Parenting Guru: I refuse to be a "frumpy mom"

What you wear can dictate how you feel as a mom

If there is one thing that I hate as a mom (oh, who am I kidding, there are a million things I hate as a mom, not the least of which is a leaky diaper), it is the assumption that having kids makes me frumpy.

Someone to whom I am very close once said (in all seriousness), "She would be a great mom--she already dresses in frumpy clothes."

In spite of the fact that we are on a supremely limited budget right now, I do my best not to fit the stereotype of a frumpy mom. Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

1) Make sure your clothes actually fit. There is nothing worse than a muffin top puffing out over a waistband that is too tight. On the other hand, clothes that are too baggy contribute to the frumpy mom image. Clothes that fit right are actually more flattering than sizes that fit wrong. When I go into a dressing room, I often have the same pair of pants in three different sizes so I can be sure to get the one that fits the best: not too big, not too small.

2) Invest in a couple special pieces that can mix and match. I have two pairs of jeans, a pair of dress pants and three or four tops that can either be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. These are my go-to items for those times when I need something nicer than yoga pants and a t-shirt. By mixing and matching and adding different jewelry and accessories, I can come up with 6 or 7 different outfits with those favorite and flattering pieces.

3) "Dress up" even for the drop-off line. I stay at home so there are days where I could easily wear pajamas and have bed head for most of the day. I know, however, that it would be hard to motivate myself to get anything done on those days. I shower, put on makeup and dress in clothes that make me feel pretty every. single. day. It is hard enough as a mom to feel good about myself when the most I might accomplish in a day is keeping my kids clothed and fed (and don't hold me to the first one). To keep from sinking into the mommy doldrums, I do the small things I can to help keep a positive mental attitude. Dressing nice and liking what I see in the mirror is one way I can do that.

How about you? What are your best tips for avoiding the "frumpy mom" stereotype?