A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

What I Wore Wednesday: Does this Boy Scout make me look fat?

pleated poppyWell, damn. This whole What I Wore Wednesday business is much harder than I thought it would be.

For starters, I can’t figure out how to take a decent full body picture of myself.

I wonder how this chick does it? She always looks so dang cute!

Secondly, my kids are shitty photographers. 

I hate asking my husband to take pictures of me because I don’t like to expose him to my self-deprecating freak outs more often than absolutely necessary.

And above all, seeing these pictures and feeling so vulnerable has been really difficult. If it’s true that “the camera don’t lie,” I’ll pass on the brutal honesty, thanks anyway.

{Big sigh.}

Of course, timing is everything.

Ever have one of those days when nothing you put on feels right? I’ve been having about a week of those.

On a related note, are you familiar with the book The Red Tent by Anita Diamant? Great book. Love that book. But I totally get why menstruating women were temporarily banished from the tribe back in ancient times. If my female ancestors were anything like me, it was a safety precaution for the rest of the tribe.


Aunt Flo and I were feeling extra moody and uncomfortable on Monday. Even my “fat jeans” were too tight. After about five outfit changes, this is what I finally settled on wearing for the day:

"Does this Boy Scout make me look fat?"

Comfy, yes, and a step up from sweatpants, but still, not very flattering. The whole point of me wanting to participate in WIWW was to become less of a schlub.

Let me tell you something about that top. I bought it at Target last spring, but I’ve only worn it a couple of times. Every time I put it on, I feel frumpy. It’s too big and it’s totally see-through, so I have to layer it. Half the times I try to wear it, I take if right off and it stays on “the pile” until I get motivated to put my clothes away.

Early Monday morning, after trying it on yet again to see if it would hide my bloated muffintop, I gave up on it for good and finally tossed it in my Goodwill bag. I really struggled with that decision since it is the only new top I’ve bought all year. I’m not much of a clothes shopper.

Five minutes later, wracked with guilt and frustration, I retrieved it from that bag and tried it on again, this time to mask a clingy long sleeved t-shirt that was making me look like I had a low-hanging third boob. Success! It hid my spare tire. Moving on.

Right after dinner we went outside to snap this pic and when I saw it I almost puked. “Is that what I looked like all day? Holy CRAP you guys, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I think you look pretty, Mom,” Nature Boy sweetly tried to comfort me.

I burst into tears. 

Feeling bad, I put the kids to bed and assembled the troops:

That’s my new Hillblingy Goblet half-full of red wine, a bowl of Cheez-Its, an impromptu S’more I made on top of my gas stove, and the remote control. Misery loves company.

By the way, that Target top is now back in the Goodwill Bag, which I moved to my car to avoid the temptation of trying it on yet again.

The next day (yesterday) was my husband’s birthday. We had lunch plans so I wanted to tart it up a little. I did my hair. I put on makeup. I grabbed the prettiest t-shirt in my closet. But still too bloated for jeans, I threw my frumpy cargo pants back on and tried to cover up all my jiggly bits with a sweater.

As we were walking out the door I asked my husband to snap a quick pic of me for this post.

This is the picture he took:

But what I saw was this:

“Ew! Do I really look like that? OMG! Wait, let me turn sideways so it’s not so full frontal.”

Take two:

"What hump?"

CRAP! Nice posture. Here’s what I see when I look at that picture:

(This is actually me, dressed for a costume party in 2001.)


Day-amn. Body Dysmorphic Disorder, anyone? Looks like someone needs a session with Stuart Smalley.

But until I can get in to see him, maybe I’ll just self-impose a new rule: no more WIWW until Aunt Flo is gone and takes my bad attitude with her.

Also, while I’m feeling so crappy, I think I’ll continue to brutally purge my closet before my bloating subsides and I feel less critical about myself and my pathetic wardrobe.

But now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a hankerin’ for more birthday cake and a bag of potato chips.

Until we meet again, I remain, your frumpy friend,



  1. Suzanne Lucero

    Oh, sweetie, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Once Aunt Flo moves out for good, she takes Cousin Estrogen with her and, unless you’re very lucky or you can get away with eating next to nothing, you’ll look with longing at your fat jeans and say, “God, I remember when I used to be able to fit in those.”

    • The Bearded Iris

      Gee, thanks, Suzanne. Something to look forward to! Cousin Facial Hair is already here. She’s one of my least favorite house guests.

  2. S.K. Epperson

    “Ever have one of those days when nothing you put on feels right? I’ve been having about a week of those.”

    You are not alone! I swear to God and Spandex that every day this week I have changed clothes no less than THREE times a morning, and I thought it was just me! Must be some freaking flux of the planetary plasma that is making us all feel like little hippos wading around in our skins. AAARRRGGHH!

    • The Bearded Iris

      THANK YOU!

      “…freaking flux of the planetary plasma…” >> frickin’ brilliant!

  3. Livin In Duckville

    Well…. if you look frumpy in those clothes…. I must look REALLY bad!!! I thought you looked really cute!! Dang…. must go bury myself in a bottle…I mean glass…of Hazlitt’s Red Cat & Carmel Delights….


    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw, thanks Sue. Ooooh, is that a new cocktail I smell?

      • Livin In Duckville

        You’ll have to wait ’til Girl Scout Cookie season for the Carmel Delights (mine were from the freezer)…. Dang old Post Office won’t let me send liquor through the mail… so you’re outta luck with the Red Cat too…. You’ll just have to make the trip to New York Wine Country!!! (Do that & I’ll personally pour your wine & serve you cookies!!)

  4. Ann

    I think you look great! Damn, next time I see you in a restaurant I’m hiding if you think you looked frumpy!

    Since I hit 40+, Spanxx, or the cheap Target version, have been one of my closest friends.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Ann. Next time you see me in a restaurant, I hope it is sitting across the table from you sharing a bottle of wine and laughing about our Merona Spankxx!

  5. Jenna

    Iris, love, when the children have left the nest you will have all the time in the world to obsess over cute outfits! Until then, wear whatever the he’ll makes you feel comfy day to day, do it up when you go out with the girls or the hubs, take a Valium and chillax! You will be a better mom comfy and in your own skin than you will worrying about what the people in the grocery store think. Remember, a smart woman, is always sexy 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Those are wise words Jenna. I must be super-freaky sexy then because I is pretty smart.

      It’s not really the people in the grocery store I’m looking to please, although would it kill one of those bag boys at Publix to ogle my rack and stop calling me “Ma’am”? Sheesh! No, I just want to feel that little pep in my step that I feel when I make a little effort. Is it possible to be comfy AND cute? This, I want to know. Carry on!

  6. Megan at declutterdaily

    You’re adorable…but I’m glad you got rid of that top.

    To everyone else: I have met the bearded one in person, and she’s a toothpick. Don’t let her tell you otherwise.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks for the encouragement, Megan! I knew you’d approve of me tossing that top. You should know, “What would Megan do?” goes through my mind when I’m struggling with those decluttering dilemmas!

      Toothpick? Maybe a toothpick inserted in a bacon wrapped cheese filled jalapeno. The day we met, I was obviously not traveling with my dear Aunt Flo. But I appreciate the compliment! Thanks girl.

    • Crista

      You can tell she’s a toothpick in the pictures, even though she’s all angsty about them. My right thigh is larger than her entire frame!

  7. Megan at declutterdaily

    …and go shirt shopping more. Why only one this year? And that is coming from miss 24 items in her closet.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Okay. I will… as soon as I’m feeling less blah.

      Why only one top this year? That’s a great question. I’m not really sure! It totally surprised me when I realized it. This whole 52 Weeks thing and being more mindful of clutter has made me a more conscious shopper… I am hesitant to spend money on things since I’m so focused right now on removing things from my house, I guess. And I want to simplify my life, not add more stuff to it. But maybe I can add some new things now that I’ve gotten rid of so many of the things that don’t fit (cow jeans, oversized Target top, etc.)!!! xoxox

  8. Liza Martz

    Oh boy, does this ever resonate! When I dress like a farmhand (most days) I don’t ever do multiple changes. It’s when I try to look more sophisticated that problems arise, or should I say, “bulge?” I recently bought a pair of black cowboy boots with silver toes to 1) look hip, and 2) divert attention from the rest of me. But when I wear them they make me look like I’m trying too hard.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Liza! I know exactly what you mean!!! The whole “trying too hard” thing. There are some dark forces at work here.

      Your black cowboy boots sound awesome, and I bet you look like one HOT cowgirl in them! Cowboy boots are on my short list of things I want too…and have been for a long time.

      WTF? Why will I drop money like it’s hot on things like redneck wine glasses and stuffed animals for my kids, but not on myself. This has to change.

      • Liza Martz

        Thanks for the cowboy boot encouragement. I ordered some black jeans to go with ’em and bought a couple of scoop neck, long sleeve t’s. If you learn the secret to doing this without feeling self-conscious, let me know. I’ll be the one in the corner looking uncomfortable in my skin. (unless I’m dressed like a ditch digger, in which case, I’ll look completely at home in myself!)

  9. Didi

    All I’m gonna say is… I LOVE YOU IRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love you too Didi! Thank you for being here with me!

  10. Mary Lou

    You, my dear, look darling! Suzanne (above) is right on… My new mantra is “I’m not fat; I’m easy to see”. Hey, what about a tank or a cami under that Tarjay top?

    • The Bearded Iris

      “I’m not fat; I’m easy to see.” LOL!

      I have tried myriad tanks and camis with that thing… nothing works (to me). I still always feel frumpy in it. I’m just going to cut my losses and hope it will bless a Goodwill shopper. Cosmic karma!

  11. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Your problem isn’t you. You are totally adorable. Your problem is your staging. You can’t take a picture of you just standing there! You need to find an extremely less attractive person to stand next to. Feel fat? Find someone 4 times your size. Bad hair day? Stand next to a girl leaving a frat house on a Sunday morning. Standing next to a boy scout? Total rookie mistake.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hilarious, Allison! You just gave me some great ideas for next week. 🙂

  12. Colleen M

    My new fat jeans are these amazing things called. . .skinny jeans by Levi. They look like jeans but are made of something stretchy. Dang, put those babies on and they trim the baby pooch back in it’s place like a girdle but much more comfy. I’m a convert.
    I think you look fab by the way. So much cuter than the old t-shirt and yoga pants I was wearing today.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Really? I’m totally afraid of skinny jeans! I’ve never even tried a pair on! Just the name makes me get all sweaty. Same with “jeggings.” It reminds me too much of the word “jagoff.” Ha!!!

      Okay. I’ll try. I like the idea of taming the baby pooch. But what underwear to you wear with those? (Feel free to email me privately if you don’t want to discuss undies in this arena!)

      • Colleen M

        OMG! Underwear, never thought about that. Can’t get rid of frumpy mommy completely I guess.
        All I know is I have worn Jockey bikini since I started folding my family’s laundry growing up. I saw the gianormous things my mom wore and vowed never to go that route. They may be comfy to some but terrifying to a 10 year old.

        • The Bearded Iris

          I used to wear Jockey bikini too…before my baby bag collapsed and started hanging down over the bikini’s waistband. Not pretty. I’m now on a quest for the perfect undies that fit but don’t look too orthopedic (orthogynic?). And I don’t want VPLs either, but I hate the feel of thongs. It’s a quandary.

  13. Allysgrandma

    Are you kidding me. I have that top, it is blue, I bought it at Kohl’s, it’s got its own little attached tank underneath, but I still wear my spanx with it!

  14. Michele

    Oh hon. I am so PMSing today too. I may or may not have just yelled at my children that they are “the most irritating people to be around EVAH!” when they were having a knock-down drag-out over who got to use the crapper first after dinner. And bloated, yep. I need fat pants for my fat pants. Keep up the WIWW though – you really do look nice, body dysmorphic syndrome notwithstanding, and you may eventually inspire me to dress up a bit one day a week myself (my co-workers get all Stuart Smalley on me when I wear anything besides blue jeans and a fleece jacket zipped up over whatever t-shirt I happened to have slept in the night before. Yep. I go to work that way. Small non-profit, private office, one of the few perks of working for peanuts. Believe it or not, I still dress nicer than my boss.)

  15. Jill

    First, the goblet is awesome. I want one to fill up every night. Second, the raspberry color shirt looks awesome on you. Third, I have decided that any day I can get out of my nasty cropped gray yoga pants is a good day and as long as I shower and don’t smell, I am good. On aunt flo days, I just stay home in my nasty yoga pants.

    • The Bearded Iris

      WORD! Yes, not smelling IS good. That’s usually my first priority. Thanks about the raspberry color on me! It’s a really pretty shirt. It will look even better with the right pants.

  16. Sarah

    In all honesty I don’t think you look at all frumpy in those clothes. I think we have a much more critical eye when we look at ourselves.

    But I do know how you feel especially re the bloating. I am literally two different sizes, one at one time in the month and one at another. I feel uncomfortable and I swear I look about six months pregnant at the peak time. Really, I could get people on a bus to feel guilty and give me a seat!!

    If you didn’t feel good in the top then it’s good you threw it out. I have a few tops like that. *Note to self – time to purge wardrobe*

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you, Sarah! Very true – we are our own worst critics, always.

      Hmmm, never even considered the benefits of the bloat! Brilliant! Bus seats, extra free samples at Costco “I’m eating for two!” This could be fun! 🙂

  17. Kate Takes 5

    My sister thinks she has body dysmorphia. She’s a size 12 but thinks she’s an 8. Really.
    Love, love, love that picture of you dressed up as an ‘aul one – complete with horn stuck to walking stick. Class.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, that’s awesome. I WISH I had it in the reverse like that. I would float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Creative visualization. I like it. Thanks!

  18. Tiffany

    There are so many things I want to say about this post! Your son’s comment—so sweet. You look awesome and very pretty. I have that whole body dysmorphic thing going on too. Ok, I think that’s it.

  19. Kate

    OMG, you are awesome. I can completely empathize with your photo issues. My husband takes pictures of me with the family (so in 30 years my kids will know I was actually at all these fun outings I’ve scrapbooked), but the pitcures never make it in the books. Then my husband gets mad I don’t put them in. I wear the same clothes ALL the time. I never buy new clothes, because I detest the process. And when I finally do buy anything… those become the clothes I wear all the time!

  20. Lisa Galaviz

    Do yoga pants count as business casual?

  21. Trish the Dish

    You looked super cute for your date, but I get it! Everytime I feel frumpy, I just take a quick gander at http://www.peopleofwalmart.com That’s all it takes! Seriously – crack kills, people!

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, that’s great advice, Trish!! I haven’t visited that site in a while. Always makes me laugh, and/or vomit in my mouth a little. That might just do the trick! Thanks!!

  22. Heather

    You are so not alone, woman!! I realized how frumpy I’d been dressing lately when, one day recently, I actually cleaned up – showered, hair did, makeup, clothes that were snug enough that I could feel them touching me – and when I picked my daughter up at school she said “WOW, MOM!! You look PRETTY today!” Who needs the ex-boyfriend to think you look nice when your 8 year old thinks you do? 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      That’s HUGE – if I can make my 8 yr. old daughter notice me (in a good way), I’m walking tall that day!

  23. Julie @ mamamash

    First off, you’re gorgeous. So shut up.

    Second, I have those pants, albeit in a much larger size. They’re comfy, but they don’t give and therefore are retired around PMS time.

    Third, tops like that, the billowy one with no shape? Those only look good on teenagers or pregnant women. I like how you layered it, you almost redeemed that shirt. But yeah, get rid of it. It’s not pretty enough for you.

    Fourth, and I promise this is last, that pink top is beeee-yootiful. Very nice!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Love you, girl. Thanks for being here and giving it to me straight.

  24. Cate

    I actually think you look great in your pictures! But, speaking from experience, it gets a lot easier over time to do the WWIW pics. Of course, since I write a style blog, I take a lot of pictures of myself – I start to get sick of seeing my face on my blog after awhile!:)

    • The Bearded Iris

      WOW – thanks for stopping by, Cate! I truly appreciate the encouragement. This is a big leap out of my comfort zone. I’ll be visiting your blog often for some style tips so I can feel more confident when I’m finally ready to buy some new pieces!

      • Cate

        Oh, I’m so glad you’ll be back again to check it out – thanks:) I’m certain I’ll be coming back here too – you’re hilarious!

  25. Mary

    Sorry it’s been a crap week of it. I’m right there with ya, girl. I’m also right there with you and that goblet. LMAO, some friends brought me one of those last week and they are dying for me to post a fancy drink or something using it. For the life of me, I can’t come up with anything quite worthy of that kind of class. 😉 Although, mine is minus the gold and that just makes me sad now. ha ha I might need to track down a glue gun/bedazzler and funk it up.

  26. Lisa

    Ok, Iris! You hit a nerve on this one. After losing 65 lbs and keeping it off for 8 years but struggling with the next 30 for the last two years, I consider myself an expert on what it’s like to be bloated. We all know it ain’t pretty particularly when you are my age ( I was born two years before the NY Mets won the World Series for the first time ever…go ahead research it and do the math.) but the truth is being a woman can suck! Here’s the good news. Some problem solver out there invented a solution called “Sassy Water”. Check it out: http://www.food.com/recipe/sassy-water-368368. I can attest if drunk properly or if properly drunk, it works like a charm. Your jeans will be very disappointed next time they decide to take a week off! Good Luck!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hey Lisa! That Sassy Water sounds DELISH and easy to make too! I have everything in my fridge right now except the spearmint leaves. I’m totally going to do this. THANK YOU. And holy guacamole, I am so impressed that you lost that much weight and have kept it off! The last bit is always the hardest, and for me, it always comes off the one body part I DON’T want to get smaller (my chesticles). DAMMIT!

  27. Jen

    First, I need to tell you that you are gorgeous.

    And second, I am totally feeling the same way right now. I am PSMing majorly and have eaten a bag of chocolate chips and I have to get on the scale for Weight Watchers tomorrow. This is not going to end well and I see another bag of chocolate in my future.

    Damn you, Aunt Flo!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh man, I hope your meeting goes well today! Maybe the dark chocolate in the chocolate chips will act as an antioxidant rich laxative and you’ll invent a new diet called the Chocolate Chip Cleanse!

      Thanks for the kind words, Jen! I’m glad you’re here. (Now quit hogging those choco chips and gimme that bag before I kill somebody.)

  28. Rebecca

    Hi Iris — I’m a complete stranger, have never seen you before, and wanted to tell you that you do NOT look frumpy, fat, or any of it. Actually, I think you’re really pretty. Just thought a non-biased opinion from NY might help. 🙂 Feel better!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Rebecca! That’s really sweet of you. I am feeling better. But I definitely have my work cut out for me. Thanks for being here and taking the time to comment!

  29. Anne

    As much as I hate to be redundant, I’ll echo the above commentary: I think you look just adorable in your leopard flats and cargos. Thanks for a post that made me laugh out loud, especially the s’more made on the gas oven with the cheezits and red wine. Priceless.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Anne! Thanks for returning the visit and for the sweet comment!

      I loved your post and totally related to all you said about how difficult this whole WIWW thing is. Your “awkward pose – all mine, baby” line cracked me up! Looking forward to more WIWW posts with you.

  30. Anne @ Domesblissity

    Oh to have your bloatedness problem Iris! You’re gorgeous! I’d put on a stone within the first 2 weeks of each pregnancy! Don’t even get me started on Aunt Flo’s visit. At my old age, the menopausal symptoms are starting to rear their ugly head so I could be bloated for 7 weeks! You need a Gok Wan or Trinny & Susannah fashion fix. (I’m not sure who the US style gurus are. Oh, maybe someone like Tim Gunn.)

    Anne xx

  31. katie metzroth

    I accidently bought a maternity sweater at Target. I love the color, but it is not flattering. You’d think I’d have clued in when I was buying a size small (NOTHING else in my closet is a small) On the upside, people seem to offer to help me carry things and open doors for me more when I wear it. 🙂 #winning

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