A journey from stay at home motherhood to family breadwinner

Selfish shopping!

After months of procrastinating, the decision was finally made when I got the previously elusive job offer – I am officially going to back to work, full time, and my husband is going to become a stay at home Daddy. To say we are both terrified is an understatement, but is also an exciting time. A change is as good as a rest, or so they say (who are “they” by the way?) and we are certainly going to experience some changes.

After three years as a stay at home Mummy, this week end I discovered one of the major plus points of being the breadwinner. I NEED new clothes and it is an actual need, rather than just a “want but trying to convince myself it’s an essential” need. I can’t remember the last time I got to go shopping without the children in tow let alone the last time I bought more than one thing for myself in one shopping trip.  Ok, so it wasn’t a total splurge – like many families with only one parent working, we are on a tight budget, but even so it felt good to leave the kids with Daddy and hit the shops in a totally self indulgent way.

Once I started though, panic set in. The dress code is “smart casual” but what does that actually mean in real terms? I gazed in confusion at the array of smart casual offerings – should I opt for a floral dress with a jacket or a pinstripe skirt, shirt and a cardi? Without knowing what everyone else in the office wears, self doubt and worry quickly set in. The more I looked the more I panicked. In the end I had things put by in most of the stores I had visited and I still had no idea what to buy. Unable to decide, I called my husband, subconsciously hoping that he would declare that there was chaos at home, I had been far too long and he needed me to rush home right away. That would give me an excuse to escape from the shopping centre without admitting defeat. Of course, things were fine at home and my husband urged me to take as long as I needed and enjoy my shopping trip – bless him!

Plan b, was to head to a coffee shop with a copy of Glamour magazine (trendy and only £2!!) and seek inspiration. Over coffee, which felt super indulgent without children to entertain, I wondered “what would Gok Wan do?”. I realised that what I needed were pieces to complement what I already had in my wardrobe. I remembered that I do still have some suitably smart clothes lurking at the back behind my Mummy casuals, so I made a list of those to help me decide what I needed to buy. Suddenly it made sense! Suddenly I felt excited about my shopping trip again and I hit the shops again with a renewed sense of purpose.

So what did I buy? A grey shift dress from Dorothy Perkins, a red cap sleeved top, a Cobalt blue short sleeved top (according to Glamour, cobalt is going to be big news), a couple of shirts and some purple tights. In my defence regarding the latter, a lot of what I already own is black, so if I am brave enough, I may add the coloured tights to make a statement. If I’m not brave enough, they were only £1 in Tesco! It was hardly the shop of the century but it did feel so good to shop a) alone and b) to only buy things for me!

Today I feel: Confident and excited about our decision.


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