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Defending My Right to Wear Pajamas to School

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When I have to deal with my daughter's morning routine, "pretty" goes right out the window.

woman in pajamas at school

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.

next: OMG! He Knocked Out His Tooth!
31 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sylvia March 2, 2010, 12:59 PM

I must say, that if I saw another mom in her pj’s at school in ANY situation, I would think long and hard about allowing my child to go to their house for any kind of social situation. ie:sleepover. This would tell me that the mother is very loose with rules and what is appropriate or not, and certainly would not be an environment I would want my child in.

Starbucks Mommie March 2, 2010, 1:03 PM

I think this is ridiculous. If she wants to look like a slob than that is her right. And when her husband leaves her for someone who has taken care of themselves and cares about their appearance, then she can stay in pjs all day long.

Theresa March 3, 2010, 7:19 AM

Wow, isn’t the content of the person more important than the false impression of clothing? Those of you upset by someone wearing PJ’s are the same people who tell impressionable children that they must have designer clothes and make-up…get a life…don’t ever judge a book by it’s cover or you’ll be in for some real dissapointment

David A. March 3, 2010, 3:07 PM

Theresa…welcome to the real world. Where people are judged and people are lazy. I am sure that you and your friends never comment about others. I am sure that you never form an opinion hastily. I am sure that PJ’s are perfectly acceptable to you. I am sure you are wrong.

Shelia March 3, 2010, 3:10 PM

No one said that the clothes have to designer…just that she should wear CLOTHES!

No one mentioned make up…just being kept up on the way they look. People need to realize that the whole sloppy “I can’t be bothered” look is outdated,lazy,sad and ridiculous. Get dressed and shut up.

Ashliegh March 3, 2010, 3:13 PM

Just take a look at the Author’s photo…Hair pulled back. No make-up and a smirk. She clearly didn’t care how she looked in her by-line photo…why should we think she would care at her childrens school? Lazy.

Traditional Mom March 3, 2010, 3:16 PM

I love that she refers to “Me time” is up…here is an idea…get up earlier. More “Me time”…or better yet…stay in bed all day long, clearly your pajamas are more important than the lasting impression you are leaving with your kids. “Me time”…what a joke.

Justine March 3, 2010, 3:18 PM

This post is ridiculous. Just another mom using being a Mom as an excuse for not taking care of herself. I hate mom’s like this. They give SAHM a bad name.

Anna March 13, 2010, 7:41 PM

Agree with the trench coat suggestion. Learn about clothes and build a wardrobe with pieces that are easy to wear and also flattering. Dark-rinse jeans, a nice coat and a well-fitting bra and ballet flats will take you a long way (although you may want to throw on a nice t-shirt or blouse while you’re at it).

Jordan June 11, 2010, 2:06 AM

Why did all the comments seem to turn to mud-slinging at the OP? These comments are immature and out of line. And seriously, “Starbucks Mommie”, the comment about her husband leaving her… Do you think before you write things or does that take too much time?

Now, what I think:
“throwing on sweats” =/= pajamas
As long as you add a bra and tshirt to the mix, it’s fine. Everything that should be covered is covered, and you aren’t wearing the same clothing you slept in.

Alyse Robicheaux July 25, 2010, 10:12 PM

@Steve can you elaborate on your point a bit auto

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