Thursday, May 24, 2012

Confession #5: The One Driving the Minivan in the Footie Pajamas is Me

There are a lot of glamorous moms out there. I see them arriving at school to pick up their children in coordinating yoga outfits, perfectly coiffed hair and flawless complexions. The other day, the mom before me in the pickup line stepped out of her car wearing a Lilly Pullitzer dress and stilettos. Wait... stilettos? At an elementary school? Really? 
Sadly, this isn't me. I once drove the boys to school wearing footie pajamas and a scarf. It was chilly that morning, and well... I really just wanted to go back to sleep.
"You're not really going out wearing that?"

This is a question I hear often from my husband. Unfortunately, when you have four boys, there really is no point in getting dolled up for the grocery store, soccer practice or any of the other exotic destinations I frequent in a given week. Anything I wear will likely be spit up on, smeared by sticky fingers, or tugged out of shape. Plus those fifteen minutes I'd use getting properly dressed, combed and applied in the mornings can be spent on far more critical activities like sleeping.
And this is one of the fringe benefits of being a stay at home mom: Now that I no longer have to wear a suit and heels to the firm every day, I can literally spend my entire day in my pajamas! Why didn't anyone mention this when I was considering whether to leave my legal career?
I know what you're thinking. First, why slack off in the hair, makeup and fashion department simply because I no longer report to an office? And second, why does a grown woman wear footie pajamas anyway?  
These are questions without adequate explanations. At least not from a woman who's never owned a pair of stilettos in her life.  
The funny thing is, I realized a little while ago that my firstborn is as hopelessly fashion-challenged as me. The other day, I caught him going out the door wearing pants that were two sizes too small (I think he'd grabbed his brother's pants by mistake). How had he compensated for the length problem? He'd pulled his athletic socks all the way up... over his pants. He'd created his own footie pajamas! What can I say? I guess he inherited the gene that determines one's complete inability to elevate form over function, couture over comfort, Prada over practicality.

When I asked him to go back into the house and change, he replied in all seriousness: "Mom, I really don't mind what people think of me. I'm comfortable... just the way I am."

I don't think I've ever been more proud of him.

In that moment, it hit me: I was meant to have only boys. Imagine what a poor example I would have set for a daughter. Little girls want to dress up in sparkly princess dresses, put tiaras in their hair and paint their fingernails in shades of bubble gum. Just to go to the playground, girls require matching hair bows, color-coordinated socks, and any number of jewelry items made from shiny plastic beads. I'm afraid such attention to fashion would have been totally lost on me. When I head to the playground with my boys, the only thing I need to bring is band-aids. And let's face it... what kind of mom would have applauded a daughter's creative use of socks to make ill-fitting pants look even more socially unconventional?
Now, I suppose in a few years, my little boys may grow into teenage boys who suddenly care about their appearances. I imagine that one day, I'll spy them studying themselves in the mirror, fixing their hair in a style I don't understand, and applying zit cream with the unrestrained hope of adolescence. Maybe they'll refuse to wear the clothes I pick out for them because they complain the pants are too stodgy and the shirts are ridiculously old-fashioned. On that day, I will remind them of who drove them to school for years wearing footie pajamas and tell them to be comfortable... just as they are.

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