Mom Friends – A Fashion-based Anthropological Study

From the moment a woman finds out she’s expecting, she begins to search for women nearby who by sheer coincidence or twist of fate will also soon be welcoming a baby. Together, pregnant women can commiserate over the physical hardships and hormonal outbursts that may complicate even the most uneventful pregnancies and share in the excitement of picking out diaper bags, creating their baby registries, and putting the finishing touches on baby’s nursery. Nobody understands both the joys and struggles of raising tiny humans quite like other moms. But acquiring a posse of like-minded moms isn’t quite as easy as some may think. In fact, at times it may seem virtually impossible to find women who share the same values, sense of humor and a similar approach to parenting. In efforts to accrue an inner-circle of mom friends, women everywhere must gracefully navigate through a series of frequently awkward encounters and social obligations that most closely resemble traditional “dating.” Hi, I’m Melissa – your classic “two-under-two” mom whose hobbies include cooking meals that end up on the floor, counting to three and battling chronic sleep deprivation.

Motherhood is a magical, life-altering journey, but let’s be honest – the first few years resemble a science experiment on how long the human body can function with severe sleep deprivation. We emerge from our homes even on cloudy days wearing dark sunglasses to disguise our tired eyes in order to peruse the racks at Bloomingdales in a catatonic haze while our newborn snoozes nearby in a stroller bassinette. Even a 40% off sale at the 4th floor shoe salon fails to generate any excitation. You would have never passed up $195 Prada flats in your pre-baby world, but suddenly even designer footwear leaves you feeling uninspired. “How could I have ever let this happen?” you ask yourself as you steal a glimpse of yourself in the mirror – fatigued, disheveled, and ghastly – a mere shell of your former self.  “Oh wait, is that a grey hair?” Suddenly you realize you’ve gone from Bombshell to “Mom-shell” in only a matter of 9 months and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The stressors of new motherhood can feel insurmountable, and without the support of peer moms, these feelings can vanquish even the most well-prepared, level-headed moms. Having a few close mom friends will aid in preserving your sanity and finding some solitude even in your most agitated moments. That’s right – I’m talking to you, mom cowering behind a locked bathroom door, texting your mom squad with rapid-fire speed while hiding from your tantruming toddler.

It’s true what they say, you know – the best accessories a girl can have are her closest friends. While a beautiful handbag or new pair of Louboutins will certainly put some spring in your step, nothing is more valuable than the camaraderie of other women enjoined on a parallel journey. The mutual appreciation for nap time and adult beverages often lay the bedrock upon which deeper and endearing relationships are cultivated. But it’s a mom-eat-mom world out there. The overwhelming pressure to maintain connections can leave some moms feeling painfully isolated whereas others are bonded by their shared joys and struggles. All friendships are unique in their synergy, but there are recognizable motifs and themes that emerge in such relationships as we observe specific personality traits and tendencies. In New York City, the fashion capital and potpourri of artistic influence and overly-fierce attitude, it seems apropos that we would discuss handbags that most closely represent distinctive archetypes of mom-friends we encounter along our journey.

The Hermes Birkin

Hermes Birkin

These mom friends are rare in nature and true enigmas, much like the handbag from which their name is derived. The Hermès Birkin is indisputably the most highly sought after bag on the planet and obtaining one is no small feat. Even if you’re able to plop down a minimum of $10k for this uber-exclusive status symbol, much mystery surrounds the clandestine endeavor of acquiring the Holy Grail of handbags. Similarly, the Hermes Birkin mom is enigmatic in her own right. While working full time, she frequents the gym every day, always appears well-dressed with a fresh blowout and flawless makeup, and through secretive machinations manages to spend quality time with the kids every day. At get-togethers, her kids are the consummate playmates – perpetually mild-mannered and eager to share their toys, even while your kids are more interested in base-jumping off furniture and competing to flush household artifacts down the toilet. A cross between Martha Stewart-on-steroids and a Stepford wife, the Birkin mom has the patience of a saint and remains calm even in the midst of abject pandemonium. Her baby books are impeccably crafted and her home always smells like freshly baked cookies. When in need of sage advice, this is the friend to meet for coffee – somehow she will find the time! “How does she pull it off?” you ask yourself, awestruck every time you’re in her presence.  Being in her aura may cause you to feel inadequate, but just keep reminding yourself that she’s merely extra-terrestrial.

The Canal Street Counterfeit 

fake

These mom friends are quite perhaps the most dangerous of them all. Much like a Canal Street Handbag, these women can exude an air of authenticity, but upon closer inspection prove to be nothing but disingenuous. You will frequently observe these mature women cowering behind their Bugaboo strollers and lattes while flashing a phony smile at their peers, whom they will most certainly be badmouthing later that evening. The Canal Street Counterfeit Mom friends represent the epitome of opportunistic, sociopathic exploitation of “friends” and can blindside even the most discriminating moms. Perhaps you’ve offered to watch her kids while she runs an errand, loaned her your favorite LBD, helped her plan her baby’s birthday party or even hand-delivered 40 Carrots froyo when she was sick.  Whereas a true friend recognizes unsolicited kindness and reciprocates when able, the Canal Street Counterfeit is nowhere to be found in your time of need, but will predictably resurface if only to siphon more favors from you. If you fail to recognize the warning signs, you may be surprised when the Canal Street Counterfeit ultimately decides she has no further need for you and permanently discards you with no warning. Consider it a blessing!

The Signature Jacquard Coach Shoulder Bag

Coach

Renowned for their classic all-American designs, Coach is universally recognized for their supple leather and not-so-discreet signature jacquard handbags. But let’s not mince words – carrying a Coach handbag is akin to driving 55mph on the highway – conservative, perhaps even overly cautious. Much like their namesake, the Coach Bag mom friends are usually a safe, reliable choice. While there may not be much evidence of mommy chemistry at your get-togethers, the play dates are drama-free and child-focused, and the minimal effort required on your part enhances her coolness factor tenfold. This mutually beneficial friendship is quite similar to a friends-with-benefits arrangement in the sense that neither party has much interest in pursuing a deeper relationship. Because you may have little else in common other than the ages of your children, these friendships are often geographically determined and are predicated on a mutual receptivity to last-minute play-dates.

The Louis Vuitton Neverfull

Neverfull

The Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” exemplifies a pragmatic and straightforward approach to life. Ideal for women with a grab-and-go lifestyle, the tote’s design promotes easy packing of personal items and facilitates the effortless location of articles inside.  Filled to capacity with Chedder Bunnies, diapers, and hand sanitizer, the Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” is a multipurpose tote seemingly designed for the no-fuss mom and all of her essentials.  Similarly, the LV Neverfull mom friends are practical, down-to-earth and tell it like it is. Unwilling to sugar-coat even the ugliest truths, they can always be called upon for an honest, unfiltered opinion. Their ability to find humor within the daily pandemonium of parenting reminds us not to sweat the small stuff and her candid, unvarnished observations of child rearing are a refreshing departure from the Pinterest-perfect mom. Feeling guilty about how much television your toddler watches or the dirty little secret that your three-year-old exists on a diet of pizza and chicken fingers? This keeping-it-real mom will see your mommy struggles and raise you a teething story, never failing to put things into perspective.

Judith Leiber Couture Clutch Bag

Judith Leiber

If boasting about our children was an Olympic sport, these mom friends would undeniably “bring home the gold” time and time again. Much like one of Judith Leiber’s crystallized kaleidoscopic creations, these women excel at unabashedly soliciting attention to themselves and their offspring. Though blissfully unaware, these moms usually earn themselves an unenviable reputation for bombarding others with saccharine broadcasts about their child’s brilliant accomplishments. Your two-year old can recite the alphabet backwards? While hopping on one foot? Bravo! While there’s nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your child, incessantly over-sharing of your child’s accomplishments is perceived as tactless overkill and should be reserved only for phone calls with Grandma – know your audience. Spending time with these mom friends can feel like a laborious task requiring infinite patience.  Most moms react to gratuitous gloating in the same tiresome manner – you know, that artificial smile, once reserved exclusively for peak moments when your toddler regales you with a complex synopsis of the Paw Patrol characters and their respective super powers.  Although you may wish to restrict time spent with such repeat offenders, it’s important to remember that the intense focus on their children’s achievements may represent an unconscious attempt to reconcile their own unresolved emotional conflicts.

The Vintage Chanel Clutch

vintage clutch 2

These moms have kids slightly older than yours and have transitioned into the next stage of motherhood, but their friendship is equally valuable. Just as a vintage handbag’s sophistication tells a unique story, more experienced mothers are your most trusted purveyors of child-rearing advice. Let’s be honest – the responsibilities of parenthood can be experienced as daunting and downright intimidating, especially for new first-time moms. Whether it’s clipping a newborn’s itty-bitty fingernails, introducing solid foods, or potty training, resist the impulse to panic. Instead, call upon these been-there-done-that veterans. Calmness is contagious and their unflappable, laid-back presence will chillax your inner neuroses, guide you through harrowing “first times,” and dish out protected tidbits such as elite “mommy and me” classes, superior preschools and nearby child-friendly restaurants. The wealth of knowledge bestowed upon you from more experienced moms will empower you to navigate the most challenging mommy moments with brimming confidence.

The Chanel 2.55 Classic Flap bag

Chanel 2.55

The Chanel 2.55 is arguably the most iconic and most photographed ladies fashion accessory of all time. With a price increase of approximately 30% annually, it can be assumed that this handbag is a better investment than the stock market or even gold. Similarly to this exquisitely crafted bag, befriending a Chanel 2.55 mom friend constitutes a smart investment worthy of both your time and energy. These are the ladies with whom you would lunch even on days when your kids are with a babysitter. In the whirlwind of hectic, day-to-day parenting, it’s a true testament to your friendship that you choose to spend your child-free hours together rather than waist-deep in a bubble bath while soaking up precious moments of silence at home. The Chanel 2.55 mom always makes you a priority and somehow finds a way to carve out some time from her jam-packed schedule for a mani/pedi date and gossip sesh. Genuinely interested in whatever you have on your mind, these are the friends that enable you to feel seen, heard and validated. As such, these moms are your most trusted confidantes. They rejoice in your triumphs and hoist you back up during life’s most difficult moments. Mom friendships come and go, but these women are guaranteed to stand the test of time. Together, you co-navigate through all of life’s peaks and valleys and share your most personal and private struggles and pains.

15 thoughts on “Mom Friends – A Fashion-based Anthropological Study

  1. Very cool post and navigating the mom friendship can be a weird and wonderful thing with lots of learning curves. Love the comparisons

    Laura x

    Like

  2. Love reading your post, you are really good at defining mums just by the type of handbags they wear…its really supper funny, got me giggling at some bits

    Like

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