When I have to deal with my daughter's morning routine, "pretty" goes right out the window.
Jeanne Sager: It takes only 10 minutes to get to my daughter's preschool in the morning. We run in, I help her hang her jacket on the hook, give hugs, high-fives and kisses, and I'm back in my car and headed back home.
Between here and there, I see a maximum of four to five other adults -- including my daughter's teacher, the teacher's assistant, the postmistress (OK, so I make one stop on the way home) and one or two other parents who are dropping their kids off at the same time as me.
In total I am gone 25 minutes. At the most.
Throw in the snow I have to tromp through and the show-and-tell pieces and extra booster seat I have to carry (for the other set of parents on our carpool to use for pick-up), and you'll excuse me for not putting on my Sunday best.
Some days, I don't even get dressed. Oh, I'm wearing clothes. I live in upstate New York -- it's freezing here in the middle of summer. I always wear clothes (just ask my husband).
But I'm the type of mom who would be outside in the cold at a certain British school. Following in the footsteps of a British supermarket that instituted a dress code for moms, officials at the school have just announced a ban on mothers showing up in the drop-off line in their PJs. The Daily Mail quoted one teacher who accused parents of being "slovenly and rude" by showing up in nightwear.
"People don't go to see a solicitor, bank manager or doctor dressed in pajamas, so why do they think it's okay to drop their children off at school dressed like that?" Joe McGuinness asked.
To be honest, Mr. McGuinness, it's because we're generally not spending the sort of time at school drop-off that we are with our bank manager. At school, we pop in and pop out. At the doctor's office (at least here in the states), we might be spending three hours. (Although, come to think of it, when I'm feeling particularly awful, I have worn my PJs to the doctor's office, too.)
And when we go to see the lawyer, Mr. McGuinness, we generally don't take the kids. Which means we have a lot more time to gussy up, and a lot less stuff to worry about on the way.
On preschool days, I climb out of bed in the morning and throw on a pair of (clean) sweats before heading to my daughter's bedroom to start getting her things together for the day. I usually shower at night, so the morning routine for me consists of a vigorous toothbrushing, some mouthwash swishing and putting my contacts in. If I'm feeling especially perky, a quick spritz of my husband's favorite perfume might be added to the routine. (It's also useful on days when I don't get my night shower.)
And then, "me" time is up. The preschooler is awake, and she needs to be encouraged to dress, reminded to put on her winter boots ("Yes, honey, I know rain boots are boots, but no, they don't count"), prodded to brush her own teeth ("No, chewing on the brush doesn't count, either") and urged to swish her mouthwash.
Then it's hair to plait or a clippie jar to sort through, show-and-tell to rescue from the bottom of the toy box, a car to warm up, breakfast to rustle up. Are you getting the picture here? It's called motherhood -- most of you are familiar with it.
Most days I do manage to put on a pair of jeans in exchange for the sweatpants. I've even moved from my husband's oversized sweatshirts to my own slightly less gargantuan ones.
But if you want me to hoist a booster seat out of a road-sand-covered car (remember, upstate New York) every morning in black wool pants, just so I can turn around and drive home and send said pants to the dry cleaner, how about giving me back a chunk of my tuition check? Didn't think so.
|Jeanne Sager is a mom to Jillian and a writer from upstate New York. She's strung words together for Babble.com, Kiwi Magazine and AOL's Holidash, and she shares her award-winning weekly newspaper column on her blog, Inside Out.|