up with. They’re all little reminders of a part of me that I’m retiring right now.

And as I replace my pencil skirts with jeans, my heels with flats, and my blouses with sweaters (marked on the shoulder with baby goo of all kinds), I still want to be me, not an imitation or someone playing a part.

And while I’m excited to be home with my children, I don’t want to become unrecognizable to myself or anyone else. I don’t want to allow part of myself to gather dust. I don’t want to, heaven forbid, actually morph into someone new all together. But, then again, maybe that’s part of this decision. Part of change, of transitioning.

So here I go into unchartered territory, standing on the cusp of a brand new life–exhilarated and terrified and not quite sure what to wear.



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5 comments for “Heels to Flats: Tangible Change

  1. Lindsey
    June 12, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Em- this was extremely insightful because if you reverse this whole scenario you get me! Terrified of fashion and want to be comfy at home with my kids and husband. Materials aside, your new admirable “full-time” job allows you to be you! Although your oldest daughter might be a little judgmental if your style laxs, they will love and appreciate you even more for choosing to be with them! Many women don’t have the guts to make the decision you made ( and I include myself in that) so be really proud when you wear those sneakers to the playground or grocery store- you earned it!

    • June 12, 2012 at 2:42 am

      Thank you for your support, Lindsey! Your girls are so lucky to have you as their Mama!

  2. Cathy
    June 13, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Wait! Is this the same girl who, upon seeing three girls in high heels and dressed to the nines approaching her and her then boyfriend remarked, ” I can take them”? Yes, one and the same!

  3. Miranda
    June 14, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Loved reading this Em! I try the whole fashion thing, but it’s a hit or miss for me! =)

    I think my constant struggle is balance…always trying to figure out how to keep one part of my life from taking over another. Although, when the stay-at-home-mom part of me takes over, I am most at peace (even on the tough mom days!).

    • June 14, 2012 at 2:34 am

      Miranda, I am in awe of your dedication to being a mother. It is so obvious you are at peace when you are home with your children. You dive into mothering with sincere joy; it’s wonderful to see. Whether you are making blueberry pancakes with the kids or taking a walk in the woods, you are completely present in the moment. Your kids will treasure those memories forever.

      And you are so right…balance is key but often hard to attain.

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