I could use a gay friend right now.

Eeeek!!!!!!

Here’s a clothing challenge for all you fashion mavens out there: what does a mom wear to a meeting with Parenting magazine that will still look presentable after a six-hour train ride with two kids?

Any ideas? I could use some. I’m taking my two children to New York this weekend with my mom, my two sisters and my niece. The rest of my family lives in Virginia so we catch the train there at 7am and arrive in New York by 2pm. The train is really a great way to travel with kids and I have taken this trip with my daughter Anna twice, but this is the first year my son Cade will be joining all the girls. (And after all the public pooting he did over the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m guessing he’s going to bring a whole new dynamic to our “girls trip.”)

It just so happens that Parenting wants to meet with my co-author Stephanie and me this Friday, which is great because I don’t have to make two trips. But, I am literally going to get off the train and head straight to their office – so I have to be dressed for the meeting. Now, I am a mom, not a corporate banker, so I can dress like a mom. But I always strive for that “successful, hip, smart mom” look…and never quite pull it off. My near-forty figure presents some challenges as well (I had muffin top before they called it muffin top). Then there’s the frigid New York weather. The last time we were in New York Stephanie nearly froze and we had to immediately find a store to get her a scarf and gloves. She told me matter-of-factly, “I don’t know what I am wearing this time but it will include a turtleneck.”

What I’m thinking is one of those cute (and loose) black sweater dresses with leggings and low-heeled boots. Except that I am not 21 and I don’t own a sweater dress, leggings or low-heeled boots. But in theory it seems perfect. Comfy for the train ride, black to hide anything the kids inevitably spill on me, boots and leggings will be warm…what could possibly go wrong? Except that I’ll end up looking like a mom who stuffed herself into an outfit from the Junior department. This is when I need a good gay guy friend to go shopping with me. Gay guys will tell you the truth the way girlfriends won’t (and they make you laugh while they are doing it). I can just hear my friend Jaycen from Virginia Beach: “Honey, leggings and childbearing hips do not belong on the same body.”

So…any of you over thirty moms out there pulled off leggings?

Sara is the author of The Mommy Chronicles: Conversations Sharing the Comedy and Drama of Pregnancy and New Motherhood (Hay House, 2005) and The Must-Have Mom Manual coming from Ballantine/Random House April, 2009.

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