As I corralled my children through the crowded halls of our school’s open house last week, I noticed a difference between me and many of the parents I squeezed past: They were dressed up a bit.
I did a quick inventory of heels and earrings in the hallway.
I looked down to confirm that – yep- I still had on my standard-issue mom clothes: yoga pants, fitness shirt, slip on sneakers.
I was just relieved to make it out the door with three kids (relatively) on time. This event is about them, I reminded myself, not me.
But for an extra shot of courage, I quickly ran through my emergency plan for such a scenario – a mental checklist of why I can hold my head up wearing “athleisure wear” (aka: exercise clothes; aka: stretchy pants) in public.
I’ll share it in case you have a “break-glass-in-case-of-underdressed” emergency of your own:
#1 – People wear uniforms to work.
ER nurses don’t go to work in white maxi dresses and espadrilles – it’s just not practical. Neither do police officers. Neither do archaeologists (probably).
Neither is that practical for me when I am digging snack wrappers from under the third row of my van (a particularly unflattering position), wiping up any number of body fluids, or fighting an ever-losing battle with glitter glue and paint.
I dress for the primary job I have, which fortunately is the job I want as well. It just so happens that it includes sitting criss-cross-applesauce for meetings and is largely paid in crayon portraits and dirty tissues.
#2 – I might actually be more active.
I mean, I’m halfway there.
If there is a chance I am going to race my kids to the car or play goalie to their forward, the sneakers and stretchy pants increase it exponentially.
And if there were exercise classes in multiple-grocery-bag lifting, dirty-sock squats, or running laps around the house looking for where I left my phone, I am dressed and ready to go. I could even teach that last one.
So, technically, my clothes are fulfilling a semblance of their purpose, even if I’m not hitting the gym.
#3. When you think of the future, what are people wearing? (Hint: not jeans.)
We imagine people in the future wearing awesome, stretchy, form-fitting clothes to do their awesome futuristic stuff, right? Or at least a bunch of movies have influenced me to think so. Let’s just say nobody is fooling with zippers.
Don’t be mad at moms that we are just ahead of the times with our pull-on pants.
I mean, my kids know how to video-call their grandparents, and when I first saw that on the Jetsons I couldn’t imagine it really happening. So I’m banking on the clothing revolution to fall somewhere between FaceTime and flying cars. And -fingers crossed- a good-natured robot that helps me clean.
Seriously though, moms parent best when they feel good about themselves, so whether you are in slacks, jeans, leggings or Lycra, you’ve got your reasons. You may just want to keep them close at hand in case of emergency.