The Postpartum Pajama Trap

How one hot mama almost gave up on style without even realizing it. Almost.

The Postpartum Pajama Trap

A few weeks ago, my husband came home from work and saw me in the new lounge pants I had just purchased from Gap. I had reached the last stretch in the kids’ bedtime routines and in the middle of making baby food for the next day.

“Those pants are really cute,” he said, loosening his tie. “Oh, thanks! I just got them,” I told him. He had started to say something else, but I’d pressed the blender setting at that moment and whatever he'd been saying got lost in the loud whir of my Beaba. “Sorry, what was it you were saying?” I finally asked, after the sweet potato had been adequately pureed. He sheepishly admitted, “Well, I was saying ‘thank god’, because it’s time you burned everything else you’ve been wearing at home lately.”

My first reaction was rage of the “how dare you comment on what I wear when I’m putting our children to bed?” sort. “Do you know how many times I’ve gotten meat sauce and spit up and sticky god-knows-what on me in the past two hours alone?”

As a feminist, I took offense to being told that my Mommy Mode look was not a turn-on. Like that should even be a factor in my what-to-wear-at-home equation. I also was shocked, because frankly, I never imagined he would even have a sartorial opinion about my “at-home” look.

But once I got over the initial sting of having my fashion choices criticized, I allowed him to elaborate. He explained that lately, because of our vastly different schedules, he only sees me in my “home” clothes. He leaves for work before I’ve showered and he gets home after I’ve changed out of my daytime wardrobe. “I like seeing you look cute,” he said. Understandable. Plus, he pointed out, I’d been wearing this stuff since I was pregnant and it had been nearly a year since I’d given birth to our second son. “Do you still need to be wearing the only shirts that fit you when you were nine months pregnant?” he asked.

Before we had kids and we were both in office jobs, we would meet for a drink after work and then go to dinner (and drink some more). By the time we came home it was time for bed. I basically had one pair of Hard Tail pants (remember those?) and a slinky tank top for the rare nights I was home before eleven-o-clock.

Since becoming a mom of two, the Bedtime Look has taken on a whole new meaning. The second the boys and I return from an afternoon at the playground, I tear off whatever I’ve been wearing. Off comes the cumbersome nursing bra and on comes the flimsy triangle bra. My jeans, covered in avocado and playground muck, go straight into the wash. And if my shirt has escaped unscathed that day, I put it away, grateful to have one less thing to wash.

My at-home clothes signal an end to the day and are the first step in my evening routine that ultimately culminates in me having a little time to myself. Once this outfit is on, I know I won’t have to fiddle with any snaps to nurse my little one before he goes to bed, and I know that when I climb into my preschooler’s bed to sing him songs that I’m not bringing the filthy subway seat or playground floor in with me.

But...while there is no arguing my need for a separate wardrobe when I come home, it doesn’t mean that I should still be cycling through the same three extra-large men’s t-shirts and Old Navy wide-leg pants from my last trimester.

Now, I’m not going to be greeting my husband at the door every night with a martini while donning a sexy maid’s costume (not that that wouldn’t be a fun idea one night). But I can wear clothes that don’t say “I give up completely on being attractive” that are comfortable, too. As a realist, and as a person committed to the work that a relationship-after-kids takes, I decided to take his advice.

Clothes carry with them so many associations and memories of what we were doing when we wore them. And truth be told, the feelings of the tail-end of pregnancy and those early, sleepless, newborn days were not things I needed to hold onto anymore. It wasn’t just my husband who thought I needed a new look--I did too. I made a “burn” pile of my clothes (ok, a “donate” pile), and began Operation Wardrobe Refresh.

And that night, as I grabbed my computer to start my new wardrobe search, I told him, “I appreciate your feedback, Love. But just so you know, it’s gonna cost you.”

Image source.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.

    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.


    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.


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    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.


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    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.


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    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.


    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.


    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.


    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.


    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.


    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.


    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

    This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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