Before I was a mom, I was one of those women who swore I would do it differently. I wouldn’t adopt the uniform of leggings and long t-shirts that I’d seen so many of my friends take on. No, I would take the time to wake up before the children, pour myself a cup of coffee, shower, do my hair and makeup and greet them and the day with poise. Then, I had two kids and was served a healthy dose of reality.
Now? I crawl into bed around 1 a.m. after working all evening as a part-time technical writer. I can’t respond to emails and create proposal templates with two nuggets at my feet, so I push it all back until the evening, when they’re asleep after a fun day of playing together. If I’m lucky, I snag about six hours of sleep each night before my youngest calls out to me from his crib, “Mama! Wakey wakey!”
So I wake up, pull him into bed with me and pray that he’ll get engrossed in his favorite cartoon long enough for me to get just a few minutes more of shut-eye. Most of the time, though, he’s clawing at my eyes and pulling at my hair, asking for milk and handing me the remote control. Getting up early to grab a cup of coffee? More like pouring milk into a sippy cup before the sun even rises with one eye open and one eye shut.
Inevitably, unless we have somewhere very important to go that warrants putting on actual pants, I’ll pull on my comfy, stretchy leggings and a shirt long enough to cover my backside. I do this for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that I’m constantly moving throughout my day. I’m bending to wipe noses and pick up toddlers. I’m crawling on the floor pretending to be a baby seal looking for her mom (a real game I played today). I’m spinning my daughter and bouncing my son. I know they make jeans with stretch in them but by the end of the day, even my most elastic jeans have given up and are ill-fitting, uncomfortable and chafing. So, leggings it is and a shirt big enough to stretch, jump, play, crawl and climb in with ease.
Of course, now that summer is here, I’m switching it up a little bit and favoring cotton day dresses with pockets. Keep in mind these are not dresses you would wear to any event that’s even slightly formal. These are “just got home from the swimming pool and need something to wear while supper cooks and my suit dries” articles of clothing. Most are more akin to a nightgown than an actual dress but that just makes them even sweeter. I can wear them to the library, the children’s museum, the store and the preschool pickup line and then I can wear them to bed? Count me in!
I’ve favored comfort over cool for as long as I’ve been a mom but that doesn’t mean I’ve totally lost my sense of style. I can count my mom as an inspiration for that. A stay-at-home mom my entire childhood, she went back into the workforce when my youngest sibling entered middle school. I’d always remembered her in stirrup pants and a sweatshirt, her glorious, early-nineties bangs swept up. Suddenly, she was in blazers and blouses, looking sharper than ever. She worked for 10 years in accounts payable before automation transformed her role. Then, she went to work for the school system, where she still clocks in today. Throughout all of her roles and all of her transitions, she’s maintained her effortless beauty, reminding me that when a woman is truly happy, she could be wearing a paper bag and still be beautiful.
I’ll get back to slipping on pointy heels, slacks and a button-down blouse every day, I’m sure. I’ll wear clothes that I don’t want to get stained, spit up on, or ripped. I’ll get up early and get myself ready and the kids will still be in bed, begging for a few more minutes of sleep. I know this season is short, so I’m amping up the chill level while I can, especially when every other facet of parenthood can be ridiculously harried and stressful at times.