In which going to the playground is high school all over again, and I still wanna be Avril Lavigne

This is me, without my filter, in real life, telling Jaime that this is my "eff frumpy mom attire outfit." Jaime is really fast with a camera, and I was having a real moment, so this showed up in the end. It's here mostly because I'm tired of pretending like I do have a great filter and don't actually say things like this in real life. I do. I mostly just whisper them.

A few weeks ago I took Jane to the park. It was one of those random 70 degree Southern spring days, right in the middle of a week of 50's and rain. I'm pretty sure our entire neighborhood had the exact same idea we did, because the park was absolutely full of moms, and a few dads, and about a million children. I was dressed just like I always am, except that I was also wearing leggings, which I felt were a little more "mom" appropriate of me (not saying anything about leggings here!). But still, I'm the girl with all the jewelry, and the makeup, playing on her iphone, and trying to overhear what the two moms close to me are talking about as they look and me and say things about "societal norms" while my two year old catapults off the end of the big kid slide at about 50 mph. The bottom line is, I left the park feeling like I was just walking out of high school all over again, and I was still  just the kid that looked different from everyone else and wanted to be Avril Lavigne. Since that time I've thought about it a lot. Mostly because Jane asks to go to the park just about every day, and I can't help but dread it a little bit inside.

Now to be fair, a big part of my issue is me. I still feel judgement and just about wilt beneath it. And let me tell you, in the world of parents, judgement is not doled out slowly. There are the helicopter parents who think I should be watching my child more, the outdoor lover parents who wander what the hell I'm doing to her dressing her like that, and the live-simply parents who wander what sort of an example I'm setting for my child by feeling the need to wear makeup every day. I really should be able to be ok with that. I know, because their opinions really don't have the power to define me or my well being. And I also know that they feel that way because different things are important to them. I can respect them for that, and I know that they love their children just as much as I love mine. But can I just tell you the mom at the park on her iphone-wearing three layers of free people and heels-and makeup perspective for a minute?

I wear what I wear because I love it. I wear dresses and makeup and fix my hair because I think it's fun, and because it's important to me. I want to feel beautiful for me, and for my love, and yes, even for my daughter, because I believe it's important to show her that motherhood doesn't have to rob me of my personhood. I wear lacy bras with no padding because I look like a pre-pubescent boy under there and I don't fucking need a real bra. Not because I'm trying to be scandalous and get your husband to look or to tell my daughter that it's ok to show off her boobs all the time. If she happens to get some gene from somewhere other than her family that gives her some real boobs we'll cross that bridge when we get there. But the future isn't looking hopeful for her. I wear heels because I love the way it makes my legs look, and I just have a real thing for shoes and the perfect pair makes me really happy. I play on my phone because it's half of my job, and my child is not my only focus, and because I use it to capture these memories of her. I watch my kid catapult off the slide, and fall down the stairs, and trip over the rocks because she is the most independent little thing I have ever met, and sometimes when you run really hard you fall a little harder too. That's going to be life for her, and I want her to learn it now. I want her to know that falling isn't the end of the world, and that she's going to be just fine (and to the employee at the jump gym last weekend, who dove from the OTHER SIDE of the building to catch my child and keep her from falling into a PADDED WALL [did I mention that it was padded? Like, with foam? Ok cool] right in front of me...I didn't catch her because I knew she didn't need it. Thanks for the help though).

We all see things a little differently. That's ok.

I love that diversity creates a picture that has color and life and longing.

In these pictures Jane looks like she had a run in with a bear. Really, we were playing ball in the back yard and I got a little overly zealous, and literally kicked the thing right out from under her. She ate an entire face-full of dirt and rocks. I felt pretty terrible, but guys, it's real life. We all make mistakes. Sometimes my outfits are too much, I have massive fashion fails, I forget that my kid is two and kick a ball out from under her, and sometimes I'm checking my phone because I'm lazy, and addicted to instagram, and I'm trying to escape the discomfort of social situations. All of those things are reality. Life is messy and rough and full of mistakes. But for me those things don't mean that I have to change my whole philosophy. I'm going to wear it anyways, I'm still a rebel at heart. And I'm becoming more ok with that.

So the other day when I put this outfit on, contemplated going to the park, and immediately thought "everyone is going to look at these shorts and judge," I texted my friend Jaime and said "I look like a bum, but I also don't look like a stereotypical mom. We should take pictures." And because Jaime is the most amazing, real, fun person you'll ever meet, we did (you can, and should, check out her photography page, Our Ampersand Photography, and the kick ass style blog she runs, She Wore it Anyways. This girl is killing it guys). And then we had the brilliant idea of putting a two year old in a drainage ditch, and Jane thought it was the BEST DAY EVER. The last picture of her is immediately after she found the only foot deep pothole in the entire ditch and managed to fall face first into it. Which she thought was the most incredible experience ever. Pretty sure she's winning at life right there, and we could all take a few tips from her. Dress up. Get dirty. Be real. Splash in puddles.

(Wearing Free People top, Urban Outfitters Bra, H&M shorts, Wolverine 1000 mile boots [Samantha Pleet for Wolverine], Earrings from World Market. Jane is Wearing H&M top, overalls, and hightops)

(edit: I obviously can't spell. Even when I'm desperately trying to get it right. Avril. NOT Averil. FML)