Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 240: On Belonging to Other People.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Micro’s Fall Wardrobe.

I did a big shop for micro this week and shared almost every single recent purchase (plus sizing details) here. I will be sharing a roundup of mini’s big fall purchases this upcoming week, but I did order several pieces from Cecil and Lou that just arrived and are beyond adorable, including this dress for a few Halloween festivities we have coming up and this adorable gingham. (Her favorite color is blue.)

I’m planning on ordering my children’s Thanksgiving outfits this weekend and I am having an uncharacteristically difficult time deciding for mini between this La Coqueta (currently on sale!!), which is calling my name because I have been thinking I will wear burgundy (possibly one of the new burgundy velvet nap dresses launching next week? — check out the line sheet here), but I also love this mulberry plaid style, which would look adorable with these velvet bow shoes. Decisions, decisions!

You’re Soooo Popular: Le Transitional Dress.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

the fashion magpie blog best sellers

+This gathered poplin sleeveless dress, which could be worn with a turtleneck beneath or a cardi over to accommodate fall.

+Two mini boxwood wreaths for $16 — I love tying these off with black and white striped grosgrain and hanging in windows!

+This gorgeous SEA-inspired blouse (under $100).

+CHIC Target blouse.

+Precious velvet bow Mary Janes for a little love for only $25.

+This spectacular Liberty puffer.

+My favorite everyday winter boots. So warm and comfortable. Can’t recommend enough for my New England/Chicago ladies.

+NBs in the greatest color combo — love the corduroy detailing!

+Velvet and pearl bow earrings! 20% off ATM. Absolute perfection for Thanksgiving/Christmas.

+Personalized Christmas placemats for littles.

+Van Cleef-inspired earrings or bracelet at a great price.

+Pair of two cottage-chic lamps for $60 (!). Would be great on a console or as bedside table lamps in a guest room.

+Personalized wreath sash.

+Rust-colored corduroy dress, currently on sale for only $40.

+My cashmere polo.

+Chunky cardi for $60.

Weekend Musings: On Being Someone Else’s.

I recently had dinner with a girlfriend who is a mother to three young children and, at some point in the conversation, she shared, vulnerably, that she felt she’d lost her sense of identity in recent years. As a teen, she was an athlete; as a young woman, she was motivated by career and various other hobbies that have since taken a back-seat to the minutiae of raising a troop of little ones. “Sometimes I stop and wonder, just, who am I?”

I so understood what she meant. It’s not only that the logistics of motherhood have often led me to let go of former pastimes that have shaped my sense of self, but that I have also sometimes faltered in my confidence as a mother in ways that have made me feel less certain about who am I in a greater sense. I have occasionally been beleaguered by questions of: “Oh, so and so uses this parenting philosophy — shouldn’t I?” and “Oh, I haven’t yet enrolled my children in x activity, but everyone else has — chop, chop!” and “I don’t know how that family is able to do xyz with their children when it seems impossible for me to do the same — what am I doing wrong?” Or sometimes I find myself wondering if I am being too strict or too lax, and what that means about me? E.g., am I overbearing in certain areas? Am I not assertive enough in others? These questions of parenting then lead to a strange pause in the looking glass. Who is that woman? What kind of mother is she?

My tenure as a parent has afforded new purchases in confidence. I feel increasingly self-assured in my decision-making because I have seen things work, or not work, or have tinkered, or have simply made peace with compromise. As an example, I used to positively cringe when other moms would ask about my children’s sleep schedules. I felt I was doing the wrong thing by not sleep training them, but I also had a maternal intuition that overrode those concerns. When mini was young, one of my friends told me, squarely: “You really need to let her cry it out.” She said this with love and concern, as I was going on eight months without a single night of uninterrupted sleep, and I do wonder sometimes if she was right to come at me with the tough love — yet at that moment, I just felt crestfallen at her disapproval. Still, I did not sleep train. With micro, I found myself better equipped to just say something self-deprecating but firm and move on. Two weeks ago, I was chatting with a mom at a playdate, and she mentioned both of her children were terrible sleepers and asked for advice. I just squeezed her hand. “Don’t ask me,” I said, “Neither of my children slept through the night until they were around a year. But it was just what felt right to me at the time.” We sighed in companionship. I don’t know whether it was the solidarity or the fact that I felt I had finally, truly owned my own decision-making while also acknowledging that it was imperfect and probably not well-suited to anyone else, but I felt reassured. I own my decisions.

This doesn’t fully get at what my friend was sharing at dinner the other night, but in writing the previous paragraphs, it occurred to me that matrescence is maybe more of a protracted transformation than I first thought, and perhaps that’s a useful insight. Maybe “becoming a mother” is not something that transpires the day you give birth, but something that unfolds for years and years as you gradually relax into who you are as a parent. Come to think of it, maybe you never fully relax into a given “parent posture” anyway. Maybe matrescence is more about continuous evolution than it is a one-step conversion.

In any case, I came across this quote from Shel Silverstein this past week and it felt appropriate to the conversation:

i can be someone's and still my own shel silverstein

I was reminded of some of my musings from years ago on this subject, where I wrote: “Don’t let your motherliness sit as a counterbalance to yourself.  By that I mean that motherhood is a part of me — not another version of me, and also not all of me.” Easier said than done sometimes.


+Fun Van Cleef-inspired hair slides at a great price.

+Chic black fall mini for under $30.

+I’m not usually much of a sweater dress gal, but I think I must have this Staud.

+WOW this caftan dress looks like a Vita Kin, but costs a fraction of the price. Obsessed!

+These popular fitted pants are on sale!

+Intrigued by this lip glow oil.

+Fun activity for little ones to tuck away for a rainy day. I recently restocked my cabinet for these kinds of occasions with a new box of duplos, astronaut figurines for sensory play, and of course puffy stickers.

+This $80 SEA-inspired dress is in my cart.

+Such a pretty cardigan.

+These chic earrings are 15% off this weekend.

+Still obsessed with this daily SPF. The best I’ve ever used. Have turned everyone I know onto it!

+Another spectacular Thanksgiving dress option.

+How spectacular is the calligraphy on these personalized notecards?

+Some new items added to J. Crew’s already epic sale, including this turtleneck poncho (love these for cool fall days) and these twill joggers. I still think these classic cardigans in heathered pink and blue for only $12 for little girls are the best bargain on the site — such good colors, and stocked in all sizes! You can get an extra 20% off if you’re a cardholder with code CARDLOVE, making them around $10!

+OO yes this velvet faux wrap dress in the burgundy.

+Fab fall footwear.

+Love the shape of this navy sweater dress.

+Can’t believe this rug is $200! So fab.

+Fabulous statement puffer — and another one here.

+Thinking ahead to Christmas

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

2 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 240: On Belonging to Other People.

  1. Your statement “Maybe matrescence is more about continuous evolution than it is a one-step conversion “made me stop in my tracks and ponder my personal perspective. As I have lived more of life than many of your readers, I would share and maybe even encourage all to look at it as an evolution of yourself developing into the person you want and have always strived to be! Life is HARD and I truly embrace these trials as guiding me to my unique purpose here on earth. It’s taken a long time, but I now try to embrace the difficult times, as I’ve learned it’s too hard to fight them anymore!
    Thanks for these words and retrospect of life. So interesting!

    1. Hi Cynthia – I love having your perspective as someone with tenure and wisdom. Thanks for the encouragement here! I love the idea that we are always “developing into the person we want to be.”


Previous Article

Next Article