It finally bothered me enough to do something official. I was hearing so much about getting dressed for the day you want to have, designing a uniform, and what other homeschool moms wear that makes them more productive that I had to work through my conscious stance on what I wear.
My problem was that I was trying to hold too tightly to minimalist rules on the issue. I wanted to have clothes that I loved to wear everyday. But the days where we were intentionally home with no plans to run errands of any kind were the hardest for me to follow the rules. I didn’t see a reason to change out of my
pajamas yoga pants and t-shirt. More than likely I would be doing household chores throughout the day and I didn’t want to stretch out my nice pants by all the work. So not only did I feel guilty when I stayed in yoga pants because it went against the popular advice to get dressed in something that makes you feel great it was also harder for my children to transition.
Another problem I faced was when I read feel great: I interpreted that as something expensive. So, if my neighbor were to stop over, she would have a great impression of me and my wardrobe – that would feel great. This superficial feel great wasn’t motivation enough to get me to follow through everyday.
So instead, I developed a different interpretation of feel great.
First, on days when we are staying home I change in the morning into my at home uniform and on days when we out of the house I change into my at home uniform upon arriving back at home. When I did try to wear my nicest clothes all the time to do things like cooking, cleaning, and schooling – it just didn’t make sense. I can’t tell you how many of my favorite tops have spaghetti sauce and olive oil freckles on them from getting too close to the stove while preparing dinner. Ouch. On a tight budget, it isn’t fun to see a stain on my favorites. And then there’s cleaning. I don’t like scrubbing the bathroom floor in my best jeans. I have 3 pairs of designer jeans (bought in college when I still knew the best brands) with holes in the right knees.
Raising kids brings me to my knees daily.
I can’t speak for what the women who recommend dressing up for their day as a stay at home mom mean when they say feel great, but I have too much grunt work to do to be able to interpret feeling great as wearing my best.
Second, I had to admit that staying in yoga pants all day wasn’t bad for my productivity but it was negatively effecting my children’s transitions. They didn’t understand how to transition into their work for the day. When they are in pajamas it means play. When I am in pajamas it can mean anything from I’m sick and need rest to I just tackled organizing the entire basement to I folded 10 loads of laundry or vacuumed the entire house – you get my point. Pajamas don’t limit me to one activity, but recognizing that the visual cue for my kids is limited when I am wearing pajamas has motivated me to develop this at home uniform. It has been worth it. My at home uniform signals transition to my kids like a magic wand. When I change, they change. I lead, they follow. We are all happier, and this sort of feel great has motivated me to follow through so much more to all of our benefit.
My at home uniform is simple, and similar to my nicer, out-of-the-home uniform: work jeans, comfortable cotton top, and cardigan. I almost always wear makeup (something my husband and I debate as “necessary”) because doing this routine makes me feel great. Sometimes I even add a necklace – and the “feeling great” really works. I smile more.
So regardless of the days activities, I change into my at home uniform with help from Mr. Rogers. Remember the part in his song, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, where he hangs up his outdoor cardigan and puts on his indoor cardigan? I do this too, and it makes me feel great.
So, with my magic wand in hand and a grown up understanding of my style, I’ve owned that my style may always pay respect to late Mr. Rogers and I may never be fashionable by anyone’s standard. But I am able to be productive and pleased with myself – and that’s the sort of uniform I want to wear. One that clears my mind for more important tasks, like cleaning up another toddler-disaster. (I actually thought to myself: this is an “I pick this moment.”)
Maybe now I’m equipped to try out Stitch Fix. Have you tried it? What is your at home uniform? Have you noticed the power of visual cues with your kids too?
Check out my favorite bloggers and their experience with designing and valuing a uniform:
Kara, Quill and Camera – she uses Stitch Fix and her experiences are laugh out loud funny
Anne, Modern Mrs. Darcy – shares her jealousy of true uniform wearers and what her almost uniform looks like
Crystal, Money Saving Mom – encourages the minimalist wardrobe by sharing her 4 great tips – like how to mix and match items to get the most use out of your purchases (this post is kind of old, but still relevant)
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