Fish out of Water: When Business Casual doesn’t Belong

As a working mom, do you ever feel like a fish out of water? I’m talking about those times before or after work, when you do something mom-ish in your business casual.

Jack at pool

Here I am, in 5 inch heels, trying to wrangle my toddler at the pool yesterday evening.  Swim lessons start at 6pm sharp.  If I’m lucky, I can make it in time to watch the last 15 minutes or so.  I’m sure the life guards hear the click, click, click of my shoes long before they see me.  I’m quite the spectacle, as I carefully navigate my way to the bleachers, trying not to slip on the wet tile.

At work, my coworkers lovingly call my platform pumps my combat boots.  I’ve worn them covering high profile court cases, stomping around crime scenes and even foolishly in the rain after forgetting to pack boots during storm coverage.  Up until now, I’ve never felt self conscious about them.  They’ve always been a part of my work wardrobe.  My professional look.  A look that always seemed to match what I was doing…until I became a mom.

Now, there are times I feel quite over dressed.  Like when I walk into the doctor’s office at 8am for a baby wellness checkup.  Or those occasional trips to the grocery store after work, with Jack in tow.  I can’t put my finger on the exact cause of the embarrassment that washes over me.  I suspect it’s a touch of working mom guilt mixed with stares from strangers that last a couple beats too long.

Back at the pool, the other moms aren’t particularly friendly, despite my eager hello’s and attempts at conversation.  Is it me they’re whispering to each other about?  Chances are, it’s in my head.  Or maybe I have a resting bitch face and don’t know it.  Unlikely, considering the goofy faces I make at my son, as my husband tries to convince him to put his face in the water.  The splashing around is adorable…I could watch them together for hours.POOL DAD

And just like that, this fish out of water makes a decision.  Next week I’ll bring my bathing suit and really give them something to talk about 😉


  1. Oh, Cait I feel like that too, but I’m on the other end of the sprectum, I’m wearing scrubs! I feel embarrassed when I take my 2.5 year old to the pediatrician for a problem in the morning before work and I’m in my scrubs, and he is fine, I feel like I’m getting judged since I’m a RN, I should know better. I feel underdressed when I go places after work, like the back-to-school night at day care. But my work is something I’m proud of.


    • Isn’t it crazy how self conscious we get?? I suspect most of it is in our heads. I for one would never judge you if I saw you in scrubs…you SHOULD be proud! 🙂


  2. If it makes you feel better, whenever I see a mom who obviously came from work at a kiddo gathering, and I’m in yoga pants, I think to myself “I hope she knows I work too!” Take pride in it. If they’re talking about you they’re either jealous, or hoping you’re not judging them! 🙂


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