Monthly Dose of Oxygen

Flight attendants tell you that, in the event things go south, you should put your oxygen mask on before helping others. After our last flight, this got me thinking.

Well, my first thought was, wow if you really think about those instructions, that’s really cutthroat and it’s every man for themselves here (see ya at the end, suckers!). From a mom’s perspective, isn’t your first instinct to make sure your kids are safe and settled before you take the time to put yours on? Don’t these instructions go against all that we know as moms? But really, this is the perfect analogy for motherhood.

I’m fortunate to have a wonderful life in a lot of ways, but in the day-to-day chaos of motherhood, can I say I’m happy every minute of every day? Uh, no. Would you be happy if you were bargaining with not one, but two, toddlers to do something you previously thought was painstakingly simple (ie: putting on a shirt)? Or if you were wrestling a surprisingly strong toddler into his carseat or stroller in 95 degree heat (with 100% humidity, because we live in the midwest). Sounds like you’re living the dream, am I right?

When I poured my heart out to my mom and confessed my overwhelming mom guilt that I wasn’t a 10 on the happiness meter 24/7, she told me it’s normal. So, surely other moms I know feel this way too, even if maybe they’re a little hesitant to say it out loud. No shame here, ladies, I’ll admit it for all of us. So now what we do?

Well, here we are (if you’re still reading): your monthly dose of oxygen. A new series in our little blog that focuses on doing things that encourage you to put on your oxygen mask first. Because think about it, if you can’t do something to make yourself feel better (either for you or the space around you), how can you be the best mom you can be?

Our first topic? Clutter. Maybe this is on my mind because it’s such a necessary evil during the moving process…and because we’re still unpacking boxes. But if you think about it, can’t motherhood basically be summed up by saying you’re in a constant state of picking up? So, it’s a very relevant topic for sure.

Hear me out, I’m not suggesting you declutter your whole house during one nap time. I’m suggesting we start small with something like your closet. And if you keep reading, you’ll find an added bonus with this one, and who doesn’t like a BOGO deal?

Your closet is such a delicate space because it could be a minimalist’s dream or it could be borderline hoarder status. Which one are you working with? Pains me to admit, I’m in the latter group. I’m a clothes whore–love to shop, find great deals, and put outfits together–but I don’t follow the “buy one new thing, take one old thing out” motto (do people really do that, or did my dad just tell me that because I had so many clothes for all of my post-college moves?).

My obsession made my closet look like a jam-packed, albeit organized by color and full of options, mess of clothes that probably were only worn once or twice. When we moved into our house, the weight of just a portion of my clothes caused the rod to fall out of the wall. Clearly, it was a result of poor construction.

When one of my best friends raved about her experience with The Color Key, I figured it probably couldn’t hurt to check it out. I searched their Instagram, and because any account related to clothes intrigues me, I was hooked. Then I convinced Ryan that The Color Key would guarantee a closet detox.

After you send in selfies draped in various colors along with some details about your every day lifestyle, Annie and Liz brilliantly perform a (completely virtual!) color analysis that reveals your season and personal best colors. They send you an email with so much info about your season and colors, suggestions on hair, makeup, and accessories, a celebrity who shares your season, and even links to items in your colors that fit your lifestyle.

Their Instagram is so engaging and filled with a ton of grab-and-go tips too!

Before opening the email with my results, I was um, let’s say over-confident. I was voted “Most Likely to Appear in a Fashion Magazine” in high school (the year I graduated is irrelevant; I hold on to that cheap plastic plaque like it’s one of my greatest lifetime achievements), so obviously I thought I possessed a great wealth of fashion knowledge. Wrong.

Take the color black for example. Doesn’t everyone assume that it’s universally flattering? Spoiler alert: it’s not. At least not for soft autumns like me, who should steer more towards darker, muted browns instead. So I’m giving all my black sweaters to my friend who is a season that can wear black (I suppose we’re both winning here). I don’t have to completely part with my love of animal prints, gingham, stripes, and color either…I just have to retrain my eyes to focus in on items that are my colors. Good thing I’m basically an expert at shopping so I can make this pivot.

If you have an unnatural attachment to clothes like me, knowing your colors makes cleaning out your closet significantly easier, and dare I say, foolproof. My discard pile is sky high because no, I won’t wear [insert clothing item here] when we go [insert nonexistent place or event here] because it’s not one of my colors. I don’t have a true before and after comparison of my closet, but if you saw what it was and what it is now, you’d be so proud (Ryan still thinks I have a long way to go; we’re agreeing to disagree).

This is what I call progress.

Here’s the best part. I’ve always struggled with various physical insecurities, but even more so after being pregnant. Yes, I know the female body is so wonderful and allowed me to carry two healthy babies, but damn if it didn’t call out those insecurities (and added new ones: stretch marks) with a megaphone.

I took Annie and Liz’s recommendations and made a few tweaks to my makeup and hair, too. I swapped out my bright blonde highlights for a more muted look (well, my hairstylist did it, and the results are perfect), and traded my bright blushes and bolder lipsticks for softer, warmer shades of pink. I tossed my black mascara too, and reach for brown instead (who would have thought?!).

The change is refreshing. The closet detox is refreshing. Shopping for new clothes is refreshing (well, that’s always been refreshing to me, so nothing new there). Do I still struggle with accepting certain parts of my body? You bet, doesn’t everyone? But, knowing what my best colors are really helps give my confidence the boost it needs. Plus, the compliments are really nice to hear too.

So, if you really think about it, the flight attendants had it right all along. And don’t you dare let yourself think it’s selfish. Everyone wins when you put your oxygen mask on first.

This time, do it by checking out The Color Key. Get ready to clear out the dead weight in your closet and for your own personal glow up. Then enjoy the compliments as they roll in.

Everyone can smile when mom puts her oxygen mask on first (and when toddlers sleep past 6:30am). PS, that shirt is one of my colors (a $5.95 score at Old Navy!). Next up, working on making my wrinkles disappear.

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