How to Build a Maternity Wardrobe on a Budget

 

Some of you beautiful mamas out there LOVE being pregnant. You’re glowing, you’re excited, and you’ve never felt better! I wasn’t exactly in that boat.

I mean, I was absolutely thrilled to be having a baby, but I’m about the most impatient person in the world! 9 months seemed like an excruciatingly long wait, especially when I already felt like I’d been waiting 31 years to be a Mom. I felt nauseous, exhausted, and though I kept checking the mirror for it, I was definitely not seeing the infamous “glow”.

I’m prone to bloating even when not pregnant, so buttoning pants was out of the question pretty early on. (The ol’ hair tie trick saved me for a little while!)

First, I tried to rework my closet to accommodate the bloat. I was NOT going to be that pregnant girl wearing baggy t-shirts and athletic shorts every day, and let’s not even talk about buying a pair of jeans with elastic on the top. Ugh. (Eventually, I ended up doing both.)

Here were the biggest challenges to my maternity wardrobe:

  1. I’m a teacher. I needed to look professional during the week, but fashionable comfort was my go-to on the weekends.
  2. Being due in October in New York meant my closet needed to be equipped for 3 out of 4 seasons with temps ranging from 50 degrees (or less) to 90 degrees!
  3. I refused to spend a lot of my fashion budget on clothes I’d only be wearing for a few months.
  4. Pinterest made me want to be the cutest, most fashionable pregnant lady anyone had ever seen. (Yes, you might find a board on my Pinterest called Pregnancy Goals.)

For the first 2 trimesters, I was able to rework some of my existing wardrobe to fit my expanding belly.

Step One: Scour your closet, and KEEP these items:

-Long tank tops

-Long t-shirts

-Leggings, Especially LuLaRoe!

(If you haven’t heard of LLR, you need to find a consultant in your area. The leggings are like butter.)

-Those cotton sundresses hiding in the back of your closet that are way too short to wear but that you can’t stand to get rid of because they’re SO cute (These make adorable long shirts with leggings!)

-Stretchy dresses or summer dresses (They work even with a slight belly.)

-Stretchy maxi skirts

-Stretchy jeans (Dig those jeggings out from the back of your closet because when you don’t have ANY jeans, you’ll want these. Promise.)

-Cardigans

See? You actually have a really good start to your maternity wardrobe if you can breathe life back into some forgotten pieces in your closet. If you’re anything like me, these won’t work for your big belly in the third trimester, but they’ll get you through for now.

Take everything else from your closet and store it away somewhere for 9 months. This way, you won’t be staring longingly at those skinny jeans. It also makes getting dressed in the morning a little more organized.

Clothing Items You Won’t Want to See Again for 9 Months or More:

-Crop tops (Some girls can totally pull this off. Me? No. I didn’t even have any to begin with unless we’re talking about my favorite Dave Matthews tank that accidentally shrunk in the dryer.)

-Skinny jeans without stretch

-Any tight dress with a zipper and no give to the fabric

-Heels (Again, some of you glamorous moms can pull this off. My feet were swollen, and I was way too tired to try to give off the impression that they weren’t.)

-Flowy shirts or tanks (These just weren’t flattering in my case- they made me look much larger.)

Now It’s Time to Shop! Here are the Basic Items You’ll Want to Get You Through the Next 9 Months:

Maternity Budget Capsule Wardrobe

Luckily, I had a few items given to me by friends. I was also able to hit up the local consignment shops for some gently used maternity items. Check out Cuddle Bugs Consignment in Moreau and Saratoga! They have a large selection of maternity, including nursing tanks and covers!

I splurged on these items, and they were totally worth it:

1. Maternity Jeans. ($35)

This pair of cropped skinny jeans caught my eye because they would get me through almost every season of the pregnancy. Looking back, I wish I would’ve bought them a size bigger because they weren’t the most comfortable in the third trimester. In the beginning, a friend recommended buying full panel in any pants, and I was thanking her later. You’ll want to hike everything up over that belly!

2. This tank. In. Every. Color. ($13)

They’re long, they’re comfy, and they look cute under all your existing cardigans. And they’re everything on the weekends. And in the summer. Just get them.

3. These T-Shirts ($15)

(See all the reasons above.)

4. A Maxi Dress (Prices vary)

For days you want to feel pretty but don’t want to sacrifice any comfort, go with a maxi! Be sure to check this site for coupons and clearance. If it’s not on sale when you’re shopping, try again next week. They run new promos all the time.

5. Cotton T-Shirt Dress (Prices vary)

Comfort + Fashion = Cute & Happy Mom. I actually wore this one to my baby shower. It was a Jack n’ Jill Baby-Q, so this dress was perfect.

6. Crop Stretch Pants ($32)

These were my faves because I could get away with wearing them to teach, but no one knew they were entirely made of stretch and had a stretchy panel. The best part is they have an elastic band you can tighten up at the top of the panel. That sounds super dorky, but trust me, when you can’t wear a belt, elastic is a lifesaver. Buy these a size up for sure.

7. Maternity Leggings (Prices Vary)

You’ll want several pair of these if you’re anything like me. I wore them almost every day to school during the cool weather months because I could get away with pairing them with a tank and cardigan, a light weight tunic, or even one of my regular-sized short dresses. On the weekends, there’s nothing better!

8. Lightweight Tunic ($20)

To finish off your wardrobe, you’ll want a few lightweight tunics for days you want to throw something on quickly without having to put in much thought. And there’s the whole comfort theme going again!

Reworking my wardrobe around comfort really worked to make my 9 months a lot easier. I even came to like my maternity wardrobe better than my normal one! I might even still wear my full panel leggings from time to time. 😉 What tips do you have for stretching your closet to make room for a baby belly?

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Family Game Night: Minute to Win It

My sister called the other night to ask if I would set up some sort of game night. Of course, I couldn’t just bring a bunch of board games. No. It had to be a real competition with clear rules and a scoreboard. And a grand prize. We take game night seriously!

I did a quick Pinterest search for family game nights and gathered a bunch of games based on the TV show, Minute to Win It. On the show, contestants have one minute to complete little tasks that seem nearly impossible.

We picked the games that would be the funniest to watch, plus a bunch we had played at a party on New Year’s. (Doesn’t hurt that we had a little practice with those!)

Instead of having to complete the task in a minute, we wanted to add another element of competition by noting who completed the activity in the fastest time. We gave 5 points to the first place time, 3 points to the second place time, 2 to third, and 1 to fourth. If we had a tie, those two faced off to determine the score.

I was the one who suggested leaving the most challenging task for last, allowing people to bet their points. I have to admit, I suggested this to benefit myself because I knew I’d end up low on the scoreboard, and I didn’t want to feel defeated before the games were done. (I’m good at a lot of things…coordination isn’t one of them!)

We had to grab a few supplies. Here’s what we bought or found around the house:

  • Plenty of ping pong balls
  • Solo cups
  • A pair of nylons
  • A tennis ball
  • An empty tissue box
  • A big belt (preferably the kind you can loop through the buckle so it fits all sizes)
  • A bucket
  • A clipboard
  • Four 4×6 index cards
  • A package of cookies
  • A slice of bread & some peanut butter
  • M&Ms
  • Straws
  • Poster board and markers for the score board

This should help you organize your next game night, and hopefully you perform better than I did in the lineup!

Cookie Face

Place a cookie on your forehead. You have one minute to wiggle that cookie down into your mouth without using your hands. It works best if the player is seated, and if your cookie hits the ground, start again. You might want to have plenty of cookies and a video camera on hand!

Movin’ On Up

Mark one of the Solo Cups as the special cup, or use a different color. I’ve seen a bunch of variations of this one, but we used 25 cups and started with the special cup on top. Moving cups from top to bottom, work that cup all the way back to the top again.

Straw Power

Place 25 M&Ms on a plate. Move the M&Ms one at a time from one plate to the other using only a straw. Prepare to be lightheaded from this one! Or if you’re like me, you won’t even be able to get one M&M to move. Oops! I blame it on the cheap straws we bought with the tiny opening.

Bouncy Ball

Line up 6 solo cups in a single file line in front of you. Stand facing the lineup of cups. Bounce a ping pong ball into one cup at a time, removing the cups as you go. It doesn’t count if you bounce a ping pong ball into the second one unless you’ve made it in the first. My mom dominated this one!

Knock Out

This was my favorite because it was hysterical to watch! Clear an area on the floor and set up 12 cups spread as far out as possible in a large circle. Have each player place the nylon bottoms on their head with a tennis ball in the toe of one of the legs. The object is to knock down all 12 cups one at a time. If they knock down 2 at a time by accident, put them both back up.

On the Rebound

One player holds a clipboard near their waist with a bucket placed at their feet. The other player tries to bounce a ping pong ball off of the clipboard and into the bucket. They must get 5 balls in to win, and it’s not as easy as it looks! (No help from the clipboard holder!)

PB & B

To set this up, place a slice of bread with peanut butter on the floor (or on a lower surface). Bounce a ping pong ball off a higher surface trying to get it to land directly on the peanut butter with one bounce.

Shake It Off (AKA Junk in the Trunk)

This is another event you’ll want the camera out for! Tape the empty tissue box to the back of the belt. Players should place the belt on their waist and load the tissue box with 8 ping pong balls. Players need to shake all 8 ping pong balls out of the tissue box.

At this point, we counted up each player’s points and had them make their bets on slips of paper to prepare for the final challenge!

The Final Challenge- Card Pull

We picked this game as the final challenge because it is so difficult! In one minute, players need to stack 5 cups with index cards in between each and remove the index cards one at a time from top to bottom, without letting the cups fall. If you do it right, the cups will land one inside the other. If you mess it up, hopefully you didn’t bet all those points!