shopping after babies, it’s labour

No matter how much you love it, shopping is still work. In my case, onerous work.

It took two Nordstrom’s sales associates ninety minutes and twenty different styles to outfit me with two bras this weekend. And to think there was a time when I didn’t like strangers in the fitting room with me.

There was also a time when my breasts didn’t need quite so much help, but that all ended around the time I had babies.

I still can’t make sense of it. One minute you’re pregnant with your dignity and the next you’re naked barfing into a metal trash can in the bathtub with an audience of interns. Or, you’re flat on your back with a relative on either side holding your legs behind your head while you push everything but the baby out of your body.

Seriously, they should really ease pregnant women into the process. If only ob gyns would say: “soon you’ll be naked wearing your knees as earrings in front of strangers, would you like to give it a dry run?”  Or, “how about we get you used to bathing with an audience, I’ll call in someone from the waiting room.”

You’d refuse, of course. But that’s the kind of  honesty you appreciate on the big day, trust me.

Now where was I?

Ah, yes! Shopping. I planned this shopping trip down to the minute. Since we moved to Whistler I decided we need to go to Seattle once or twice a year to buy necessities. I made lists. I googled stores. I checked reviews.

I shop much differently since the great declutter. I never buy anything that isn’t a ten, right now – not in a month when I lose five pounds. I never buy anything that looks great but isn’t comfortable. I only buy things for my real life (kids, work, Whistler) not my fantasy life (Beyonce’s) and I only buy things that I’d happily maintain for the rest of my life. If I buy something that’s simply a want (like perfume or makeup), I sample it at least twice on separate occasions before I buy it.

The result is some pretty arduous shopping. The try on to buy ration is about 30:1. And yet strangely, I still enjoy the process. I noticed a disturbing trend though on this recent trip. After picking over every last item in Nordstrom I chose six long-sleeved tops I was willing to try on.

A lovely girl followed me around whisking away my choices almost before the hangers left the racks and storing them away in a change room for me. But when I finally ambled into the change room to try them on, my six picks were hardly recognizable, interspersed as they were with her ten picks – for me! Does she think being this particular is easy?

It’s not, it’s exhausting. So please remind me how much work shopping is before I plan any more trips south. And, if I start looking wistfully at babies again, please suggest a labour dress rehearsal. You know I won’t go there again.

13 thoughts on “shopping after babies, it’s labour

  1. You have plunged me back to a dark place…a place you eventually laugh about of course, but dark nevertheless. Of course the net result ( little humans) are wonderful blog fodder…not that they necessarily appreciate that fact, but I view it as payback.

    • Such a dark place. Sorry to bring you back there. My kids are 5 & 10 and I’m clearly not over it. I could write an entire blog about my birth experiences and bore everyone to tears. You’re right though, payback is awesome!

  2. Great to follow you again Christine! I agree, birthing and the world beyond is a shocking life transformation. I didn’t exactly “choose” to have a fourth, but right now as I sit with wee Jimmy and stare into his big marble blue eyes, I feel blessed (despite the varicose veins). The big kids adore him – now 2 years old he’s a constant source of entertainment. No regrets!

    • Thanks for coming over Andrea. Wee Jimmy and the rest of them are such a blessing. If getting them here and through the first five years wasn’t so tough, I wonder if we’d appreciate the miracle that they truly are. I’d definitely have too many if the stork brought them though. Two year olds are the best comedians…to think I won’t have any more…sniff, sniff

  3. Oh my… well, I’ve never had a child and don’t intend to. When I was in the 9th grade we took a school trip to Washington DC where the Smithsonian was having an exhibit on the history of childbirth. I can remember standing there with my best friend, looking in absolute horror at an enormous set of forceps and thinking to myself… NEVER!! Of course, this wasn’t the reason I decided against kids, but still…

    But kids or not, I have always HATED shopping for clothes, so you have my deepest sympathies!

  4. Welcome Rebekah! I’ve been thinking about your ankles lately…hope that’s clearing up. I’ve had an itchy time of it lately too, turns out I’m allergic to chia seed. Who’s allergic to chia seed? I’m going right now to your blog to see what’s up.

  5. For me, it’s the actual trip across the border that’s labour. Having a British husband means being interrogated by rude, officious, humourless border guards, parking, waiting in line for visa with small children, waiting in another line so husband can be retina-scanned, fingerprinted and interrogated again, etc. I love me a good Seattle jaunt but, now that it’s not a ‘jaunt,’ it’s just not worth it anymore. Sigh…

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