Today I did something that I never do. I made a promise to myself, that for the good of the household I would do my best to never do this thing that I love, save for illness or snow days. Today I took a shower, put my pajamas BACK ON, and got on the couch with the new Elle Decor and my iPad. Hashtagblackpitofguilt. This action right here seems like NBD. I know. My kids have eaten 2 apples, a banana, and toast each. My dogs are fed, and went out, I built a fire, and cleaned the kitchen. I even did my hair. So pretty much, I have completed my duties until lunch, and have talked myself into feeling justified in sitting in sweatpants and faux fur throw.
The slippery slope.
The reason I am so anti-pajamas-all-day/couch-bound-vixen, is because it sets the wrong stage for the play that is: A Day In The Life Of Us. I must put on real clothes.
We, as mothers, don't have many 'glamorous' afternoons. Our days no longer consist of shopping, mimosas, and long lunches, as they once did. It's a tough pill to swallow, but in a decade or two, we can have all that back. But this. This day. This one, fleeting day in your babe's childhood memory of you as Mommy, it's here now and it's all you have.
Now, feminists everywhere: clench your jaws and fists in unison, because I am going to say things so Stepford, it's going to hurt your brain. I made myself promises over the past few years, because I never want to look back on wasted anything. The truth is, I genuinely believe that these things are fundamentally important to a semi-happy household, and warm, loving, wholesome childhood memories.
PROMISE #1: Makeup and Hair Matter. Everyday.
This is the youngest you will ever be, and chances are: the most attractive. I know when you are a Mom, especially a SAHM, it's easy to think 'What's the point?'. Don't go there. Ever. If you would make yourself presentable to go to the store or out with friends or strangers, then making the effort to look nice for your spouse, and children is important. I realized one day years ago, when my kids were babies, a time when I hadn't put make up on in a while (like a WHILE), and I was getting ready to go out with the girls. My significant other was watching me get ready, and I could tell he thought I looked nice, but there was something else too... resentment... sadness... idk exactly what it was but I knew where it came from. I hadn't looked nice for HIM in a while. I felt awful! Why would I fix myself to run to the bank, but look like a slob for my own family? Of course they love me no matter what I look like, and for that reason they deserve to feel like they matter enough for me to not walk around with raccoon eyes and crazy hair. When you are old and gray, do you want your youthful years remembered as 'She always looked nice.' or 'She always looked like she just woke up.'?
PROMISE #2: Always Put on 'Real' Clothes
Of course you can't clean the house in stilettos and a miniskirt (though your hubby may be inclined to quit his job if you start...)! This is not what I'm saying here. Butttt... If you are going to be comfy, at least do it with a slight bit of style. There is a HUGE difference between:
It sets a bad example to your household to see you in gross sweats all day. I do not feel motivated in pj's. Do you? Motivated to be super lazy maybe. We are giving our children the tools of adulthood visually, everyday, and whether we notice or not, THEY notice. I want my children to see that I get up, get dressed, take pride in myself and my appearance, and accomplish something, every day, even if it's just cleaning. This is why even though it doesn't matter what I wear, I get dressed anyway. Always. Learning to have pride in their appearance could have so many butterfly effects in the lives of my children, I refuse to be a pajama-clad role model.
PROMISE #3: Spruce the House
Before the kids come home from school, tidy up, maybe set some snacks out, make their beds (if they don't make their own), put some music on. Walking into a welcoming space helps boost their moods, music deters them from turning on the television and makes the house feel happy and warm. Tidying up their spaces will keep their frame of mind feng shui and relaxed. Believe me- happy kids make for a happy mommy.
Before your Other Half gets home, light some candles, tidy up the first space they will see upon entering, have something thoughtful prepared (a shower, a warm drink on a cold day, baked treat, slippers...).
It sounds really cheesy. And honestly, some days it feels like it all goes unnoticed, but I feel good knowing that I always try my best to provide a cozy home for my family. When I feel like I am doing my best, I strive for better, and that's so much better than the pajama-plateau.
PROMISE #4: Sixth Scents
Smell is the closest sense to memory. That's why when I listen to Weezer's Pinkerton, I smell my '91 Cavalier, and when I watch the movie RAD, I smell my mother's blueberry muffins baking. Because I have personal scent relationships embedded in my memory, I realize how cool a phenomenon it really is. I want my kids to relate a happy home with their childhood memories, so in attempt, I fill my house with constant scents. I put oils and oranges in the water above the wood stove. There is eucalyptus hanging in the shower. There is always something cooking or baking, and candles lit always. Something is bound to stick! Hopefully it's not the smell of wet dog. ;)
PROMISE #5: Cook in an Apron Whenever You Can
Painting the picture of a cozy home life can sometimes feel contrived. You may be surprised though, finding some of the 'vintage antics' endearing. For a reason I cannot explain, I feel so safe and warm watching June Cleaver, Marion from Happy Days, and Laura from the Dick Van Dyke Show, cooking in an apron. So... I try to display this level of domestic comfort and contentment in my home by cooking in an apron whenever possible. I think a woman looks pretty and happy in an apron, and that is how I want my kids to see me. I have a collection, I match them to my outfits, and I love it. So there.
PROMISE #6: Open All The Curtains Everyday
We have a semi-large house, and truth be told, the kids and I stay in the same 4 or 5 rooms everyday. If I even go upstairs, besides to grab something, it's odd. Buttttt, if we do happen to stumble into any of the other rooms during the day, it's super depressing if it is 3 o'clock and the shades are shut and the room is dark... Even a fleeting feeling of dismal depression is too much! That is why it is my absolute daily priority to open every shade and curtain RIGHT when I get up. I think it's critical to my happy mood to feel like half the house is not a doom pit.
I know none of us are perfect, and I am certainly far from it. All we can do is try our best to set high domestic standards for our family, because even though they make us crazy, we love them and they deserve the happiest home life we can give them. It may sound silly, but doing these things really helps me fend off the 'Groundhog Day' feelings that being a SAHM sometimes leaves me with. Some days feel blah and purposeless, but EVERYDAY we are shaping the brains, lives and memories of our mates and children, so let's all put our best foot forward and find a purpose in everyday, no matter how small. Just don't do it in your pajamas. ;)