this topic was discussed in the mess this morning and I’m hoping you can shed light on it.

The observation was put forth that most mothers dress themselves in different manners, depending on whether they are going out by themselves or with their friends, or if they’ll be going out with their child.

Assuming the above is correct, the questions:

  1. How much cleavage do you show in both instances?
  2. Are there certain outfits you like, but would never wear around your children (and I’m not talking lingerie here)?
  3. Does your demeanor different in these situations?
  4. Are these conscious decisions?

Number four was the question most hotly debated. Some felt that women’s thought process went like: “Gee. I’d love to wear this blouse, but I’ve got to take Tyler to day care.” Others felt that you never consciously consider the blouse because you know you’ll be taking junior shopping with you.

  1. Are there items of clothing that you would have loved to buy but didn’t because you have children?

I guess this boils down to the “Mother and Godess” self picture an whether it is true or not.

  1. Is the thought process different if you are a single mother?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Note: OP devoid of any sexual innuendo.

No. 3 should read, “Is your demeanor…”

  1. How much cleavage do you show in both instances?

Not much, usually. If I’m having a good self-esteem day, I might show cleavage in either case. I have as much desire to look good when I’m with my children as I do when I’m not.

  1. Are there certain outfits you like, but would never wear around your children (and I’m not talking lingerie here)?

Nope. If I am incredibly careful about the outfits my kids see me in in different situations, how am I going to teach them about approproate vs. inappropriate dress for any given occasion?

  1. Is your demeanor different in these situations?

Not as far as I know, but being incredibly close to the situation (it’s ME, after all), I can’t say for sure.

  1. Are these conscious decisions?

Not particularly, because, as I said, I don’t moderate what I’m wearing depending on whether or not the kids are with me.

  1. Are there items of clothing that you would have loved to buy but didn’t because you have children?

No. I haven’t bought a complete new outfit since they were born. It’s not a question of propriety or “what would the children think?”, but a question of spending too much money on food and clothes for THEM to have the OPTION of trying to decide whether or not to buy some kicky little pleather outfit. If I had the money to spend on that kind of thing…no, there’s nothing I would have NOT bought just because of the kids.

  1. Is the thought process different if you are a single mother?

No way for me to know this one, sorry.
I think it should be implied that if I am going out to a bar, or dancing, I do dress in a bit more of a risque fashion. It has to do with where I’m going, after all. As should be obvious, the kids never come with me when I go out dancing with friends.

Says Hamadryad

I understand that. I’m more intersted in the dressing differences, for example, between a) Going shopping with your girlfriend and b) Going shopping with your child.

But don’t limit it to shopping. It could be dinner, the doctor’s, picking up the dry cleaning, whatever.

Righty-ho. (Someone else please respond to this thread?) When I dress to go out to lunch with friends or my kids, there’s no different thought process that goes into how I dress. Hope that helped.

My assertion is that women do dress differently when they go somewhere with their child than if they went to the same place with an adult.

Primarily, I’m looking for empirical instances to either support or debunk this assertion.

Secondly, I’m very interested in whether it is a conscious decision to dress differently, or is it more of a “Mom-mode” unconscious action.

And thirdly, what are your dressing bounderies when you’re with your child?

(I’m still not sure whether I’m nailing this on the head or not…)

As a single mom, here are my answers.

  1. How much cleavage do you show in both instances?
    The same. I’m large chested, so unless the blouse/shirt/sweater comes up to my neck, some cleavage is going to show. The cleavage factor depends more on the weather - if it’s hot out, I’m not going to be wearing a turtleneck sweater.

  2. Are there certain outfits you like, but would never wear around your children (and I’m not talking lingerie here)? Yes, but that has more to do with the fact that my son is a toddler than anything - grimy little handprints are hard to remove from certain fabrics.

  3. Does your demeanor differ in these situations? I tend to be more relaxed when I am without my son - as I don’t have to constantly watch him to keep him out of mischief.

  4. Are these conscious decisions? The “I’m not going to wear the dry-cleaned blouse today because I’m taking Baby_thur to the mall” is a conscious decision. But whether I wear a button down or a t-shirt is not - I just wear something that gives me a wide range of motion (to catch Baby_thur) and is comfortable. Tailored clothes do not fit that description. And normally - as long as it’s clean and matches somewhat - it’s good for me.

  5. Are there items of clothing that you would have loved to buy but didn’t because you have children? Sure, but that’s a matter of economics - I am the sole wage earner for me and my son, so I’m naturally more frugal with my earnings. A silk skirt that I may only get to wear a few times is not as appealing as a cotton skirt that I will wear more often.

  6. Is the thought process different if you are a single mother? I think this would only matter if a married woman never took her children anywhere without her husband to help.
    Now my wardrobe did matter much more when Baby_thur was still nursing. If we went out I had to ensure that I was wearing something that allowed me to nurse him discreetly without having to get completely undressed. So no one piece outfits. And they had to be easily cleaned - he was the spit-up king.

I imagine that I will wear nicer clothes someday - after Baby_thur grows up and is out on his own.

Did that help any?

Being a guy has it’s advantages in the decision making department…I just go with Garanimals :slight_smile:

  1. I dress the same when I go to the grocery store whether my son is with me or not. But when I go out with friends at night (drinking/dancing/whatever) I tend to dress up and wear my nicer, dry-cleaned clothes. When I’m out with my friends I don’t have to worry about my son wiping his hands/nose on my clothes, so I tend to wear my nicer clothes.

If I’m meeting my friends for lunch and Baby_thur goes too, I tend to dress up some, but still within the “safe for messes” wardrobe. I’d wear pretty much the same thing without him, as I’m a casual dresser. (Going out at night with friends is a rare occurance.)

  1. I reach for the “mess safe” clothes more out of habit than any consicous decision when I’m going somewhere with my son. One exception is church - as he is not likely to make a huge mess there. I will wear my dress up clothes to church, but will go home and change into something more casual if we go out to lunch after.

  2. Dressing boundaries? I’m not sure what you mean by that. We take baths together, and I dress in front of him. He’s 15 months old.

As to cleavage - none of my blouses are particularly revealing, tho I might unbutton an extra button to get hubby’s attention.

The only time I considered what to wear when around my daughter (when she was tiny) had to do with how easily baby-spit would wash out.

Beyond that, I dress for comfort rather than style, and it’s generally jeans and T’s or casual blouses. I think the ONLY time I really think about what to wear is for specific occasions (weddings, funerals, biz dinners with hubby) and when you come right down to it, I consider clothing to be a necessary evil. DON’T mistake that as a desire to be a nudist - I just don’t much care what I wear.

So I don’t suppose I was much help in this survey… sorry about that, Chief!

**I can’t answer this one because I don’t have enough cleavage to show… dammit! :slight_smile:

The way I dressed before I had kids was a lot more… um, I think slutty is the word I’m looking for. I wouldn’t dress that way today but I’m not 18 years old anymore and I don’t feel comfortable wearing what I did back then. I like to wear jeans, sweats, wind pants, t-shirts, and sweatshirts more than anything but I dress up for work and other situations.

**I act just as goofy with my girlfriends as I do with my kids so I’d have to say no. If my SO and I go out for the evening, of course we’re going to act a little different because it’s just the two of us and the kids aren’t there.

I don’t think so. I’m the same person with or without my kids and I dress the same and act the same no matter who I’m around.

**Hell yeah! The only reason I don’t buy them is because I can’t afford it. The kids are constantly needing new clothes and they come first. I can’t remember the last time I bought a new outfit… I think the last thing I bought for myself was new socks!

Maybe a little, depending on what you want. I dresse the same now as I did when I was married but when I was a single mom I dressed a little differently to go out but nothing that I wouldn’t wear in front of my kids. The type of dress changed a little bit because I wanted to attract a little attention and hopefully snag a new man. Now that I’ve met someone and am engaged I don’t go out as much but when we do go out I wear the same type of clothes that I wore when we met.

Sorry Chief, I can’t add anything to the OP, just wanted to say that topics of conversations on the mess deck sure have changed a lot since I used to spend time on subs (as a worthless contractor, not a fine upstanding submariner). Must be the kindler, gentler Navy. :slight_smile:

I don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said. Whether my kids are with me or not doesn’t have much to do with how I dress now that they’re old enough that I don’t have to think about easy access to a breast for nursing or sticky fingerprints on hard-to-clean fabrics.

I tend not to wear low-cut or otherwise “sexy” clothes to a PTA meeting or a teacher conference whether or not my kids are with me, but then I wouldn’t wear them to work either. Conversely, I wouldn’t wear a sweatshirt or a business suit to go out dancing either.

Is the underlying question here “Do you consciously suppress your sexuality when your children are with you?” If so, the answer is no. I DO, on the other hand, sometimes consciously suppress it when I’m around certain peer groups. If I’m going to a friend’s party with the kids, for instance, I’d be more likely to wear something low-cut or form-fitting than I do when I’m going to church with the kids.

I have two daughters, one of whom is going to be a teenager soon. I like them to see that a woman can continue to be attractive and express her sexuality in appropriate ways as she ages. In other words, it’s okay to still be a woman even after you’re a mom - you don’t have to try to be something you’re not just because you have kids.

I think I’m pretty much on the same page here as the rest of the women who have responded. Sorry, ChiefScott, but I think you are incorrect in your assumption that women will dress differently to run errands, depending on who goes with them.

It is not so much as where I am going with my son, but where I’m going. If I’m going out dancing, yes, I may dress a little sexier. And my son’s not coming with me, so I don’t dress that way and hang out with him.

Also, if it is summer, and we’re going to a picnic, I may wear a tank top that shows a little cleavage. I’m not going to not wear it because my son’s coming with me. That’s just silly.

If I’m going to the mall, I’d wear the same thing regardless of who is going with me. Why would I wear something sexy to go shopping??? Again, that’s silly.

I don’t believe mothers say, “Well, Bobby’s coming shopping with me, so I’d better just wear sweats.” or “All right, I get to hit the mall with Sally, so I’m wearing my killer boots and mini skirt!!!” Quite frankly, I don’t put that much thought into my day-to-day outfits. I don’t think it is a matter of conscious/unconscious because it doesn’t happen as a rule. Finally, I have no boundaries as to what I’ll wear in front of my son. Everything I have is appropriate since I threw my hooker outfits out long ago. :slight_smile:

I think InternetLegend hit it right on the head with this:

I don’t either. Yes, I make conscious decisions as to what I will wear, but they are based on things like “can I move about easily in these clothes, because I will be chasing children?” or “will puke/chocolate cake/magic marker wash out of this outfit?”

As for cleavage, I show it when I go out without the kids. BUT, I do dress in front of my children. I don’t show cleavage when I go to work, as it’s really not appropriate for my job.

Once again, I defer to InternetLegend for this statement:

I love this statement. It is SO true. Being a mom doesn’t mean you stop being a woman. Being a woman was what got you to momhood in the first place, so why give it up completely? Yes, changes need to be made in your lifestyle. You can’t just go out at the drop of a hat anymore. You can’t always get naked and do the wild thing in the middle of the afternoon on the kitchen floor (well, you can sometimes, but not as often as you used to ;)). And while it’s important for your kids to know that first and foremost you are their parents, it is vital that they learn that you are also human.

I stand corrected and I thank all of you for setting me straight. I guess my observations were tainted by my male mind. Sorry.

I bravely volunteer to be exposed to cleavages of all descriptions; I will endevour to report accurately, after the experiment.

VB Sits down and cracks open a beer.

Sorry, Chief and ladies…I couldn’t resist…

No smilies, in deference to Chief.

Trust our favorite Flyboy to find any excuse to flirt with the ladies. wink

Seriously though, I have to agree with the other ladies, Chief. Especially Internet Legend and Persephone. Now for those of you who have met me at one of the Tx Dopefests, what do you think of how I was dressed at them? That is how I dress most of the time, except for business and church. I have no hard and set rule on how to dress, just if it’s appropriate to where I’m planning on going. And, since I’m rather big-busted < just ask Mr Bear>, and I can’t stand anything tight around my neck <never catch me in a turtleneck!>, I tend to show some cleavage all the time whether or not I consciously plan on it. And, believe me, both of our children are well aware that Mom has boobies, so why should I go to great lengths to hide what I can’t hide anyway? <insert shocked look smilie>
All smilies have hereby been deleted, in deference to Chief’s delicate sensibilities on the aforementioned smilies.