Since starting mat leave in October, I have had no reason whatsoever to put on my work clothes. A few weeks ago I was having a sluggish day and not feeling great about myself. I had a few minutes of kid-free time, so I decided to try some things on that I hadn’t worn in a while, assuming it would make me feel better if they now were too big.

The first few pieces were surprisingly roomy, and I immediately felt better. In fact, almost everything was too big, but in varying degrees. This led me to try on some of the clothes I’d been saving from my slightly thinner days. Some fit, some not quite yet.

What began was a very strange reflection on the last few years, as I clearly remember when I got these items, when I wore them with certain outfits and how I felt about myself in them. It made me think.

You can be happy with yourself at any size, and that’s great if you truly are happy with yourself. The thing is, I wasn’t happy with how I looked or felt. I used to use new clothes to feel better about myself. Finding a new shirt/sweater/pair of pants at Lane Bryant or Addition-Elle that made me feel slightly slimmer made my day. It was all in the cut and hang of the garment, but I was temporarily believed I was slimmer. This made me happy.

I love my husband (who has requested that from now on I refer to him in this blog as Mr. Awesome), we have two healthy, happy kids and I love my job. Life is great, but until recently I wasn’t truly happy with ME. No magic shirt could give me the self image I needed, no matter HOW many times I went shopping!

I’m happier now with myself than I ever have been, but it’s not because I look better than I have for a while. I think it’s because I am taking action to feel better.

Yes, in September, when I go on that enormous shopping spree (yahoo!) in preparation to return to work, I will feel better about myself in the clothes I buy. But not because I have discovered a magic pair of pants that make you look slimmer than you actually are. I will feel good about the person inside the clothes. In fact, I already do.