Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Clothes (Don't) Make the Woman

When I was a young teacher (cute! blonde! size 4!), I noticed that a lot of stay-at-home moms brought their kids to school in ratty sweats, baggy tee shirts, messy hair. They looked like a lot of teenage boys today: the "I just woke up, threw on whatever was laying on the floor, and came to school" look. I clearly remember thinking, Seriously, ladies, how hard is it to slap on a little make-up, put on a clean pair of jeans, and get to school at 7:30? I vowed that would never be me.

Ha, ha, freakin' ha.

These days, I put on just enough mascara and tinted moisturizer so as not to embarrass my daughters, run my fingers through my hair, and grab whatever's laying on top of the laundry basket - and doesn't smell too much like sunscreen or dog. I've even gone through the carpool line in my Tinkerbell pajamas and Ugg boots. Don't get me wrong: if I have a meeting, a volunteer committment, somewhere other than my laundry room to be, I'll go all out. Blow dyer, flat iron, makeup, clean jeans and "real" shoes (not flip flops for my inner San Diego girl). But if I'm heading to the gym or back home to my desperately-in-need-of-bleach bathrooms, why bother? I'm just going to need another shower later anyway. My friend Jennifer is usually wearing gym shorts and sneakers when I see her at school. She calls it her "uniform". When she glams it up, she looks amazing, but really, what's the point at 7 AM?

Just to be clear, I am not speaking of working moms who are headed to the office after putting in a full morning at home, packing lunches and getting kids off to school. Working moms amaze me. They have full make-up, perfect hair, and coordinating jewelry - before 8 AM! No, I'm talking about those of us who are going back home to make beds, do dishes, sort laundry, walk the dog. If you want to get up an hour early to get ready for drop off, more power to you. You look fantastic; I admire your dedication and your effort. It's just that I don't want to do it anymore. I don't HAVE to do it anymore. Soon enough I'll be back at work in full make-up and pantyhose, but this time around I won't judge anyone for how they spend their precious morning minutes.

Slacker Mom's ok to slack off and sleep an extra half hour, even if it's just once or twice a week. You can do your make-up and hair when you get back home. Anyone who judges you isn't worth your time and certainly isn't your friend. Let's redefine our expectations for women and for stay-at-home moms. We all want to look our best, but we shouldn't have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to do it!

And please don't judge me if you see me in the hallway in baggy sweats and a ratty tee shirt. I'm probably off to the gym.


  1. As I read, I have my 'uniform' on! And guess what, tomorrow I'll be in my shorts/tee and running shoes, again! Hey, I figure that way, I can really throw people off when I show up with make-up and nice clothes.

    Love the blog!

  2. First of all, do not feel bad about not doing your hair or just putting on minimal make. We all do it! Working moms or not. I am a full time mom, teacher, and wife. Okay maybe not full time wife since my husband is only home three days a week. However, after a night of catching up on household chores, lesson plans, grading papers and experiencing yet another night of interrupted sleep due to the children I become a true slacker mom. I hit the snooze button twice before dragging myself into the shower. I only blow dry my bangs and throw the rest up in a clip. On my way down stairs I wake up the girls by undressing them and putting on their uniforms while they're still half asleep. Once we all make it down stairs I grab my coffee (thank goodness for automatic coffee makers) and serve the girls cereal. The label on the box says whole grain guaranteed...must be okay! While they are eating their NUTRITIOUS breakfast I throw together their lunches. On really bad mornings I've even been guilty of swinging by the grocery store on the way to school and buying lunchables. My girls think it's great because I almost always say no when they ask me to purchase them. I proceed to drop the four year old off at preschool and head into work with my other two kids. So now there I stand in front of eighteen students at 7:30 am, caffeine pumping through my veins, hair still wet clipped on top of my head, a touch of mascara, with a big smile on my face ready for the days challenges.

    Life does not slow down. There is never enough time. No amount of sleep is sufficient. Everyones needs always seem to come before your own. Therefore, I feel as a professional slacker mom, that not looking like the women that grace the pages of Vogue is okay in my book.

  3. Nina, that made me laugh out loud! You rock! You are an amazing mom, teacher, wife, friend. You do it all and rarely have fantastic kids, wonderful students, and you still make time for your husband and your friends. I love you!