This is basically the epitome of “mom uniform”, but I ain’t mad at it. It helps that I like all the individual pieces a lot, even though they’re as plain and basic as they come. I’ve been wearing a lot of neutrals and muted colours on weekends, saving up my brights and prints for the week, and I’m really enjoying that low key vibe. I’m sure I’ll feel differently come summer, but for now, our cruel winter has sent me flying into the arms of warm, cozy knits — style be damned. Sweater on sweater action? I’m all over it.
These chinos are definitely a summer weight, but I was headed to an indoor birthday party on this particular occasion, so I decided to break them out early. They’re a looser fit than my usual skinny everything pants silhouette, and super soft. (Come to think of it, there’s enough room in the leg that I could probably wear my fleece leggings underneath, which would make these pants a winning proposition for all kinds of weekend errand-running this winter. Hmmm …) I like that the contrast band at the waist and calf makes them a little less boring. I’m a cool mom, okay?
They tell you to “never say never”, and that is solid advice because, inevitably, “never” proves far shorter in duration than one expects. For example, in my case, “never” lasted about 5 years.
It was sometime in 2012 that I decided I would NEVER EVER get a pixie cut again. And you know what is happening on top of my head as I write this? That’s right, a pixie cut. Granted, it’s not as drastic a pixie as my last one. It’s really more of a very, very short bob … except at the back, where it sure feels like a pixie. Did I mention there is a touch of undercutting going on at the sides as well? No? Well, that’s what one gets for saying “never”.
As with all my hair decisions, this pixie cut was an entirely impulsive move. “Maybe I should get a pixie again,” I told myself one morning on the way to work, and by 10 AM that same day, I had a hair salon appointment booked. The appointment itself was not until the following morning, and I hate how life sometimes tries to make me reconsider my dubious decisions before it’s too late. Silly life! I always double down on dubious decisions. I did have a brief moment of serious doubt on the eve of my haircut (more on that in a moment), but I plunged on. As for the result … I’m pretty happy with it. A part of me wishes I had pushed myself a little further towards the “edgy” end of the spectrum; closer to, say, Michelle Williams’ do. I ended up compromising a bit, and sticking with slightly longer layers on the sides just so that, in the event of an immediate change of heart, the re-growing process could bypass the whole Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club-era Beatles phase. Depending on how I feel at my next appointment, I may ask my stylist to go a bit shorter on the (under)sides.
I love long hair. I really do. I just don’t love my hair long; it’s not the right texture to be long (fine and kinda lifeless) and my hairstyling skills aren’t good enough to completely overcome that. I think I look pretty good with long hair … but I also look OK with short hair. And here’s the thing: I love a big change. Every few years, I need a big change. I stopped colouring my hair almost a decade ago, so now the only real impact-making change left within my control is, what else, a big chop. For better or worse, I’ll probably be on the “pixie-bob-lob, repeat” cycle forever. Is there also a saying, “never say forever”? I guess I’ll find out …
As it happens, the one thing that did have me second-guessing myself was the question of how a new haircut would affect my style. Many of the women whose pixie cuts I’ve admired in recent years tend to have a more minimalist aesthetic than I do, often with gamine leanings. Like Michelle Williams. While I admire that sort of look (and will, on occasion, pick outfits with a similar vibe), I also know that it’s not my predominant preference. Would my favourite clothes look strange with a new haircut, I wondered. I ended up finding reassurance from an unlikely source; I adore Elisa Nalin’s sartorial exuberance, but have long come to terms with the fact that I’m nowhere near cool enough to pull off a similar aesthetic. However, looking at pictures of Elisa rocking a short pixie AND lots of colourful prints was all the proof I needed that getting a pixie would not require me to embrace black, grey and white as my everyday rainbow.
Ironically, the first outfit I wore after getting my hair cut? Black, white and grey. In my defence, I had a hearing that day. Also in my defence: I did wear a bold floral. And I loved rocking my pixie.
I mentioned in my last What I Read post that I’d been exploring the literature on Enneagram typology, and one of the best things to come from that has been my discovery of Constructive Living by David Reynolds. It’s a very short book, and as straightforward as they come, but it’s full of actionable prompts for personal growth based on/inspired by a form of therapy originating in Japan (with strong roots in Zen Buddhism). I found it through an Enneagram-focused blog, which recommended it as a must-read for Type 4s, but I think the takeaways would be relevant to a broader range of people. [Note/Warning: there were a couple of references to homosexuality that I found questionable, which may be due to the fact the book was originally written in the early 80s.]
For fellow parents, I would recommend All Joy, No Fun by Jennifer Senior. It is not — I repeat, it is NOT — a parenting book. You won’t necessarily learn new techniques for dealing with colicky babies or boundaries-pushing toddlers, but you will probably recognize yourself on every page … and laugh or cry depending on the chapter. It’s a book about parenthood: what it means, and what it does to us. After I finished it, I decided that it was going to be the only book I would ever give parents-to-be from now on; and then I changed my mind. I think it’s best appreciated by people who are (already or still) in the thick of it (whether with babies, toddlers, or older kids). One of the most important tools I had as a parent-to-be (maybe the only one, haha!) was my blind optimism. This book is for people on the other side of that optimism, who are probably wondering: now what? Or, perhaps, what next? It reassures parents that their struggles are universal and, most importantly, that they are doing just fine.
This older HuffPost article has a click-baity title (She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink — dun, dun, dun) but is an excellent reminder about the importance of expressing the love and gratitude we feel for our partners in ways that are meaningful to them, not necessarily to us. My husband and I don’t fight very often, but when we do it’s almost always over really dumb, minor sh*t involving household chores. I think the writer’s point that you don’t have to understand *why* something (you think is irrelevant and/or illogical) is important to your spouse; you just have to understand that it’s a question of feeling valued and respected for them, and pick your battles accordingly.
Lastly, I’m stealing this post from Xin’s news round-up because I found it really interesting as well: Refinery29 rounded up a bunch of people and asked them to share their most expensive purchase of 2016. I found the answers fascinating in the variety of both the items bought and the stories/rationalizations behind the purchases. I love reading people’s stories about money, and I often wish it wasn’t such a taboo subject in our society. For what it’s worth, my family’s most expensive purchase of 2016 was a king-size bed frame for our master bedroom (approx. $1,700, paid for with a cash-back credit card, with the total balance cleared each month). Feel free to share your stories in the comments if you’re feeling up to it.