Dressing the Part

Photo by Louisa Stokes at www.freedigitalphotos.net

As a work-at-home mom I don’t venture out much during the day.  With five young children, my husband and I rarely go out either because the logistics are far too complicated.  (None of our children are old enough to babysit, and asking a friend to take five children for the evening feels like too much of an imposition.)  However, every once in a while we do make it out for an evening alone or with minimal children accompanying us.

Last night we had a rare opportunity to go to a Phoenix Suns game with some co-workers of my husband.  Three tickets to the Honeywell Suite became available at the last minute, so we begged and pleaded with a neighbor to watch our four youngest children and then we hurried off to the game with our oldest daughter in tow.

When we arrived, I was introduced to a few of the women co-workers of my husband.  His co-workers know that I am a work at home mom, and they also know we have five children.  In my husband’s office his computer monitor and walls are littered with pictures of the kids and drawings they have made for him.  Because I am the one that takes most of the pictures, I am noticeably absent in all of them.  His colleagues had no idea what I looked like.  The greeting from one of his female colleagues in particular took me aback.  “It’s so nice to meet you – you look (with wide eyes and surprise in her voice) pretty.”

I was definitely flattered by her comment until it hit me – she didn’t expect me to look the way I did.  She had an entirely different idea in her head of what a “stay at home mother of five” might actually look like.  It seems that several years of stereotypes have shrouded current work at home and stay at home moms in a cloud of mystery and baggy sweats.

While I admit there have certainly been days when I did hang out in my house robe and slippers, typically when I get up and get myself ready for the day, I actually do take the time to shower, get dressed, and (gasp!) comb my hair and brush my teeth.  My mother always used to tell me to “dress for the job that I want.”  I want to be a fun, ready to work or play, professional – mom.  If I don’t take the time each morning to clean myself up and tend to my appearance, I don’t feel nearly as productive in my job or in my domestic responsibilities.  Getting dressed and ready for the day is my way of overcoming the sometimes very strong “I don’t wanna’s.”

Granted, sometimes this plan doesn’t work very well.  I still get the “I don’t wanna’s.”  I’d be willing to bet that we all get these feelings sometimes and no amount of makeup or hairspray is going to overcome that.  But I do promise if you get into a routine of getting ready each morning it will help you feel more productive, more attractive, and more ready to tackle the day head on.

CHALLENGE: Get up and ready before your kids!  Try it out for a week and see how it makes you feel.

QUESTION: How did your week go?  Did you feel more productive? Did you have more energy? Did you have to go to bed earlier?


  1. Deborah says

    I agree! After leaving the public school classroom ten years ago to raise my kids full time, I decided to continue to “get ready for work” routine every day. Some mornings that means running at 5 a.m. in order to shower and be ready to help my kids prepare for school. The sacrifice is worth it because my kids and husband deserve to see the best-looking me and I feel confident going wherever the day takes me!

  2. danielle says

    Oh I agree…I have noticed people tend to take you more seriously and be more ready and willing to help (customer service) when I am dressed and ready. It is unfortunate…we should all be treated the same no matter what…but such as it is, this is the case. I like feeling like I am dressed for the work I need to do. So yes, some days I am dressed for work and we get a lot of house and yard work done. But other days I have errands and lots of outside interactions, so I dress for this. I have noticed I am happier and even kinder to myself when I take care of myself in this way. I am also more ready and able to tackle everything from spilled milk (the umpteenth time!) to a spontaneous outing with kids in tow when I am ready and don’t have to stop everything to get dressed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *