(Many thanks to Jennifer Scott at The Daily Connoisseur for being so articulate about the subject of “looking presentable always.”)
If you work outside the home, dressing well comes naturally because it is socially expected. If you’re a professional parent, wearing real clothes can get brushed aside because “no one’s going to see me.”
Except your family, y’know, the most important people in your life that you decided to dedicate your career to serving.
Just those people.
It’s a lot more motivating to get up off the couch and get something done if you’re dressed like something important is going on. Because your tasks are important – homemaking and child-rearing are of utmost importance. It’s surprising what a mental game our grooming can play. This is the same reason law firms have business dress requirements, and many schools have uniforms.
I feel that there is another parallel we can draw from the business world – “Dress for the job you want.” Now, we have chosen to be home, so this is the job we want. But what do we want FROM our job? To be taken seriously by our children, spouse, peers, community? To “have it all together?” To be tidy? These causes are all helped by DRESSING like someone who commands respect, has it together, is tidy – rather than someone who just roused themselves from slumber to put out proverbial fires.
Dressing presentably always also helps eliminate decision fatigue and the need to change throughout the day. My pajamas are presentable, so it’s okay if my teenager needs something after I’m ready for bed. My clothes I choose in the morning are nice enough to wear to run errands, to school events, even to dinner out at the last minute. (It actually occurred a few weeks ago where we were out for a family walk, and a friend drove by in her car and invited us to dinner in half an hour. Threw a diaper on the youngest, and out we went – no need to “spruce up.”) I only need to choose one outfit each day, and I don’t have to take anything into account other than the temperature.
Dressing the part becomes much easier if you simplify your wardrobe. This is where capsule wardrobes come in. (This topic has been done lots of justice by lots of other bloggers, so I’m not rehashing the entire thing.) But pay attention to what’s in your mom capsule – PAJAMAS ARE NOT CLOTHES. If you wouldn’t wear them to the office, why are they in your work environment at home? My mom capsule wardrobe is lots of washable, comfortable fabrics, but consists of dresses or tunics and leggings. Personal preference – if you’re a pants girl, more power to you! (BUT REAL PANTS. NOT YOGA PANTS.)
Check the blogosphere, YouTube, and Pinterest for ideas about mom capsule wardrobes. Sit and think about what kinds of clothes you like best, and how those might become part of a “real clothes” wardrobe. (If you love yoga pants best, think about leggings and tunics. If you love raiding your husband’s closet, think dolman sleeves or trapeze tops and dresses.)
You may need a serious declutter of your closet for any of this to be plausible. I suggest the Kon Mari method (as found in the book The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo) so that you can purge out all the ratty, sloppy clothes and keep only things that work for you and are lovely.
“Don’t you get messy?” Why yes, yes I do. Then I wash my clothes. If you’re talking about serious mess, I do wear aprons while cooking. If I’m bleaching or painting, I have a coverall (like a mechanic would have) that I put on over my clothes.
“But don’t you want to be comfortable?” Of course. I don’t buy things I find uncomfortable! Comfort is about cut and fabric, not item of clothing.
“Why bother? Nobody sees you all day.” My children (who learn best by example) and my spouse see me.
And let me tell you, random people show up at my door. Once I was down with a back injury and my mother-in-law offered to come help around the house. She (surprise!) brought a friend of hers that I had never met in my life. Thank goodness I was wearing real clothes! It was embarrassing enough that a woman I’d just met was scrubbing my pots and pans.
Another time my best friend dropped her children off with no notice, because of a medical emergency. Glad I had gotten dressed that day.
And beyond folks ringing my door bell, I never have to change or think twice about running to the store, the post office, my kid’s school, etc. Always prepared. I don’t even usually have to change for social events in the evening.
The outfit shots incorporated into the image for this post are authentic. I never stage an outfit for my OOTD pictures on Instagram, obviously, since I’m wearing slippers in many of them! That’s what I actually wear, to all the regular events of my life. (Sometimes I wear something fancier to church, but that’s about it!)