Monday, January 28, 2008

Casual Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays...

When I taught pre-K, I realized something very interesting. Even young children can identify who we are and what we do, if we wear a uniform. Every single 4-year-old kid in my class could point out firefighters, mail carriers, doctors, farmers, & chefs based on the clothes the person was wearing. (Granted: if those same kids saw my husband lounging on our couch in his ratty old Ohio State t-shirt, they probably wouldn't guess that he's a surgeon. They'd probably guess "bum." Or "couch potato." I'm just sayin'.)

I saw a blog a few weeks ago that's written by a stay-at-home mom who lives in California. (I've been searching like the dickens and can't find the link now, sorry!) She posts pictures of herself every day (or at least, every few days) in the stylish, attractive, (expensive) outfits she considers appropriate for SAHMs. I paged through her posts and found myself agape - there is NO way I would wear those things for my average, staying-at-home-with-a-toddler day.

Most of the moms I know seem to wear a motherhood uniform - a Momiform, if you will. It varies a little, based on the age range of your kids and the weather where you live. But for all intents and purposes, most of the moms I know are easily identifiable as moms. We aren't wearing Dior and Chanel on a daily basis; we're wearing jeans (not those!).

Personally, I had a little bit of a clothing crisis when I started this at-home gig. My closet was full of things that were great for teaching - but just a little too dressed-up for a day at home, breastfeeding and wiping my newborn's butt. Other than those work outfits, I had two options: jeans and various tops, or pajamas.

To be honest, there are lots of days that the PJs look like the best option. Recently, though, when I really started giving this Momiform concept some thought, I decided that getting up and getting dressed is important. It helps me feel like my day has officially started - and I'm a lot more productive on days I'm out of pajamas by 8:30 or 9:00 a.m.

I splurged a little bit on a pair of Hanna Andersson's sweats - they are undeniably the most expensive pair of sweatpants and matching jacket I've ever owned, but they are also the most comfortable, warm, and pulled-together pair I've ever seen. I choose these on days that I'm really just staying at home, maybe running outside to play or to get the mail, but that's it.

On days that we're running errands, attending playgroup, or going to appointments, I make slightly more effort. I searched for a long time to find nice-looking, affordable jeans. Now I have three pairs that I love beyond measure. A pair of Hanna "beach pants," some cords, & a few pairs of khakis round out my choices, and of course I have a whole assortment of sweaters and long-sleeved shirts.

This, my friends, is my uniform. I'm not wearing the latest, hottest runway looks. And the thing is, I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. Does it mean that I'm no longer thinking of myself as primarily a woman (god forbid, a sexy woman!) since I'm dressing more for function, washability, ease of putting things together without clashing - and less for the drama, the impact, the stunning fashion? Or does it mean that I'm a reasonable, practical, grown-up who has faced the reality of life with young kids and doesn't have her head in the clouds about her clothing?

What do you think - are you pro or con? Do you wear a Momiform? Do you love it or hate it? I'd especially like to hear from the women who say they don't wear one and don't approve. What do you do instead? How do you find the time - and money - to dress the way you used to, in your pre-kid days?


Life As I Know It said...

Most days I'm in jeans or cords and some sort of fleece or sweater (it's really cold right now). When the weather gets warmer I wear slightly nicer clothes because it makes me feel good, and when I feel good I am much more motivated and energetic.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Try being a stay-at-home pregnant mother. Nothing from Round One fits and now suddenly the bloom is off the whole maternity clothes thing. I am half in mat clothes and half out of regular ones. Woe is me.

But I do try to look pulled together at home. Not super so, but since I do work from home it helps to feel professional when I'm interviewing some muckety-muck for a column, ya know?

Karen said...

I wear a momiform and I love it. Old Navy Jeans, a tank top and a long sleeved tee - hurray! Never pajamas; I'm up, showered and dressed by 8:30 every day.

I was never happier or more myself when as when I ditched my professional, ever-so-constraining teacher's uniform. In a suburb of NYC, it was all suits and dress pants for my day wrestling emotionally troubled special education middle school students into submission.

I have never looked back. My husband occasionally calls me frumpy. I don't care.

Heather said...

Yep, I'm a momiform wearer. It's bad I suppose, but I hate shopping for clothes for myself. I don't look as cute as my kids do so it's no fun shopping for myself.

I don't wear those holiday sweaters with huge snowmen on them or anything though. I have a few standards.

Lulu said...

I miss my jeans or dockers and polo top momiform! Work requires scrubs and, let me tell ya' it is hard to maintain a trim waist when all your pants are drawstring or elastic.