For as long as I can remember, I have loved getting dressed. I feel my best when I wear something I love, that fits, feels great, and like “me.” When I feel great about what I’m wearing, I can focus better, do my job better, or maybe just trick myself into feeling better when I’m having an ick day.

Getting dressed is self care: when I feel my best, I’m a better everything, including a better mom.

Picking out an outfit, getting ready, taking care of my clothes, curating my wardrobe, and wearing pieces that I have carefully selected because they feel like me – that is one way that I stay connected to myself, to Christina, through all the other chaos that is the reality of life with three small children.

Getting dressed when you are pregnant, postpartum, and even into toddlerhood and beyond, can be really hard. Any time your body changes, it is hard to get dressed. Any time your daily routine changes (as it does so frequently with young children), it is hard to get dressed. Motherhood  introduces new functional demands for our wardrobes, plus changes to our bodies, lifestyle and how we spend our time.

And yet, it is during transitions, literal and figurative ones, and during times when things feel out of control, that getting dressed and feeling good about what I am wearing is more important than ever.

After I had my son, I was shocked that my pre-pregnancy clothes did not fit. I knew my body wasn’t going to return to normal immediately, but I thought my elastic waist pants and oversized dresses would fit. I was dismayed when the maternity clothes that I had taken such joy in collecting, wearing, and being complimented in looked and felt weird. I Googled “cute outfits you can nurse in” and found maternity clothes or dresses with weird flaps and zippers. When he was six weeks old we went on vacation with my family and one evening my husband and I went out, just the two of us. I wore a new sweater that fit my body at that moment in time. I (FINALLY!) bought a pair of jeans that fit. I put on lipstick and my favorite earrings. It felt good. I remember thinking, oh, okay, there I am. We’re going to be okay.

Clothes do matter! I would challenge anyone to try to put on something that makes you feel *great* – what that is, is different for every person – and it doesn’t have to be fancy. I bet that when you wear something that you feel great about, that you feel like yourself in, that makes you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin, that gives you a full body YES – you will agree – it’s a GREAT feeling.

It can be hard to figure out what to wear that will make you feel great. One way to make it easier is to have a few uniforms and outfit formulas that you love and can create and recreate with pieces in your closet. We are fed a lot of messages that tell us we need so many new things (and that everyone around us is constantly buying new things), but the reality is that – you don’t need that much stuff!

When I’m feeling uninspired by my closet, I take 20-30 minutes during naptime to try things on. I listen to something fun on my headphones, scroll through my latest screenshots or Instagram saves and recreate looks I’ve loved with pieces in my closet. Usually, in a short amount of time, I can come up with 5 or 6 combinations that I’m excited about. I take pictures, and the next time I’m getting ready – I am ready to go in a few minutes.

If you love to get dressed, but feel like you don’t have the time, or haven’t made your style an area of focus recently, I hope this is a sign that it’s worth it to take the time to poke around in your closet and try on a few things. Create a couple outfits and take pictures of them. Focus on things that fit you right now. Follow people on Instagram who wear things that inspire you. Dust off your Pinterest board!

Getting dressed is self-care. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t mean you have to buy all new things. It’s just a way to take care of yourself, and feel your best, so you can bring the best version of yourself to all areas of your life!