Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frumpy Moms Need Not Apply

The school year is fully underway, one month into the year, and every day, something bothers me when I pick up my daughters.

I have been a work-at-home, mom-in-chief, home executive officer, full-time mom for six and a half years now. My son is a sophomore in high school and every day since fifth grade, I've been at home when he gets home. The girls have never know anything differently. The school systems have changed, but one thing seems to be constant...the frumpy moms at the pickup.

Kirkwood seems to be a mecca of at-home, frumpy moms who pick up their kindergarten children in something resembling pajamas, old college t-shirts, a cross between sweats and lounge pants, and an increasingly uglier assortment of crocs. This phenomena is also true for the after school pick up of the older elementary schools. I've wondered, are these moms just too busy to get dressed? Or are they making a statement about how hard they work as moms that they just don't have time to dress up? Or is it a matter of not being able to afford nice clothes? Or is it just culture?

I'm in a moms group, have been for the past five years. We have playgroups and as I've been a member in two different chapters, have yet to see these moms in such frumpy attire as I see in this St. Louis suburb. Well, let me change that, it is usually just my "vanilla moms" who seem to gravitate to these shapeless, sexless, senseless clothes. Again, made me wonder if that is the price of living in suburbia.

One thing I've refused to give up since being at home is my sense of taking care of self. I wake up before everyone else and feel I am worth the half hour it takes for me to shower, get dressed including makeup, groom my dread locs, and still make it downstairs with enough time to enjoy a latte before the girls' noise breaks through the silence. I just don't get it.

We had one of our Mocha Moms in my Johnson County Chapter do a dress for your style event. She chose three models and asked us our style. I'm a comfortable, bohemian, artist-type with a sense of classical flair. She asked us to wear jeans and a black camisole with black shoes. She then proceeded to show us a handful of outfits that fit our style and could become easy pieces of our mom uniform. Her choices were already what I was wearing - stretch jeans, dress up or down khakis, lycra black skirt, camisoles in black, white, and tan, along with a handful of tunics. I could be ready for breakfast with friends, a meeting with the principal, or lunch with my husband while still picking up the kids, grocery shopping, or doing laundry. It just doesn't take much effort.

Something made me think of these women's husbands. I wonder if they make the effort to dress up before they come home. My wondering ceased when I'd see these same moms at everything from evening book fairs, teacher conferences, and scout meetings. I'd even see the husbands at the same events in nice shirts and dress pants with the women looking like they grabbed something from the bottom of the laundry basket. What is the point?

Then it dawned on me, these women were choosing a uniform, making a statement, identifying with each other as at-home moms. Maybe it is the suburban requirement. I'm not sure but for the things I do on a daily basis, frumpy moms need not apply.

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