It was the late 1980s/early 1990s, and school pickup was the same. Moms lined up in maroon or pine green (classic beautiful colors of the end of the last century) minivans, each mom wearing what was later coined as "mom jeans." These jeans will ill-fitting... in all the WRONG places. Despite the awfulness of such jeans, almost every mom wore them without apology.
Today, there's a new mom uniform, and you might just be wearing it right now. Let's see, shall we?
1. Top knot.
No matter how you style it, low, neatly on the tippy-top, or mid-head with strands sneaking out, the top knot is the mom's anthem of "I'm too busy to use my flat iron to give my hair unnatural beach waves every morning." Pinterest lies. It's not easy to use a flat iron (all 300+ degrees while trying to keep a toddler from touching the hot plates that mom says are "no no" and "dangerous" and "not for babies").
We carry coffee likes it's part of a well-styled ensemble. Our coffees are the size of Canada (and seem to boast of Canadian prices). Yes, we need our coffee, but we need others to know that we need it and that they need it too. And anyone who doesn't carry around a coffee, well, we just cannot trust them. I mean what else are they lying to themselves about?
3. Yoga pants.
Ahhh. Yoga pats. Black, long, and cozy. They say, "Look at my long, slender legs. Did I shave? You will NEVER know." There are so many options: control panel, letters stamped across the butt or down the leg, and different shades of black! Variation is irrelevant, really. Cool moms wear yoga pants. Period.
4. Big earrings.
The big earrings are to help keep people's eyes on our faces (our well-energized faces, thanks to aforementioned coffee). Big earrings are distracting and simultaneously pretty. There are feather shapes, hoops, and even cool ones from Etsy that dangle charms featuring sports team logos. Big earrings say, "I may be a mom, but I'm still relevant."
They might be infinity, t-shirt, or tassely. The scarf might hide our bra-less-ness, our stained tank, or our lack of a proper-fitting or matching top. Its purpose is multi, but mainly, it distracts you from our yoga pants and top knot and makes you think we are well-put together. Scarves are cheap, so we tell ourselves while at Target picking up three new ones... every week.
6. Exercise clothing.
Exercise clothing makes you think we worked out, but really, we just dropped our kids off at school and "ran" to Starbucks. When I say ran, I mean sat in our car checking IG while we waited in a mile-long line to buy a $9 seasonal venti latte (limited edition, people). Exercise clothing says, "I care about physical fitness. Bring on the yoga." But what it really means is, "I once thought about cross fit, and then I realized it's was draining and not enjoyable at all."
7. Purse: extra large.
It's really more like a bowling duffel or a diaper bag, but it has leather-y straps (that I can cradle in the crook of my arm like the celebs in People magazine) and a fun summery print, so you think it's a purse. Inside, much like Mary Poppins' bag, it contains everything you might need. Think a case of a toddler's explosive diarrhea fest, a random kid's split-knee, a surprise period-starting-while-standing-in-checkout-line-of-grocery-store (on the day you opted to wear the light gray yoga pants), or the apocalypse. Like a Boy Scout, we moms are always prepared.
These are ridiculously, unrealistically oversized (like Kim Kardashian's rear) with a little glitz in the corners to appear modern-cool but not presumptuous. They cover up puffy eyes (thank you spring allergies) or dark circles (thank you, teething eighteen-month-old). They serve as a headband when indoors. They say we care about UV rays and those things our moms called "crow's feet."
If we aren't holding our smart device, it's on our wrist. We are hip, edgy, and on it. We track our steps and our caloric intake (but our caffeinated beverage of choice is calorie free on any day of the week ending in -day). We text our spouses and mothers and girlfriends. We check our e-mail. We are needed, we are important, and we are certainly fabulous.
I wonder if one day we'll look back at our fashion choices and laugh at ourselves. Are today's yoga pants yesterday's stirrup pants? Will we giggle at our determination to be comfortable and caffeinated and casual-chic? Don't forget our our many, many, many Pinterest fails (think fishtail braids).
Or maybe like our moms, we'll decide we just didn't give crap, because we were so busy mothering. We just sat back, had another sip, and toyed with the idea of buying our next scarf.