I clearly remember my first shopping experience after I had my daughter Allison. After three weeks of being cooped up in our California home (and wearing nothing but pajamas), I decided it was time for my baby and me to have our first big day out of the house. I was ready to celebrate the fact that I was no longer pregnant and was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to buy some new clothes. As much as I loved being pregnant, I was anticipating the thought of buying things for my post-baby body.
I carefully packed my baby bag with all of the things I might need for a big day out as a new mom…diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes. I loaded the car with the stroller and fed Allison one last time before I put her in the car seat and headed to the mall. As I parked my car outside of Nordstrom, I felt a bit nervous about our adventure together. I’d never gone shopping with a baby, other than one in tow while pregnant where I knew there would be no crying, spitting, or diaper explosion. I got out of the car, opened the trunk, got out the stroller, and opened it up. I opened the car door and released Allison’s car seat. I lifted it up and attached it to the stroller. I found my over-stuffed baby bag and placed it in the bottom of the stroller. Whew! Step one, getting out of the car, complete. Shopping with a baby should be a piece of cake!
As I approached the doors at Nordstrom, my first obstacle appeared. My mind started to ponder the thought, “How in the heck do I open the door and push the baby stroller through at the same time?” Needless to say, I figured it out….I opened the door and held it open with my butt while I pushed the stroller through…not a pretty picture, but it worked. If I made absolutely no eye contact with anyone watching me struggle, the embarrassment would be a bit more minimal, right?
I was so happy to get inside an air conditioned building because by now, I was covered in sweat. As I stood in the doorway of Nordstrom taking a deep breath of relief that step two was accomplished by getting IN the doors, I quickly realized that someway, somehow, I needed to get to the second floor. I looked at the narrow escalator that I had been used to taking and I realized that my stroller was not going to make it up the escalator. Although I had never taken an elevator at a department store, I knew there must be one so I looked for a salesperson to point me in the right direction. After discovering the location of the elevator, I headed up to the second floor in hopes of finding some cute, casual shirts. On the way up, Allison started to wake up and was beginning to cry…I began to feel really hot and sweaty. Oh no, not again! I reminded myself that no eye contact with others meant I was really not that sweaty or struggling as a new mom.
I knew my time was limited so I quickly scoured the second floor looking for a top. I had trouble pushing my stroller through the aisles and several times my stroller got stuck. Looking at all the clothes began to overwhelm me and I desperately wished that someone would help me. Allison began to fuss even more and I realized that I was going to have to feed her. I found the women’s bathroom where I nursed and changed her. This took 40 minutes. My time was running out!
I hurried to the clothing again, desperate to find a top. I grabbed a few tops in several sizes because I truly didn’t know what size I was since I had just had a baby. I pushed the stroller to the dressing room and began to throw on tops knowing that I had limited time. It went from bad to worse! As I put on the tops, I quickly realized that my body had NOT returned to my pre pregnant size. My boobs were enormous and I had some “extra weight” around my stomach. “Megan Tamte pre-baby body, meet Megan Tamte post-baby body.” Excuse me new body in the mirror, I don’t believe we’ve met before. What happened?!?!?
It was at this time when the beautiful, super skinny, 20-year old saleswoman knocked on my door to ask me how I was doing. I handed her the tops I had tried on and asked her to find them in a bigger size. A few minutes later she returned with the larger sizes as well as a few new tops for me to try on. I closed the dressing room door and quickly began to try on all the tops. Panic struck as I quickly realized that all the tops were too small, too tight, or did not fit my lifestyle as a new mom. Tears started to swell in my eyes as I realized that I was not going to find anything that worked for me on that day. The saleswoman looked confused when I left with tears in my eyes and wished me a good day.
Empty handed and feeling sad, tired, sweaty and hot, I pushed my stroller to the elevator and headed to the main floor where I opened the door for myself and pushed the stroller through. I found my car, placed Allison in her car seat, and drove home feeling lonely, frustrated, and frumpy. As much as I loved my new baby, I didn’t love the way my body had so drastically changed.
Although this day seemed to be a disaster that I wanted to forget in the moment, I’m thankful for this horrible shopping experience because it changed my life and developed a passion I never knew existed in me. This was the beginning of the creation of Hot Mama. In the months following this event, I began to dream about a boutique that catered to moms. From first hand experience, I “got” what it felt like to adjust to a whole new way of life and an altered body once I become a mom. My dream became a reality and it was developing into what would some day be like another baby to me. When born, I would name it Hot Mama. Over the course of a couple of years, my husband Mike and I did a ton of dreaming, a lot of research and finally created a business plan.
Seven years later, we opened our first Hot Mama store in Edina, Minnesota. On November 5th, 2004, my dream became a reality and a boutique that catered to moms was born. From the birth of our third child, Hot Mama Tamte, we’ve watched it blossom into stores beyond our first store in Edina, Minnesota.
I’m no longer the mom I was when I began dreaming up the Hot Mama concept many years ago. My kids are older and my life has changed. However, I need Hot Mama more today than ever. Like so many moms with school aged kids, my life is really busy. I work really hard to try to balance a full-time job and motherhood. I don’t have a lot of time to shop for myself because I am always shopping for someone else!! I seem to always be somewhere between “drop off” and “pick up” so when I’m in a store, I appreciate all of the help I can get. I also face the challenge that so many women face of wanting to look young and hip, but not wanting to dress like my pre-teen daughter which is SO not hot!
I need clothes that are quick and easy to wear that can take me from a board meeting, to my son’s baseball game, to a date night with my hubby. I love that our buyers keep this in mind as they look for trend right clothes and accessories that work for a variety of ages and lifestyles. I’ve also become VERY aware over the past couple of years, of how age has affected my body. I have to work harder than ever to stay at my jean size, I’ve learned the value of a good bra, and I count on Hot Mama to help me find pieces that flatter my body type. Most importantly, I’ve learned over the years how important it is for me to take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually so I can be the best mom I can be.
I truly LOVE moms and I feel honored that I get the chance to serve them every day. Each mom is a Hot Mama, but it’s easy to lose sight of that in the midst of motherhood. My greatest hope is that moms walk into our stores feeling like we are a store just for them and out our doors CONFIDENT that the Hot Mama within them has come alive again!