Stacy’s Mom(Jeans) Ain’t Got it Going On

What’s old is new is a little lie, at least when it comes to fashion. When an old trend is resurrected, it usually has a modern twist that allows it to live again, even if some of us wish it remained in retirement – or was pronounced dead on arrival. That is my wish, despite the opinion of popular culture and my fashion forward niece, for mom jeans.

If you were born in any year of a decade that begins with a 7 or an 8, these articles of clothing should not only make you cringe, but make you think of this:

MomjeansThis clip aired on SNL in 2003, when we  stood on the ugly, I mean right, side of mom jeans.

That is why I’m failing to share in the excitement from anyone above the age of 35 over their comeback.  Take a conversation I had with someone, (whom we will call A. Friend), during a recent trip to Nordstrom:

“Omg – mom jeans are back!” Her voice rang out, beckoning me to see.

I put an unattainable pair of Golden Goose sneakers back in their proper place. “Ewww – why??”

“They’re IN.”

Now I lowered my head and peered at her as if I was wearing sunglasses, even though we were inside. “That does not mean you should put them ON.”

One would think, at the age of 46, with two pregnancies behind me, I would have delighted in this resurgence and ran to the register with a few pairs. I did no such thing.

A similar conversation occurred with my twelve year old niece, who was actually wearing them the other day.

“You like mom jeans?” I couldn’t help but ask. 

She nodded vigorously. “Didn’t you wear them when you were young?”

“No. No, I did not.” 

She looked confused. “Why?”

I thought back to my young adulthood, when boys spent hours trading wildly inappropriate mom jokes with each other, and girls wondered if they were headed for denim disaster in ten to fifteen years. Neither of these thoughts seemed like answers a cool, yet sage aunt should give to her niece.

“Because I wasn’t a mom. And you’re twelve – you don’t need them!” That’s what I came up with.

But that’s what everyone is failing to understand. They are called mom jeans because no one else used to wear them except, you guessed it, moms!  And they were meant to hide the wondrous female physique that had borne children. The very fabric of their being made young people think moms were frumpy and only capable of having good mom genes. That, my friends, is the total opposite of what we can – and should –  be thinking in 2020. Not all superheroes wear capes, but they all should wear a pair of great fitting jeans. 

Forties fun

Falling Slowly

It’s officially fall, and even though it’s 85 degrees outside, it’s also the first week you should have anything pumpkin spice hit your lips. I know, I know, Starbucks. You started almost a month ago. Everyone “loves fall,” just like people “really do love kale.”  

Don’t get me wrong – sweater weather and football games are a cozy combination. My husband has an October birthday. Sunset colored foliage, cider donuts, and a crisp dry cider are all lovely experiences. But when you’re a teacher, a lover of all things summer, and the weather is still ripe for beachcombing, it’s hard to jump into crunching leaves and apple picking. 

The jumping is my issue. It begins in August. Sand hasn’t even been shaken from my beach towel when pre-season football starts inundating the television. And I get that; I played and/or coached fall soccer for a very long time. But as soon as the first episode of Hard Knocks hits the screen, everyone seems to want to fast pass it into the new season. It’s still August when Halloween costumes begin creeping onto Target’s shelves, next to the school supplies. 

I’ll stop with the word play. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush. A soon as school starts, my mind starts churning with thoughts of what do my kids want to be for Halloween, even what do they want from Santa. I could pretend and say I just like to be prepared, but if I’m being honest, it’s driven by inane fears of NOT being prepared, or being the last to do something. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was motivated by superficial reasons – the desire to be amazing at everything – which ultimately leaves me amazing at nothing. 

This year I want to keep my priorities grounded in things I really value. I want to channel my inner Mark Manson and not give a f— about things that aren’t worth the pain in my brain.  Just see where a day takes me, slow down and wait a minute.

Falling slowly may not sound exciting, but it’s still enjoyable. My husband and I dated for three years before we got engaged. As a female who was in her early thirties at the time, I’m sure I felt the pull to get married, and I’m sure I let that get in the way of how much fun we were having. Thank goodness he had the sense to move slowly and steadily. The result has been pretty cool. 


Ferraro info


Sometimes writing is not therapeutic. Sometimes it’s hard, and it forces you to hear the cacophony of thoughts vying for space in your brain, (that is, if you read it out loud, like me). And they aren’t creative thoughts. They are thoughts of worry, fear, and anxiety. Thoughts that keep me awake at night, make me drink more wine, run like Forrest Gump, or just lay in bed, fetal position, covers up to my ear. Writing about such thoughts gives them life, and I just want them to go away. So when this happens, I stop writing. And that, I have found, is the worst thing I can do.

The events of the past nine months of my life, (and no, I am not having a baby), ranged from awesome to hysterical, to wondrous and heart breaking. Some amazing things happened, while other things made me wonder about the world and just what the heck goes on in it. Not trying to go all existential on you, but I’m finally ready to reflect upon and write about these months. I also refuse to let my emotions override the joy I get out of writing – and living. 

Here’s the good stuff: an actual publication accepted an article I wrote. My kids continue to grow, make me laugh and desire to be better at life. I had a pretty exceptional year professionally, and I don’t regret any choices I made – personally or professionally. I crushed a couple of physical fitness goals, fostered positive relationships, and overall, had a damn good time.

Then some bad stuff happened: My best friend’s cancer came back. We pre-celebrated and thought she beat it. So far, we were wrong. 

I lost someone with whom I was extremely close to in college. While someone I love began fighting for her life, someone else, whom I cared for deeply, chose to end his. 

I’m not sure which of those events shocked me more. So I shut down. I got sad, confused, and even angry at times. I stopped writing because I didn’t feel like I could, or that I had the right to narrate my thoughts. Writing made these two events too real; they paralyzed me and overshadowed everything else. For a few months, I let myself be mired in the anxiety, sadness, sleeplessness, the running – and yes – the wine. 

Then I realized something: This was not about me. Nothing is about me. My best friend has cancer. My college friend was in so much pain that the only solution he could find was to leave this earth. What the hell did I have to be mad about?? So I started talking to myself. This was not the positive, encouraging self talk everybody preaches. This was a reality check and a kick in the pants. And I was talking to myself the way I would talk to my best friend, because a best friend shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when you are being ridiculous.

 I literally looked at myself in the mirror and, (not out loud), said Get up, Girl. You don’t have anything to be mad, or sad, or depressed about. You should be grateful – you have a family, a career, a healthy body and mind to celebrate. Don’t cry over your best friend, fight with her. Don’t say you’re going to reach out to someone, just reach out. Start writing and creating again. Start friggin’ cooking dinner again! (I realize that last one isn’t for everyone – I happen to really enjoy cooking things.)  Live the best way you can for as long as you are lucky enough to do it. 

So I’m writing. I’m fighting. I’m cooking. Yes, I’m still drinking wine, just much less of it. I’m also still staying strong, and I’m running – not from anything, but towards everything. 


Fit Bodied Girls

I rarely get manicures. The polish always chips within a day, and I hate looking at chipped polish. If I get a mani, it’s always clear – I refuse to stress over nail polish. Pedicures, on the other hand, are pure bliss. They last longer, they remind me of summer, you can read something while they dry, and you can wear flip flops.  So when my friend from work asked if I wanted to get an impromptu pedicure and cocktail one Friday afternoon, I was thrilled. In my excitement, however, I had forgotten about one thing.

As we were walking out the door, I suddenly stopped and touched her arm. “I don’t think I can go,” I blurted.  “I’m wearing jeans!”

I was wearing jeans. Since the trend of skinny jeans has not yet left the building, my calf muscles are constantly confined, barely able to breathe through tightly stretched denim. Wearing said jeans while trying to relax during a pedicure is impossible; there is risk of circulation cut off, not to mention the humiliation I would have to endure.

“OOOh, too tight, too big.” The lady at the salon will tap me, as she tries in vain to lift the fabric over the lower part of my leg and breathes heavily, like she’s competing in an Olympic sport.  No woman, I don’t care how comfortable she is with her physique, is excited when she hears the phrases “too big” and “too tight” in reference to one of her body parts. And while calves may not seem like a huge deal, they used to be a source of embarrassment to me. I let comments about them contribute to the negative image I had of my body.

“Girls who play sports get fat.”

“Jennifer,” (Let’s give her a quintessential 80’s name.), reported this to me in sixth grade. I was eleven, Bruce Springsteen was my jam, and soccer was my game. Weaving my way through the weirdness of middle school, I was beginning to know myself and the rush I got from being active, whether I was playing soccer, swimming, or simply running like a child. I was also starting to compare myself to other girls. If you are familiar with, or remember, middle schoolers, you know they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Girls can develop early and wear women’s clothing, or they can remain tiny and look like they wear a 6X. I was somewhere in between. Until that year, I hadn’t given my calves – or the rest of my body – much thought.

“Look,” Jennifer pointed below my knee. “Fat.” Then she hoisted one leg onto a desk and pointed to her calf. “Skinny.” Red hot shame burned through my insides. Someone had just called me fat. Being eleven, I wasn’t able to separate facts from fiction. My calves were bigger than hers because they were strong, I was not fat, and so what the f*!*! if I was??  But the way I saw it, if one person thought I was fat, then other people must think it as well, and in middle school, that thought was devastating. From that moment on, I thought about ways to hide my calves. I even changed the way I dressed to cover them. Unfortunately, this complex plagued me, and I let it seep its way into my whole body. It got worse in seventh grade, when I woke up with boobs. Boys started paying attention to me, and I felt nervous and ashamed; I even tried to conceal my chest by taping it down. I know. I’m lucky I didn’t end up in the ER.

In retrospect, I know shouldn’t have let “Jennifer” dictate how I viewed my body, but at the time, I didn’t have the tools to shrug her off, laugh at the absurdity of her comment, or even retaliate. I wasn’t taught how to accept my physical being, let alone love it. Body parts didn’t exist in my house; I was always afraid to talk about how I felt, and my mom was always trying to be thinner.  To have been called fat was embarrassing to admit. I thought being thin was the ideal girls were supposed to strive for.

It’s ironic that the one thing I didn’t do was quit sports. I don’t even think I made the connection that being athletic was developing the muscles I once wanted to hide. It just felt so good to play. Soccer became my solace. Running gave me a sense of freedom and cleared my head. Swimming let me spend summers lifeguarding and not fearing the ocean. Later on, I learned how to incorporate weight training into my routine, and I uncovered muscles other than my calves. I’m so grateful for them now – they provide me strength, power, and longevity.  They helped me heal quickly from two c-section surgeries. They will help me recover if I injure myself in the future, they will protect my bones as I get older, and they will even let me rock a bathing suit this summer.

Sorry, Jennifer, but girls who play sports don’t get fat, they get fit.

FitBodiedGirlSo although I freaked for a moment that Friday afternoon, I went for the pedicure with my coworker. The woman in the salon broke a sweat as she pushed my jeans as far up my leg as they would go. And when she glanced up at me, exasperation in her eyes, I just shrugged and smiled. “Just let the jeans get wet,” I told her. “My calves are used to it.”


Forties fun

One Word – Live

When you’re young, you don’t think that one day your best friend might die. If she called you three times in a row, it was probably to tell you the same story she had already spilled on the bus, during lunch in the cafeteria, and then again while lingering in the hall and avoiding algebra.

Somewhere in time, however, this shifts. When you get older, have parents who are aging, and have become fledgling parents yourselves, repeated phone calls from people close to you take on a different meaning.

So the day Liz called me, not once, not twice, but three times in a row, I had a sick and surreal feeling that something close to death was happening.

“What’s wrong?” I picked up on the third call. I have no memory of what she said next, just like I don’t have a childhood memory of us becoming friends. She was just always there – from playground wars, to sleepovers, to teenage drama – through every stage of life she was my loyal defender and confidante. Her not being there was never an option.

Even when she uttered the phrase, breast cancer, denial ensued. This wasn’t our life – her life – we were just brunching on the episode of Sex in the City, when Samantha reveals her diagnosis to the group. It wasn’t real.

“You bet your ass it was f-in real. And it sucked.”

That’s Liz, in my ear, today, thankfully still able to use the same flat tone and vernacular she’s used since 1985.  She fought, kicked cancer in the teeth, and if you knew her, you wouldn’t be surprised. What did surprise me, however, is how the fallout of this experience affected Liz – and me. Sure, we own the privilege of using macabre humor about her playing the cancer card, but we also, within the confines of conversations only people with 30+ years of friendship can have, discuss how we’ve come to look at life, in our mid forties and, for Liz, thank God, cancer free. She and I can also make jokes regarding annoying cliches about life, but behind the laughter, there is an unspoken agreement: they are all true.

It’s sad, but also true that it takes a near catastrophic event for a real shift to occur.  In a bizarre and beautiful way, I’m a little thankful my best friend had cancer. Without it, I’m not sure she and I would have adjusted our outlook on life, which is to just f’in LIVE, as Liz would say. It’s safe to say we did not make any new year’s resolutions. I even abandoned the recently touted practice of choosing one word to commit to for the year. My word was going to be “better.” It was  short lived, pun intended. I had no desire to commit, and as soon as I revealed my word, thus began the litany of imperfections I needed to improve. Not really into that right now. I’m into the cliches and quotes. I won’t make you throw up and list them, but I will say, I’m not wasting my time here. Simply put, I’m working on doing what makes me happy, telling people how I feel, acting normal when I’m nervous, showing love to people I love, and accepting that life can shift in a moment. What I’m trying not to do? Be insecure. Wait for something to happen. Punish myself. Jump to made up conclusions.

I guess in some ways, this is trying to be better. I can commit to that.