By Julianna Mendelsohn
When my child chooses to nap, or late at night when I should be sleeping, I often find myself mindlessly scrolling social media. Sometimes I’m looking for something specific: a recipe, for example. But more often than not I’m just kind of seeing what’s happening in the real world with people who aren’t in the thick of trying to keep an 11 month old alive. And oh man, do those people have opinions.
Opinions about: what I should feed my kid, what I should let my kid watch or not watch. The list is virtually endless of the intense personal opinions I see people rattle off on a daily basis on The Interwebs.
I’ve never been particularly interested in doing something just because someone else told me to. In fact, a sure way to get me to NOT do something is to tell me to do it (sorry, Mom). So, I rarely give more than a passing glance to these impassioned pleas to do THIS THING but NOT THAT THING with my kid.
Recently, however, I’ve noticed these opinions have reached beyond just how to raise a child, but what a mother should be doing with herself whilst raising said small person. Namely, people giving women shit for: not wearing makeup, not doing their hair, wearing yoga pants even if, gasp, they’re not on their way to exercise. Generally, the complaint is that no matter how “busy” a mom is, she should find time to make herself look “presentable” whenever she dares exit her home. And these folks have a very narrow definition of what “presentable” means. Most of these people who feel this way and choose to proclaim their opinions on cyberspace, it is worth noting, happen to be women.
To those people, I say, listen, I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but in my house? Since the birth of my child? There have been some things I’ve had to compromise on.
Do I have time to shower, do my hair and makeup and put on real clothes every day? Probably. But while I’m doing that my kid would have to either be asleep, which during the daytime happens for a total of 90 minutes ON A GOOD DAY, or strapped into a jumperoo that she hates. I suppose I could get up a little earlier to do all this as well, but you know what? I just really like sleeping. An extra 30 to 60 minutes of sleep can be the difference between me having a great day and me wanting to disembowel everyone who crosses my line of sight.
Instead, I’ve chosen to don what many have called the “mom uniform”: hair in a topknot, no makeup, yoga pants, and since I’m in south Florida, flip-flops. Yes, I wear this every day and no, I don’t care.
In high school, I laid out my outfits every night before I went to bed, including shoes and accessories. That girl is lost to history, because now she’s a woman with an 11-month-old who has already been walking for an entire month and is segueing rapidly into running and climbing over the back of the couch.
I’m not entertaining the queen, people. I’m keeping a small person alive and MAYBE taking her to Target or the grocery store or a park. Last time I checked, none of those places had dress codes, and if they ever do? I will find someplace else to go!
It just boggles my mind that people not only care how I am mothering my child, but also what I am wearing while I am doing it.
I almost understand people who think they should tell people how to raise their kid, because ostensibly they’re maybe doing it because they care about the future or whatever. Most of them are just know-it-alls with free time and an Internet connection, but I can give a partial pass to them because maybe they care about the welfare of kids.
What I cannot understand is people who think that me not wearing eyeliner when I go to buy toilet paper is somehow going to negatively affect my child. I sincerely doubt that my choice of attire when my child is an infant is going to be the difference between her going to Harvard and becoming a meth addict.
Yes, women can “have it all” these days: career, family, etc. But that doesn’t mean we are required to DO it all. I choose to wear my “mom uniform” because it is easy and comfortable and removes one decision from a day that is jam-packed with decisions, decisions every single freaking second that accompany the state of hyper-vigilance required to keep a mobile baby from legit killing themselves.
This is a choice I have made to maintain my tenuous grasp on sanity. If you choose differently, mazel tov. I trust that you as a grown-ass woman are capable of making the best possible choices for you and your family. And trust that if the queen DOES stop in for a spot of tea, I’d probably put on some under-eye concealer.
This stage won’t last forever, and someday my daily wardrobe will once again be more about my personal aesthetic choices than about just literally surviving the day. Until that happens, I’ll be rockin’ the yoga pants and focusing on what every mom in the world is focused on, no matter what she is currently wearing: making sure my kid is healthy, safe, and happy.
Image credit: Haylee Sherwood / Flickr
About the Author
Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny south Florida where odds, are it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is a former elementary school teacher, Sephora junkie and the momma via adoption to one lovely daughter, whose growth she chronicles obsessively on her Instagram, @JewlesandLo.