You know those mothers who always look perfect? They fix their hair and wear make-up every day, they only wear workout clothing if they are actually working out, and in general they just seem to have it together? Yeah. I am not one of those mothers. I’m the other kind.
I’m the kind of mother who wears a velour tracksuit on a good day. For me, putting on a pair of jeans counts as “dressing up.” In fact, I’ve been known to take off my jeans when I get home and put on a pair of sweats or yoga pants because that way, my jeans don’t get dirty and I can wear them again the next time I leave the house (and despite the fact that I probably own 10 pairs of jeans, there are maybe 2 that actually fit). I own make up, but I don’t wear it very often, and I’ve been known to go 6 months or more without a haircut. I usually intend to at least blow-dry my hair on days when I get a shower, but about 80% of the time, I’m at school drop-off with wet hair.
When did this happen? I used to have a job. Yes, it was as a teacher, but I viewed myself as a professional and dressed accordingly. The only time I wore jeans to work was on “casual Friday,” with a school shirt. My first year of teaching, I even wore heels to school. I fixed my hair and put on make up every day. I did not own a velour tracksuit. Somewhere after giving birth to Princess, I just kind of stopped.
Maybe it was the time when, on my birthday, I ended up changing a diaper while I was dripping wet in a towel and never had a chance to really finish getting ready before the sitter arrived and we needed to leave (I did, at least, put on clothing). Maybe it was before I figured out Princess was sensitive to dairy and I was getting covered in exorcist baby puke multiple times a day. Maybe it was that at some point, I decided it was more necessary to my mental health to leave the house than to keep up with all that personal grooming. Maybe it was the fact that no one else seemed to care if I put on make up or not.
Whatever it was, here I am almost six years later. And it seems like, no matter what I do, I can’t get back to making my appearance a priority. I’m not suggesting I wear professional clothing to take my kids to playgroup, but I’d at least like to fix my hair and wear a little mascara. Last year, it was my New Year’s resolution to take more pride in my appearance. However, no matter what I did, pretty much every time I tried to put on make up or fix my hair, something happened. Someone had a potty accident, or got sick, or needed me to peel a banana, or was crying in a heap on the floor because they didn’t get to sit in the chair they wanted at the breakfast table and needed a snuggle. Even if I did manage to put on “real” clothing, someone wiped their nose on my sweater or their crumb-covered hands on my pants. What was the point?
Which makes me wonder—how do those put-together women do it? Are their children just less needy than mine? Do their husbands get the kids ready so that they can fix their hair? Are they just better at utilizing the television as a distraction? Are they getting up at 4 a.m.??? And what is wrong with me that I can’t seem to get it together?
This morning, I tried. I did manage to shower and put on make up, but I ran out of time to dry my hair because Princess needed me to stand over her and remind her 4 million times what she needed to do next to get ready for school (brush your teeth, brush your teeth, BRUSHYOURTEETH, FORTHELOVEOFGOD BRUSHYOURTEETH!!!!!!) and Caveman was on some sort of pre-growth-spurt eating binge and needed another waffle (toaster, of course, I don’t actually make breakfast). I managed to put on jeans and a sweater, and even a necklace. I wore cute shoes. And then I went to drop-off, came home, and did laundry. Somewhere in there, I decided my jeans were too tight and put on yoga pants. Then my necklace kept getting caught on things when I bent over and I took it off. Then my feet were cold and I put on socks, which will not work with my cute shoes.
Sigh. I am not one of those women who have it together. Maybe I never will be. I’m going to keep trying, because I know I’d feel better if I thought I looked better. But for now, I’m going to clean my kitchen.