When I was pregnant with my second child, I once met some friends for lunch with two different shoes on. Granted, carrying a 10-pounder, I hadn't been able to see over my belly, but you'd think I'd have taken the time to check the mirror. And just a few weeks ago, I was driving home from dropping my kids off at school when I happened to glance in my rear view mirror. In my haste to get everyone ELSE presentable, I'd forgotten to put mascara on one eye.
Before I had kids, I worked full-time. To quote that Klymaxx song from the 80s, my nails were done and my hair was fierce. I never left the house without lipstick. I wouldn't THINK about walking around in public in a stained tee-shirt or baggy sweatpants. Even my gym clothes were cute. I wore name brands: Gap, Ann Taylor, even the occasional Armani. Nowadays? I'll admit to grocery shopping in Wal Mart sweats and a tee-shirt that's older than my kids - and significantly less clean. I've told myself that it doesn't matter, that we moms are just so busy that we don't always have time to be put together.But isn't that just a load of crap? What if I still had a job? I might head to my kids' school with dripping hair and chipped nail polish, but would I go to work like that? My best friend and my sister are both working moms, and I've never seen them at the office with greasy hair, in sloppy sweats. At home, sure. On the weekends, without a doubt. But at work? Not on your life. They have kids and husbands and homes AND jobs, yet they manage to be presentable at work. They don't magically have more time than I do; if anything, they have less.
So here's my theory: it's not so much that it's socially acceptable to sometimes be a slob if we "just" stay home with our kids. It's that is more socially UNacceptable to go to work that way. You just can't get away with it, so you don't even try to.
Slacker Mom Says...yes, having babies fries your brain. It makes you forgetful, cranky, tired, and fat...but only for a few months. Then it's time to stop blaming the kids. If I don't take 20 minutes to slap on some make-up and do my hair, I can't blame anyone but myself. What does it say about me if my kids wear clean, pressed clothes and have lovely French braids, but my soaking wet hair is scraped back in a ponytail and my yoga pants were clearly pulled out of the hamper - for the third time this week? If I don't TAKE the time, you can be damn sure no one is going to give it to me! When I was a teacher, I felt like I couldn't get ahead; as soon as the towering stack of papers was graded, I'd have that day's work to grade all over again! Motherhood is a lot like that: No matter how many hours a day you spend doing it, there will always be something more to do. So why not just take a break and take some "me" time? Pathetic, I know, that doing my hair is "me" time, but maybe thinking of it like that will make it easier to TAKE the time that I deserve. My girls look to me to see what a mother means; I don't want them to think that they have to put themselves last once they become mothers. No, I don't need to look flawless all the time, but I'll be honest - I could be more pulled-together.
Besides, soon enough my kids will be in middle school. Then I'll need some way to embarrass them. So I'll save those Wal Mart sweats and the mac-and-cheese stained tee-shirts for awhile longer.