I like to describe myself as a shoe aficionado… well that is I USED to be one… since I became a mum a couple of years ago, my passion for shoes has taken a back seat. Now instead of putting on those beautiful shoes that sit in my wardrobe, I go for the comfortable options – the well-worn sneakers, the relaxed Toms, the pumps with a hole in the sole that always leak and yet I keep putting them on because they are the easy option or the Uggs where my toe has come through the top…
All the while, my beloved sparkly heels stay firmly in the wardrobe, alongside those blingy sandals I love, the velvet mules I could dance all night in, my one and only pair of Manolos, my wedding day Jimmy Choos, those Chanel pumps I saved up for, my Prada leather boots I practically queued all night for in the Brown Thomas sale, all sit there collecting dust.
Sad. Lonely. Forgotten.
I open the wardrobe and look at them longingly for a moment remembering when I could take my time to get ready and chose just the right shoe for the right outfit. I’ve always loved shoes. I think for me, the thing about shoes is that once you reach a certain age, your shoes size doesn’t change. You can walk into any shop and just ask for your size knowing that it should fit. Unlike my waistline that fluctuated over my life, leaving me feeling good and bad in equal measure, my feet were the one constant. They gave me a way to express myself without drawing attention to my body shape I struggled with for most of my life.
Shoes are more than just shoes. For me, every shoe in my wardrobe has a story behind. There was a conscious reason why it was bought. Shoes to me are as much about being something beautiful to look at than where I was going to wear it too. I look at a shoe and I can remember, where it was bought, for what occasion, why I loved it etc. They are like a scrapbook of my life in many ways… well that is my life before I became a mum.
So as I stand there momentarily wishing I was back in my Manolo’s, even though truth be told, I could hardly walk in them, I then hear my toddler calling me, needing Mammy. I look down at my stain filled jeans and baggy top and sigh as I close the wardrobe and say goodbye to Niamh and go back to being a mum who has zero time to spend on her own appearance or interests any more.
Shoes have very much taken a back seat, like a lot of my other passions I don’t get to indulge in.
I’ve come to realise that my shoes mirror the loss of identity I felt when I became a mum for the first time. I no longer got to express myself through my shoes, instead going for the less elaborate, easier, more comfortable options because I was tired, in a hurry or just so preoccupied with my child, I didn’t give my footwear a second thought, in fact shoes were the last thing on my mind.
But today, I’ve decided to do something about that. From now on, I’m going to go through my beloved shoes once a week, take out a pair and share the story behind them… I might just pop them on too and walk around the house, much to my toddler’s bemusement, I’m sure.
I’m doing it, to remind me of those days before I was mammy, and to remind myself that while I know it’s full on mayhem at the moment, there will come a day when I get to step back into my sparkly shoes once again and while, some days, especially on those hard days it may not seem like it, there is life outside of being a mammy and not only is that important, it is key to keeping yourself sane.
First up are these really pretty, retro style Minna Parikka coral heels, I picked up in London in 2010! Yes how is that NINE years ago? It was mine and my now husbands first holiday together and I came across these in a small boutique in Covent Garden and snapped them up. As you can see I wore them quite a bit, but I couldn’t tell you the last time there were on my feet! I look at them now and they remind me of those early days of a relationship, the butterflies in the stomach, the dates, the meals out, the spending ages getting ready, the holding hands, the getting to know you, the laughing, the kissing and the burgeoning affection, that grew into something much more.