Don't worry: I'm a Professional
Last Sunday, I brought my daughter to Hebrew school. That particular morning, I was wearing yoga pants, no make-up and my (unwashed) hair was pulled back in a barrette. Another mother, who has known me for three years, saw me and did a double-take. "I almost didn't recognize you!" she exclaimed. I must have looked puzzled because she quickly added, "You're usually so put-together."
Really? You almost didn’t recognize me without make-up? Am I that vain? It’s true that, unless I am on my way to the gym, I try to wear a nice outfit, at least some make-up and have my curly hair coiffed. I don’t dress up — I am a stay-at-home-mom, after all. I usually wear jeans, but I always try to look somewhat fashionable and put-together.
While I do love clothes, there is actually something more going on here. My outfits, the make-up – it’s not just about vanity. It’s that I am desperately trying to hold onto my adult self, even while most of my day is spent with children. You see, I used to be a lawyer. I was First Team All Ann Taylor. I ate lunch in restaurants and went to meetings and carried an expensive handbag. I was a professional.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for three years. I quite enjoy spending my days chauffeuring my children, playing in the park, and volunteering in my community. But at the same time, I miss being a professional. So I have tried to treat being a stay-at-home mom as my profession. That means that, to the extent practicable, I try to dress nicely. Sure, sometimes the only adults I see during the day are my children’s teachers and other parents – none of whom care how I look – but a little make-up, a nice sweater and some jewelry makes me feel better. It gives me a boost, just like wearing a nice suit used to give me a boost at work. And when I was a lawyer, I would sometimes be holed up in my office writing all day and not see many other people, but I still had to dress professionally.Continued on the next page