Anxieties of a Chameleon Mom
Person I have met at least three times: Hi?
Me: I’m Jill, I met you ______, and ______, and ______.
Person: Oh, I didn’t recognize you (choose two)
1. with/without those glasses
2.with that haircut
3. with that hair color
4. in a dress/not in a dress
This happens all the time. I change my look so frequently that I find myself apologizing for my hair cut as a reflex when people don’t remember me. If people ever press me on why I change my look so often, I laughingly chalk it up to being a Gemini, but really, it’s just a form of creative expression. If you know me well enough to come over to my house, you know I change my furniture layout and wall colors as often as I change my hair. Since becoming a mom, I am finding that while I am confident in wanting to have style, I have anxiety about my constantly changing look, and find myself wondering if I need to find something that works and stick with it for a while.
What if my kid doesn’t recognize me after a cut/color and freaks out like my dog did when I went platinum? Is it important that I project a static image of Mom to him as part of a stable and reassuring childhood experience? My mom, while more fashionable than when I was a child, has maintained a very similar look my whole life, and I have to admit I find it reassuring. I have a very clear image of Mom, with a capital M. I feel that in becoming a mother I am stepping into an ancient archetype, and while I have some flexibility in how I define my embodiment of The Mother, I worry that Mother archetype by nature excludes a lot of the change and flux that have defined me thus far.
What if other parents shun me and my kid because they think I am high maintenance, too alternative, or attention seeking? As my son gets old enough to start to socialize I worry that my own status as a lifelong outsider will hinder his social life, and I wonder if finding a look and embracing it for the long term could help prevent that. A nagging voice tells me if I just become one type of mom or another, other parents could process that and be comfortable with whoever she is, more than they could ever trust an ever-changing chameleon caregiver.
Even with all this anxiety, I feel like it is unlikely I am going to change my habit of regularly changing my look, but that doesn’t quell my anxiety about it. I would love to hear from you if you share any of these anxieties, or are a more experienced chameleon mom who can help assuage mine.