The Snake Print Shirt Dress
Editors Note: This is not a true maternity style and is a super cute shirt dress for a non-preggo too, I just sized up! I’m attempting to welcome a new maternity/mom audience but still have things that work for my core followers. And don’t worry, Reality TV coverage will continue as normal.
In my first Maternity Style post, I showed off a fab dress (for preggo’s and non-preggos), talked about my current pregnancy and how there’s no right way to “act” as a mom. While I’ll be discussing an issue facing moms following my style discussion in most posts, I’ll save the mom topic for second and get to the fashion first. As of now, the outfits I’m posting are mostly non-maternity wear sized up that I’m making work for pregnancy, so they really can appeal to everyone. The main fashion lesson in this post is to belt over-sized pieces (like this shirt dress) over your bump to show it off! This actually works with items you probably already have in your closet and prevents you from looking bigger than you actually are in other areas of your body. In this post, the denim I’m wearing is maternity and only around $40 — a total must have. Plus, they come in non-maternity too and are a steal! Please feel free to post any questions about maternity fashion (or regular) below.
When are you having your next baby?!” It’s the most annoying phrase to any independent thinking Mother’s ears, and one of the things that kept me from wanting another for the 6 years leading up to my current pregnancy. First, let’s not confuse this with “Do you plan to have more children?” which I feel is just small talk that people ask friends, acquaintances, or even strangers, when they have little else to discuss. The words of a curious stranger or friend are more than fine with me. I’m not a person who gets overly offended (I mean, you should read the stuff in my group text “Degenerates and a Recovering Preggo”), but when it comes to a decision as personal as family planning and the words “When?” are included, a whole lot more goes along with it all. And trust me, raising my son as only child for 6 years, I’ve heard it all from people who aren’t close enough to me to say it.
Even pregnant with number two, the idea that one must have multiple children, or even any, to make their life complete simply baffles me. As humans (in the non-trendy use of the word sense), we are all very different and have gone through so many different life experiences, so it’s curious to me that some people don’t seem to know any better or respect that fact that a family of five plus isn’t what everyone wants. To me, if that’s what you want, more power to you. If you don’t, do your thing too. There shouldn’t be a stigma about doing what makes you happy. Maybe it’s Suburban Midwestern culture I’ve somehow been relegated to, but the “to each their own” mentality doesn’t seem to prevail when it comes to number of children one “should have”. Or, more likely, over the years I just started to focus on the most vocal parties, that I’ll address now.
As an only child myself, it’s actually a life I wanted for my son for a long time. I wasn’t spoiled materially like the stereotypical Verucca Salt a la Willy Wonka OC, but in terms of love and support I was—and what person that actually cares about me can say that’s a bad thing? My parents never missed a basketball game, in my 11 years of playing for school teams and traveling for AAU. They were always at my school events. I was always included on vacations with them—And thinking back, how annoying for them?! They had good friends whose kids “adopted” me as a “cousin”, most of who I still have relationships with, in addition to my own Aunt, Uncle and biological cousins who I was/am close with. I definitely know other onlies that were lonely, but for me it was great life.
My parents provided a great balance because my Dad didn’t let me get away with BS, and although I was loved and supported, I definitely wasn’t made to think I was the center of the universe or exceptionally wonderful. Because of the way they raised me as an OC I developed a great work ethic and am a very independent thinker, while still always making a large effort to be accepting of others, which are the things that make me proudest of myself. What about that would I not want for my son? And seeing as these baby-making decisions should be person, who other than my husband could have an opinion on that?
However, this glowing, pro-only child attitude is not a widely agreed upon sentiment, although we have proven to be a group of very successful, driven individuals. Sure my close friends never gave me a hard time about potentially having one, primarily because I try to surround myself with other independent thinking people, but that’s not the way the whole world works. Over the past 6 years I’ve heard a lot of “Your son neeeeeeds a sibling!”, or “Only one?!” and other comments that went as far to talk about only children negatively, from people who knew I was an only child. I do know some people “directed” me to have more truly out of love for their own sibling experience, but who’s to think I would want their experience over my own? Can you imagine if I said “Families of “x” amount of children produce kids that are spoiled. You need to have one.” Esentially it’s the same sentiment, but I’ve never heard it happen that way. I really think these comments are based out of insecurity of the way they live their own lives and wanting people to do things the same way to confirm their own choices.
If I was parenting alone, I can say that I probably would have been a one and done (Don’t worry, I’ll totally delete this before the new one is old enough to read ). But, cue my husband, who is one of four and has a great relationship with his siblings—That changes things. He’s ALWAYS been very vocal about wanting more kids, which I find secretly likeable because A) It’s normally the woman pressuring the man, and I love feeling like the cool dude a little B) He loves his siblings and his life experience with them and wants it for his child, just as I feel about my experience, so I can appreciate that since he’s actually involved with making the baby.
But seeing as both of us run our own business, have a lot of amazing friends (sans kids) to hang out with and like to travel and go out together, I just didn’t see a multi-child life being for us. Add all of that to career ups and downs and adjusting to out fast-starting our relationship, (getting engaged, getting married and getting pregnant all within less than two years) and to me it just didn’t seem like the right move until recently. In my mind having my son was so great, but children certainly make relationships more complicated. Our marriage definitely wasn’t bad, but if there isn’t a super strong foundation established it can be asking for trouble. We crammed a lot of other things into the “Honeymoon Period” when other people are really developing that, so some freedom in the years following to still have fun really helped. I’ve heard people equate having 0 or 1 child to selfishness, which I thought maybe we were at first, but to me, having more children when you don’t have a solid foundation is the actual selfish act. In addition, I also came to realize having the life you want isn’t selfish either.
So, I waited six years and did a lot of developing who I was as a person before I agreed to try to get pregnant. Although it was to my husband’s despair at the time, I can still say it was the right move for us, and we ultimately both got what we wanted. I am so grateful for those years of only having one child in my late 20’s and early 30’s and it’s allowed me to move into this pregnancy with no regrets and very little FOMO. Not ONCE during all of the nights in New York with my husband, checking “Yes” on RSVP’s, Sauvignon Blanc and shopping with my girls, or trips to the zoo with just my son did I wish I had another. During that time I developed a great bond with my son, the career of my dreams, some of the most amazing friendships of my entire life and my relationship with my husband got stronger. Not to say this can’t happen to people with multiple young children, but for the way I function this was more conducive. Never, when a mom of four was chasing her kids at a party and telling me I needed more—while my son was out of sight playing— did I want to put down my 3rd glass of prosecco to chase too. And I am also proud to say that I wasn’t thinking “Ewww, why would that mom want to be chasing four kids at a party?! She should have had just one!” She was happy with her decision to chase, and I was happy with my decision for bubbles and checking in with my son every so often.
So how did I come to decide to get pregnant again after such a long time and such strong feelings? Well, the decision is just part of how my life evolved. It really had a lot to do with my very social son asking for a sibling (which I never did, or thought about, as an only child) and my husband developing into a really great father. It also had to do with getting to a spot in our marriage where I felt like we could sustain more pressures than we already have. Finally, it had to do with allowing myself more of a life balance. While I never shied away from a night out, when I decided to rent office space and not work exclusively at home about a year ago, I really got my life back. I had to promise myself that this time around I wasn’t going to try to do it all anymore, which included watching my son full time and working a 30-40 hour work week while he napped, went to school for only 6 hours a week or slept at night for 5.5 years. And ultimately, I had to feel like it was our decision, not pressure from others getting into our heads. I learned about that the hard way when I moved to the suburbs, which I’ll get to that another time. Even us self-proclaimed independent thinkers get brainwashed in certain areas.
In the end, we all need to do what’s best for us, as long as it isn’t harmful to anyone else. You want five kids? Have at it, I’m sure they will love having so many built in playmates! You don’t have any kids? Enjoy that dinner at Maestro’s I can’t get to tonight and have the fab shrimp cocktail for me! And to any of you who are having only children, you are giving them a truly special life experience and you should never feel bad about, even if people try to make you. I’m truly looking forward to the age gap with mine so they can both experience the only child thing a bit since it was so good to me. The ultimate lesson is if anyone is making you feel bad about any family planning decisions that isn’t making the baby with you, it’s their issue, not yours. And to the other side, please watch your words when it comes to talking about this topic, because what’s best for you isn’t always best for others.
Photos by @TekStiles // A big thank you to Brian and Marcin for letting us access their gorgeous roof top at Marina Towers in Chicago
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