Nothing reveals the lie that is Dylan’s “Forever Young” like spit up on a crop top.
There is, of course, a deep dignity built into the rearing of children, but that doesn’t mean we can’t ruin it by sticking to our pre-mommy ways.
Here are the trends that today’s moms seem to hold onto, even when they’re clearly setting themselves up for a lifetime chorus of “MooOOOMMM!” from the brood. Mothers of the world, let’s leave these trends in social media accounts past.
1. High-Waisted Bottoms
Lena Dunham does not have kids. Do you know how we know? Because she can wear pants that cover her belly button without people accusing her of rocking “mom jeans.”
The specter of the mom jean will follow you from the instant the umbilical cord is cut to the end of your days. Don’t give it any more ammo. Besides, the whole high-waisted thing is bound to pass back into the recycling bin of fashion soon…any day now…we’re waiting…
2. Snapchatting Everything
Your kids are cute. You want a record of that. We get it. But maybe our own dorky parents were onto something with their camcorders.
Snapchat is where the teens fled for refuge when the olds staged a bloodless coup of the dominant social media platform. Its impermanence is its appeal. (We’ll leave the thorny issue of screenshots for another day.)
So here’s some advice from someone who ought to have known better but didn’t: Stop Snapchatting your kid’s big moments and start experiencing them. Trust us; it’s way better.
3. Grey Hair Dye
For a brief moment in 2016, the cosplayers of the world took over mainstream fashion, leaving behind strands of cultural detritus that some moms still cling to, compulsively, like a ward against the inevitable.
Grey hair dye is one of these unfortunate holdouts. At the risk of stating the obvious, the second your kids start growing, you start aging. There’s no reason to rush into your silver years with faux-wizened hair colors.
4. Paleo and Other Anti-Gluten Diets
If you have Crohn’s disease or a true gluten intolerance, please disregard the following. If, however, you’re a one of the majority of humans whose guts are just fine with wheat, this message is for you.
The whole “Bread is the Devil” thing is fine when you’re just worrying about your own nutrition, but when kids enter the picture, you’ve got to meet them halfway. Our argument for giving up gluten-free diets once you’ve had kids is simple: You will not be able to resist sneaking bites of Spaghetti-Os. Work out a healthy, varied diet that you can actually share with a toddler.
5. Crop Tops
Kylie Jenner looks amazing with her midriff blazing into the camera flash. Of course, a huge part of her job is keeping her belly flat—even after having a child this past February.
It’s one thing to bare stretch marks and show off the baby weight you’ve lost (or not, especially if you couldn’t afford Kylie’s team of trainers) like badges of honor. If that’s your intention, by all means, go topless. But unless you’re an 18-year-old who’s famous for…what is it again? Well, we recommend a few more inches of fabric than the tops favored by the latest Instagram star.
6. Low Necklines
There’s something about becoming a mom that changes your relationship with your boobs. It is called “breast feeding.”
Besides, no kid wants to be anywhere near their mother’s very own “wardrobe malfunction.” Save the plunging necklines for a night when you’ve paid the babysitter to stay extra late.
7. Obsession Over the “Thigh Gap”
Actually, our caution against this trend extends well beyond moms to include pretty much everyone. It’s just extra-important for moms.
To quote doctor and author Vonda Wright, who spoke to Women’s Health Magazine way back in 2013, “Very few women have a large gap between their thighs. Thigh gaps really only happen through genetics—but even if you have wide hips, your legs can still touch if you have a lot of muscle.”
Striving for this impossible “beauty” goal is even harder when you’ve packed on baby weight, which is, we should mention, nature’s way of keeping you healthy through the trauma/miracle that is pregnancy. Plus, your daughter is looking to you for guidance. Don’t help society on its seemingly endless quest to give women and girls of every age body issues.
8. Living on Instagram
There’s a fine line between sharing your cute kid with the world and downright exploitation. The social media age may have obliterated that line, but as parents, it’s our job to try to reorganize it so that our kids don’t grow up to be as confused as we are.
We’re not saying you should delete your Instagram account. Just be aware when you’re taking adorable selfies with your little ones. Will this send the right message to the kids, or is it just about harvesting likes and followers?
9. Skin-Tight Dresses
Bandage dresses are great for the club. They’re a little less great for the preschool field trip. Slavish adherence to the fashion that got you through college is a surefire way to embarrass your kids.
If your children are anywhere near to middle school or, even worse, high school, it’s time to move a bit further to the right on the fashion continuum that stretches from yoga pants to potato sacks.
The less said about this the better. Just keep a few things in mind. First, it’s been nearly five years since Miley Cyrus’ performative equivalent of a teenager screaming, “I hate you, dad!” Second, your kids are watching you to learn how to act. Yes, even on the dance floor.
So, yeah. Best leave this one to the professionals.
11. Micro, Mini, and Monomolecular Skirts
Hey, moms are women complete. They should own the full range of bodily expression. There’s just one problem with leaving the house in a skirt that leaves your privacy up to a whim of the wind: Your kids are watching.
No matter how old they are, if you ever want to argue that your daughter shouldn’t go out “dressed like that,” you need to start modeling your fashion expectations now. Wear whatever you want when the ex has the kids. Just consider a bit of modesty an investment in credibility when the time comes to have these style struggles with your teenage daughter.
12. Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Other Smart Speakers
By now, you’ve seen the video. You know the one. That poor toddler just wanted to hear a song called “Digger Digger,” and the Amazon Echo responded with an inexplicable and explicit stream of language.
Until “smart speakers” get their act together, it’s probably best to stay well behind the cutting edge of technology. Like, maybe you could invest in an abacus and some papyrus. That’d be safe.
13. Axl Rose Jeans
Shredded blue jeans have cycled through stylishness more times than they have through the washing machine. It’s hard to tell if they’re in or out right now.
If you’re a mom, though, let’s just call them “out.” Permanently. Any bare expanse of flesh is going to deeply embarrass your kids as soon as they’re old enough to have developed a sense of shame. Plus, you are not a 1980s hair-band rocker (unless you are, in which case we apologize, Ms. Ford).
14. Facial Piercings
Punk rock moms are the best. However, your infant is not going to be impressed with your septum piercing. In fact, your infant is going to grab your septum piercing, and she is going to pull.
You will be shocked at the strength your baby has developed when she tugs at your septum piercing. Tears will spring to your eyes. You will then remove the piercing and start researching tattoo laser removal.
Save yourself the trouble. Invest in some discreet studs or let those holes close up.
15. Antique Rugs
Impress your friends with an illegally imported, hand-woven Persian rug, crafted from natural wool in a land that we continue to blast with sanctions. Do that, we mean, unless you are a mom.
If you’re a mom, don’t put anything on the floor that you don’t want covered in grape juice. In fact, if they make rugs out of that rubbery material they use for reusable place mats, that’s probably your best bet.