A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

How Iris is Slowly Getting Her Groove Back

Do you like a good underdog story? Then please “like” The Bearded Iris at Babble.com’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs.  Three months ago I was ranked at #891. Today I’m #10 (Hot damn!!!). Apparently there is a shortage of good vagina-related comedy in the blogosphere. Happy to serve.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging…

pleated poppyA few weeks ago, after becoming fed up with my “frumpy old mom look,” I decided to put a little more effort into my appearance. As luck would have it, that same day I happened upon the What I Wore Wednesday meme, hosted by Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy. Funny how when the student is ready, the teacher appears, don’t you think?

My first two weeks were pretty hard and depressing. (See week #1 and week #2.)

First off, let me just say, I find it takes near heroic measures to be clean AND plucked AND have my hair done AND makeup on AND be wearing something that doesn’t embarrass my kids. Most days I can pull off two of these things, tops, but all five at the same time? Damn. That’s a lot to ask!

But this third week is going a little better! For starters, I took my friend Ann’s advice and bought some new undies. The right foundation garments make all the difference, ladies! Thanks to Ann’s endorsement, the ASSETS collection by Sara Blakely at Tarjay is my new BFF. I bought one of these last week, but I think I probably need one of these instead for better muffin-top management. Don’t fret, soft-centered gentlemen readers, there is a whole collection of Manx (man Spanx) too! Who knew?

I also bought myself a new pair of jeans. Another reader, Colleen, highly recommended the Levi’s Skinny Jean. I was hoping to firm up my jelly-belly a little before I bought anything new, but I thought maybe one new pair of skinny jeans would be just the ticket to feeling less frumpy. Colleen was right, by the way. They fit great (buh-bye camel toe!), they feel great, and they make me look much more put together than those grey cargo pants did last week.

This is me today. Same top, same shoes, totally different vibe:

Levi’s Skinny Jeans – Kohl’s
Ruffle top – Nordstrom (last year)
Boyfriend cardi – Brook’s Brothers (last year)
Mossimo Leopard flats – Target (last year)


Here’s how the rest of my week looked:  

at Mini-Me's Fund Run last Thursday

Striped tee – Target (last year)
Yellow tank – J. Crew outlet (2008)
Levi’s 501 jeans – Kohl’s (last year)

I’m posting this picture for three reasons:

1.) Check out my horrible unfinished master bathroom. This is what happens when a DIY project becomes a DWDITTDTM (Damn, why did I try to do this myself?)

2.) This is a cry for help. For the love of God, will somebody with some photography skills please teach me how to take a picture of myself?

3.) I’m wearing my favorite button-down shirt. It’s Foxcroft from Nordstrom…was a gift from my stepmom a few years ago. It’s wrinkle-free but doesn’t feel gross and synthetic. Love this shirt. I used to save it for church and meetings, but this week I decided to pair it with my regular old Levi’s 501 jeans. I liked it. I think I’ll do that more often.

So, I’m making some strides. But still, there are days when this is the best I can do:

another self-portrait fail...love the garbage bag in the background

At least I’m trying not to leave the house on those days anymore.

Okay, last one:

One more example of a self-portrait gone bad, but I wanted you to see the shrug I hand-knitted out of dead Muppets. It makes me look like a gay caveman.

Unless I have it on my head…




© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. Julie @ mamamash

    Those dark jeans are hot!

    The muppet shrug/wig is terrifying though.

    I love how confident you are with yourself and your life…confident enough to show us your bathroom!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Confident? Or bat shit crazy? I’m hoping that showing my hideous unfinished bathroom will embarrass me enough to get off my blogging ass and finish it.

  2. Kristen Kotrlik

    You are shit nuts crazy. I love that shrug… it’s sooo versatile! It’s a wig, and it can be a sweater…amazing!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Thank you for seeing the positive with me.

  3. Liza Martz

    You are smokin’ hot, Iris.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Your check is in the mail, Mamacita!

  4. Mads

    I am now convinced that I need a pair of leopard print flats.

    How many sneetches died in the making of that sweater? 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes yes! Every woman needs at least one leopard print SOMETHING! Sorry about the sneetches. They’re really soft though. Consider it population control. (When I’m wearing it, nobody will want to procreate with me.)

  5. Livin In Duckville

    Love it!! There’s nothing like walkin’ out of the house feelin’ like ya got it goin’ on….

    • The Bearded Iris

      …until you see pictures of yourself later and realize you didn’t (see week #2). Bygones! Moving on with my new undies!

  6. northernmum

    Loving it,

    Iris you are hot to trot!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love that expression! (Neighhhhhhh!) Thanks Northernmum! 🙂

  7. Michele

    I’m sitting on my couch wrapped in my favorite robe, eating potato chips and drinking coffee, trying to summon the strength of will to go pick my preschooler up. So far you’ve managed to inspire me to get the baked variety of chips rather than the normal ones. Well done! That’s a big achievement. And while I haven’t showered yet today, I did put a bra on. In my defense, I’m taking a sick day AND just got my period, so I will start trying to be more fabulous … well, maybe next week. 🙂 Dunno about the skinny jeans though. Don’t you have to be skinny already to wear them?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh krickey, you are doing the right thing. Sick day AND Aunt Flo?! Girl, you better be dipping those baked Lays in melted chocolate. Love that you put on a bra though…no sense in chaffing your knees too.

      Apparently the “need to be skinny to wear skinny jeans” thing is a big misunderstanding! The cut of the jean is supposed to be flattering for all shapes. And they are stretchy, so they are kinda like long denim Spanx! Plus, I’m wearing mine OVER Spanx, so the only thing jiggling on me today is my arms. Do they make arm Spanx? Shit. I better just stop trying to lycra myself to death and join a gym.

  8. Sasha

    You look fabulous! You’ve inspired me to try to not look so frumpy myself. Currently I am able to look decent about one day a week…Today was a fail since I’m wearing birkenstock clogs, white socks, black sport shorts and my nursing bra and that’s it lol! Oh well. I’m going to use yours tips and try to dress nice 2 days next week! Thanks for the laughs and inspiration!

  9. Ann

    I’m glad you love the Target Spanxx as much as I do! Always saving for something more important like a new pair of shiny shoes! Priorities!!! You never know when you’ll come across another pair of leopard flats that you can’t live without, you look really great!

    Can I borrow that shrug for my 16 year old daughter? It will scare the boys AWAY!

  10. Jellyhead

    Damn! I have to hate you now for rockin the crap outta skinny jeans! I get deflated just walking past them on display in the store. Pout.

    Thanks for being the best part of my day Iris.

  11. Anne @ Domesblissity

    Lookin’ hot there Iris! I reckon that wig is just the ticket when you go to collect your award for # 1 top Mummy blogger!


  12. Jen

    Yup. I kinda like it on your head.

  13. Michelle

    Love the jeans. Love the shoes. Love the whole look! It’s hard to look hot while you are wiping butts and and dodging dog slobber! But, you are doing it!! FYI, my son brought home a purple rubber skeleton….I will make sure to keep it away from my dog 🙂

  14. Leighann

    You are gorgeous!!
    The leopard print flats? Love them!
    Your bathroom? Normal.
    That shrug? Is alive.

  15. Allysgrandma

    You can thank me for #10. I put your link on my facebook page. You are welcome, and I need the second muffin-top holder too!

  16. Muffintopmommy

    You know what I love best about you? You match your shoes to your front doormat. That’s hawt, Iris! Party on~!

  17. Colleen M

    Thank you for solving the undie dilemma with the skinny jeans. Those look nothing like my momma’s baggies, I don’t think they did anything to hide the pooch. I guess that’s why she wore a lot of Mumus.
    You look marvelous I might add. Keep up the good work!
    Love the pics of your bathroom. I’m on the 52 step. . .oops I mean 52 week tidy program. Although I think I am only at week 14. I think I missed a few weeks.
    Congrats on #10 in the Mommy blog list.

  18. Heather

    Damn you, Iris!! Now I feel obligated to send my beloved maternity yoga pants to the Goodwill and try and dress better. This should have done this long ago since my youngest is 6 but, baby steps…

    • The Bearded Iris

      (imagine this in a slow-mo voice) Nooooooooooo! Keep the yoga pants!!! I definitely can’t imagine putting this much effort into every day. It is way too time consuming and uncomfortable. I’m just trying something new, but so far, I don’t really like how it’s going. 🙁 Everyone who does it says it’s hard at first though, so I feel like I should hang in there. {sigh}

  19. Joanne B.

    you! look! fabulous! I cannot believe how great you look- same outfit/different pair of pants? Okay- so you have shamed me into doing something about my appearance now too. But where to start? I live in south FL, where my everyday outfit consists of t shirts and capri’s. I think I will start with adding a cardigan. And maybe a decorative necklace. Baby steps here. The last time I met my neighbor for our daily dog walk together with a necklace on, she asked me where I was going cos I was all dressed up! (she works from home-need I say more about HER outfits?) Oh- and I must go get those leopard flats at Target that I asked you about when I first saw yours- never did go back to get them, and now they are probably gone…I need to look more in the mirror to remind me of whether I want to be a ‘before’ or an ‘after’…

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oooh, girl, that’s DEEP. Do I want to leave the house looking like a “before” or an “after”? Really, I just don’t want to leave the house. If I could stay home all the time, this wouldn’t be an issue. Damn kids.

  20. Megan at declutterdaily

    I prefer it as a wig. I love your striped shirt though. Too bad everything is last season. I wan’t to buy something every time you post. Oh, except for last week that is, I was not a fan of that look. 😉

    Love ya.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Love you too – especially for the honesty. I bet you could find similar stuff at Target. Do t-shirt fashions really change that much year to year? Geez, you can tell I don’t shop very often, can’t you?

  21. Kris the Colts fan

    I wish I could muster up the energy to give a crap about what I look like. I’m on my fourth month of unemployment, the job market sucks, my mother is dying a particularly painful cancer death. I just don’t give a crap about myself anymore. Wonder if it’ll ever get better.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Kris – I’m sorry about your mom and the continued unemployment. No wonder you don’t give a crap about how you look right now. I probably wouldn’t either.

      Sometimes, though, giving a crap can help to re-energize you and pull you out of a slump. But that’s the catch-22 about depression…first you have to have the energy to give a crap.

      I’ll be thinking about you, girl. Hang in there! Go get a pedicure or something to pamper yourself. And drink lots of coffee. Those always help me feel a little better when I’m low. Oh, and a brisk walk too. And expensive eye cream. Chocolate. Disco. Movies that make me laugh out loud: Bridesmaids, Young Frankenstein, Little Miss Sunshine, SuperBad….

      • Crista

        Kris, there’s an interesting article in this month’s Oprah magazine about depression versus burn-out. I wonder if you have depression AS WELL AS burn-out? If you get to the library, I bet they’ll have the most recent issue and you could take a look. The suggestions are (like the way everyone in these responses are taking “baby steps” to improve themselves) very, very small but designed to give you some comfort. And I’m sorry about your mom – my dad had a lingering death, and you just feel powerless to help them.

        Much love to you!

  22. Kate Takes 5

    How come you look like a different person in each picture. Are you just out snapping randoms that look good?

  23. Heather Novak

    THANK YOU for the Levi’s skinny jeans recommendation, I just texted that to my Dad for my Christmas Present. I didn’t try theirs or my REAL size 16 size when I wrote my Fat Ass Skinny Jeans post. I will let ya know around Dec 26th how that all works out. I enjoy your crappy photography, mine looks better comparatively! LOL. and the DIY translation is EXACTLY why I pull out the “tiny kids card” and say NOPE when my hubs tries to pretend we can DIY. We hire it or it remains undone until these kids are old enough to do it for us!

  24. Stephanie

    Your posts always bring a smile to my face! I just love your humor and your honesty. 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you Stephanie! Pleased to meetcha!

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