livingfamilytravelmediahome decor

Personal style: Sacrificed at the altar of family

Most of the folks in our circle started out strong.

We wouldn’t sacrifice our personal style just because we were starting a family. Hell no! Just because we’d be parents didn’t mean we’d have to give up our sense of “cool.”

But, one by one, we’ve all slipped into family-dom. Some jumped in whole-heartedly, while others — like my husband and I — tried to hold on stubbornly to as much as we could.

Here are some flashing signals that you too may have sacrificed your personal style for “family-dom.” Some sacrifices are made for budget or safety, others for convenience or just plain sanity-sake. And some…well some are just plain unavoidable.

Your waist: The first to go for most of us females is our personal fashion sense. Once the pregnancy waddle kicked in full gear, I simply couldn’t avoid wearing clothes that normally I wouldn’t have been seen dead in. Although I tried with full might (and many dollars!) to keep a sense of style during my pregnancies, I admit that I could not avoid the dreaded tops with the ties at the back. Oh, how I hate those ties. But, oh, how hard it is to find maternity clothes without them!

You’ve pimped your ride: Did you stick one of those “Baby on Board” signs on your car’s rear window? Come on … you can tell me. I won’t laugh (okay, maybe just a little!).

Plastic is now home decor: Where you once may have had a red leather sofa as the centerpiece, you now have piles of plastic crap — I mean, toys — covering virtually every square inch of your living room. Yes, not only have you pimped your car, you’ve pimped your home too! (Perhaps I should contact the producers of the “Pimp my ride” television series and pitch a “Pimp my life” show?)

Your purse was a baby shower gift from Toys R Us: Did you grudgingly accept the fact when your baby was born that you’d have to trudge around town carrying a diaper bag? Sure, we all did. But now, tell me this: Has your child been out of diapers for a few years now? So why are you using it as your hand bag still? It’s okay, don’t cry. You’re not alone.

Your idea of a sports car is a mini-van with a mini soccer ball hanging from the rear-view mirror: Sure, they’re practical. No argument there. But did anyone ever grow up dreaming of owning a mini-van? And have you ever known someone under the age of 30 to own one?

Swiss Chalet is gourmet: Remember during your courtship how you two would dine in the latest restaurant du jour? You threw on an outfit at a moment’s notice (without ties at the back, dammit!) and wined and dined on new and interesting tastes. Now, it’s all relative to McDonalds. So Swiss Chalet is a gourmet treat!

Okay, this list could go on forever. At this point, you may be wondering what has started me on this little tirade. So, I’ll tell you. That’s right … I will publicly pronounce just how far we’ve slid. We’ve gone from the couple who did “real” camping — never “car camping”; EVER. We went out into the wilderness searching for locales where no other humans would be. Or had possibly ever been! But not anymore, my dear friends. We’ve sacrified our sense of outdoorsy cool at the altar of family.

We just bought one of these:

That’s right — a tent trailer. Have a little chuckle. It’s okay, I’ll forgive you.

Not only have we given up our “street cred” as “real” campers, we have it proudly popped-out in the driveway as a type this post.

Okay, it’s worse than that. My husband is sleeping out in the tent trailer — in the driveway — as I type this post! And this is his second night in a row doing so.  

And he’s not out there because he’s in the proverbial dog house — it’s because Stella and her friends are so darn excited with it that they’ve been begging for sleep-overs in it. So, although he may have sacrified his own personal sense of “cool,” hubby is definitely cool in the eyes of the under-eight set. And that’s got to count for something. Right? …. right?


  1. I think it’s great! I’d be proud too!

  2. Hilarious post! I love it! I admit to being somewhat shocked at this new development, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon.

    I actually have a friend who owns a minivan – a Grand Caravan in fact. And he’s under 30! But no soccer ball. Funny thing is, it’s so practical that I’m jealous of it, especially when I drive my little four-banger around filled to the brim with gear.

  3. Oooh! I loved the camper trailer my parents had when we were kids. My parents were both teachers so we got a lot of use out of them. We went all the way from Ontario to BC and back one summer, and to the Maritimes and back a couple of summers. Plus we did mini-trips all over the place.

    I grew up in the country and we had a decently large property, so we kept our camper trailer up all summer long. My friends used to think it was so cool to come over and hang out in the trailer. When I got a wee bit older I used to have sleep-overs in the trailer.

    Oh, as for the other sacrifices, thought I’d offer one idea. Our trick for still occasionally eating out in nice restaurants with the kids is to go for lunch on weekends. Nicer restaurants seem to be a lot more welcoming of kids at lunchtime than dinner. Also, you don’t feel like you may be ruining the ambiance of someone’s date at lunchtime. We’ve managed to eat at some really nice places with the kids.

    My husband and I keep talking about getting a camper trailer someday. At the very least, we may rent one every once and a while.

  4. I love this! Hubby and I used to do a lot of canoe camping before we had kids, and we have even canoe camped once with kids, which went surprisingly well. But it was so much work honestly, I’m not sure I would want to do it again.
    I think the tent trailer is perfect for family get-aways. Enjoy!
    P.S. I don’t have a minivan, never had a Baby on Board sign, and have never considered myself cool to begin with. But yes, I’m with you on the Swiss Chalet part :)

  5. There was a time when I would laugh at that…but those days are gone. I think it looks fun and wouldn’t mind one for our family! lol Congrats.

  6. Camper Trailer, now that’s styling. My parents took us camping in tents all the time when we were kids. They didn’t get a real “camper” until I was too old and cool to enjoy it. Now their camper even has an air conditioner. Why even go camping if you have an a/c.

    Enjoy the tent trailer, the kids will love it.

  7. Too funny. I tend to notice it more when we travel and have to go to the “family friendly” places.

    The Man and The Boy head off together canoe camping once a year, The Boy looks forward to it but our hiking days are done for a bit. We are, however, all over car camping.

    We never did the baby on board sign, it seemed to just be going too far. 😉

  8. Yes, you’ve joined our world however, I venture to say that some of your gretest memories will be in that camper trailer. Have fun!

  9. Funny post! When I first started reading I thought, oh no, I’m not one of those moms, but as I read on I quickly realized that I have too have accepted Swiss Chalet as a gourmet restaurant and I got kind of excited about the camping trailer! (Sleeping on the ground is just way too hard on the back nowadays;)

  10. I think your husband is the height of cool. BTW our kids are now teenagers and we go to Swiss Chalet without them. Oh Lord! Is that how the seniors’ lifestyle starts?

  11. Thanks for all the laughs everyone! (You gotta laugh, or you’d cry, right?)

    And I’m so happy to hear how many fond memories you have from your own tent trailer experiences. I hope I’ll have some good ones to share with you come Fall!

  12. I’m with you on everything but Swiss Chalet – ICK! We bought a trailer 3 years ago and it’s been the best thing ever. There is no way I would go tent camping with three kids (one a toddler) so it was the only way to go! I do have non-kid friends who look at us and say “I’ll never….” I just smile a bit on the inside and think “You just wait!”

    Great post!

  13. I think that is amazing!! My husband and I are big campers and outdoors people, but we have not yet ventured out overnight with the three kids. We have been talking about getting a tent trailer for months now!!! We want it for our annual trip out East (my parents live in NS and we go stay at the beach they live on every summer) and my thought is we could camp along the way and have it be a lot easier than tenting with three small kids. We thought about renting one this summer before we commit to buying it.

    So, no, definitely no laughing on my behalf. I’m envious!!

  14. Angelina says:

    I love this post – found it via the camping ideas you posted on Kids ottawa. Love the tent trailer… friends just bought one too.
    So cool!!

  15. Reading back blogs here and I love this!  I have this huge fantasy of a cross country trip with an RV or pop up trailer.  I have never done a trip where I bring my kitchen with me and I would love to do so one day!

    • coffeewithjulie says:

      @Brenda A The crazy thing is that we’ve never used the kitchen – not once! We’ve never actually ever hooked it up to water or electricity. We just use the BBQ that pops out of the side.

  16. I love this post Julie, I was laughing out load while reading it…so true! Thanks for letting me share it in my camping Round-Up.

  17. Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!

    Extremely useful information specially the remaining section :) I
    deal with such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a
    long time. Thanks and good luck.

Speak Your Mind