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The Maternal Sole

I once tallied my motherhood by counting diaper changes and nursing sessions. A little later, I looked to birthday and New Year’s celebrations as an index of how much my life had changed. These are all perfectly good indicators of where things stand, but I think my shoes also have a story to tell. Bear with me here.

True story: When I first moved to Louisville, I had only one pair of shoes I could wear while walking across grass. I didn’t need more than one pair! I lived in San Francisco, worked in San Francisco, and spent 99.9% of my time clomping up and down cement sidewalks and asphalt streets. I owned one pair of sneakers for the gym or the park, and everything else included a grass-hating heel.

That changed somewhat when I moved to Louisville. Among other things, I felt pretty silly clomping around my house in heels. I work at home and have hard-wood floors, so it was loud and unnecessary in equal measure. Also, people around here have yards, and it is considered reasonable to be able to walk across them without having to change first. Still, the overall profile of my shoes did not change much: I just tossed a pair of sandals and low-heeled boots into the mix, and swapped out rubber wedges for wooden heels. Voila! Me: The Suburbanite.

That all changed dramatically with Simon. In the late stages of pregnancy, with an extra 20 pounds on my frame, teetering on heels wasn’t practical or safe. After Simon came along, the hours I spent pacing with him or standing with him put a strain on my feet and back that called for flats and arch support. That fall and winter, I bought a pair of Ecco sneakers and Dansko clogs, and I lived in them. For the first time since college, my footwear and my politics were perfectly in synch. Me: The Earth Mother.

By the time Simon’s first birthday came round, I was feeling a bit more like myself. I was back to work, back to sleeping better, and the days of colic were long gone. Nursing tops got put away, pants with elastic or draw-string waists were banished, and heels—those rubber or cork wedge ones–returned to the picture. I splurged on two pairs of La Canadienne suede booths with 2 ½ inch polyurethane heels. They were very comfortable, and they had some style to them, too. Me: The Soon-to-be Soccer Mom.La Canadienne Felicia

Now, as Simon approaches two, I’m beginning to resent all these grass-friendly shoes. They are surely comfortable and practical, but where’s the fun? I have a home to maintain. I schedule my life largely around school, child-care, naps, and meal-times. Simon has a 529b plan to fund. And I’m fine with all of this—great with it actually. But as I begin to remember more and more what I felt like as a child-less city dweller, I’m eager to fold a bit of that model into the present one. Surely we are not completely mutually exclusive.

Cole Haan CarmaSo early last month, after a difficult work meeting, I went out and bought a pair of silver Cole Haan peep-toe sling-backs with a narrow, 3 ¼ inch heel. I could never wear these suckers while walking across grass. Heck, I can barely walk in them at all! They are gloriously impractical and I adore them for it. The way I looked at it then—and in the wake of a financial melt-down on Wall Street and costly storm repairs at home this seems especially prescient and/or reckless of me—is if not now, when? The clock is ticking down on the viability of many of my past habits, but I’m not quite ready to shut the door on all of them forever. Or more to the point, feeling comfortable and at-home in Louisville and as a mom, I’m ready to let a little of the care-free San Francisco urbanite back in.

One Response to “The Maternal Sole”

  1. blg says:

    You go, girl! You deserve these shoes…they are lovely.
    Think of it this way – you could have spent a lot more on some fancy-dancy Sex in the City shoes with an Italian name.

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