Betty Duffy

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mom Jeans and the Kingdom of God

I am wearing “MOM” jeans today—because I had five minutes in Goodwill the other day to try them on while my husband sat in the car with the kids, and they are one of two pairs of pants that fit me in my post-partum state, the other being a pair of maternity jeans, which I refuse to wear (as I am no longer pregnant). Mom jeans got their name because they have the extra fabric to cover that roll of flesh just under the naval that being a mother provides. Resisting the mom jeans on a day like today means resisting my motherhood, which feels like too much strife for my current mood.

I’m thinking that the mom jeans hold the answer to a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately: Why do I insist on keeping myself partially planted in the world, when I truly want to be of God? Is it a bad thing to be planted in the world—where I listen to the Pretenders even though they say the F word quite often (excuse: it’s classic rock), and I read fashion magazines (being Catholic doesn’t give me an excuse to be dowdy), and I surf the internet (we don’t get a Newspaper anymore so I need to be aware of what’s going on in the blogosphe…world). What is keeping me back? What in the heck is keeping me back????

Mom jeans are freedom from strife. They are comfort, peace, and even a bit of elasticity. Mom jeans are the Kingdom of God. But they require a trade-off. Wearing mom jeans means relenting to being nerdy and out of style. It means walking around as a living advertisement for “Out of Touch.”

Today, I have no place in the public eye so the mom jeans are fine. When I pick up the kids at school, I’ll cover them up with a big coat and no one will be the wiser. But one of these days I’ll be faced with an invitation to someplace where I have to be wholly present and I will put on cool, even though it is no longer natural to me, even though the standards of cool are frequently dictated by downright evil, like this cultural preoccupation with bikini waxing. Clearly it’s an offshoot of pornography, which has been hyped up by the glamour mags, and adopted by the mainstream, so that suddenly, a Catholic mother of five, who will never again wear a bikini, is asking herself in the dead of winter if this is something she should be doing. I feel drawn into the competition, just to prove I can hold my values and stay in touch (Does that turn your eye? That’s because you haven’t seen CATHOLIC BIKINI WAXING!—and hopefully you never will).

The reality is, I can’t compete, so why am I trying? Trying to keep up with cool--to be Catholic, Mother, and Sexy, to be “hot mama”—it hurts too much, and obviously, a woman who only has five minutes and five dollars to buy a pair of jeans can't hold a candle to Angelina Jolie (She just keeps one-upping me). I would be a fool to waste my energy on it because life has already shown me time and again that there are more reasonable uses for my outputs and pains.

But that’s just how I feel today, when no one's looking at me (anyone smell some vanity?).


Elizabeth said...

well, i always have a problem with my ego, personally. i still like my skinny jeans...hubby says "you look sexy" i say really because i'm just comfy and yes i am skinny,, i wish i were comfy and had voluptuous breasts from my nursing days. all days it's okay to say i am me, in my mom jeans or my not presumed to be mom jeans. what is in my heart matters. BUT i say walk out of the house comfortable in your skin, don't deny yourself that. even if it's yellow high heels, make up and mom jeans. don't worry you'll fit into the seven 4 mankind jeans again and it will be *good* (and yes i heartily dislike the saying it's all good and sweet)

p.s. i personally loved my low'rider maternity jeans after baby because of my pooch. i actually call my fat, (and yes the doctor did say "oh, this? this is just fat!" thank you and please be quiet now doctor!) my puppy, it sounds much more...endearing. i miss you betty!

jenx67 said...

You put into writing what I often think and feel, but I don't think have dug deep enough to pullout. I probably lack the courage.

I have made a conscious decision to be in the world. Isn't that Scriptural? In the world, but not of it? Betty - just between you and me (even though this comment is google-able), I have connected with two bloggers who often use the F word on their blog, and at times are caustic, bitter. I would have never - OK - never expected anything about God or Christ on their blogs. Through my Gen X stuff we connected and for six months or so have read each other. And, then, out of the blue, starts coming an occasional post about their spiritual journey and confessions that they believe in Christ - confessions of faith and hurt. I was floored. I am learning a lot by not surrounding myself with seemingly like-minded souls.

Love your writing - a big nod on the goodwill trip. I love thrift stores.

Emily said...

After you were slamming me for my $5 lycra-enhanced Target jeans, you stoop to buying Mom Jeans?! Might as well reject the fashion world altogether and get yourself a denim jumper.