First of all, thank you all for your continued prayers. We appreciate them so much. I am feeling significantly better today and I am sure it is everyone's prayers that have made the difference. Now to the regularly scheduled post.
Have I mentioned before that I like to stay home? Yeah, I thought so. I get more done and feel more on top of things so consequently am a more relaxed and happy person. I don't mind the occasional errand and I enjoy fun activities, but the constant errand-running and carpooling I find completely enervating. I do all I can to avoid it.
But not leaving my home and seeing only my children and husband some days has made me think carefully about clothing choices. It would be so easy to fall into the habit of throwing on whatever was easiest and not really worrying about what I look like. But, I made a discovery along the way that stops me from doing that: how my day goes and I how I feel about it is often in direct correlation to the care I took in getting dressed that morning. Like the chicken and the egg, it is probably not necessarily a straight cause and effect. If I am already in the mood to throw on whatever, then probably my attitude is setting me up for a bad day. In general though, even if my attitude is not great, feeling as if I look neat and presentable can help to turn that bad attitude around.
There are other reasons I make an effort as well. First of all, I believe how I look communicates to my children and husband that I think they are important enough to look nice for. If I say my career is making a home and raising and educating my children, I should look as though I take it seriously. I respect them by trying to look put together and in return I believe I receive more respect from them as well. Next, while there have been days when I thought I didn't have to leave my house and I thought I wouldn't be seeing anyone, I have been surprised otherwise more than once. How much better is to have taken a few more minutes in the morning so that I don't have to be embarrassed to open the door to a surprise visitor? Knowing you look presentable makes it so much easier to offer hospitality at unexpected moments. Lastly, I really like to go against type. (It's that reactionary, non-conforming streak in me.) Sadly, the stereotype of the stay-at-home mom (ugh, how I loath that term!) is of a woman in a sweatsuit, possibly stained, and hair pulled back in a hairband, looking slightly haggard. (Wait! Stop! Before you frantically hit that comment button, anyone with a baby who is one-year-old or less gets a huge pass. I've been there, done that six times... guilty of everything I wrote. I'm talking about those whose children have gotten older and haven't changed their habits. There is a season for everything and mothers of infants are in a season of intensive baby care.) I can't tell you the number of times I've been out without my children and in the course of conversation with another person, they discover and are surprised that I have any children, much less 9. Such is the power of stereotypes that a woman who looks put together must not have children, or if she does just a couple much older ones.
What do I bother with? Well, I'm not vacuuming in hose, heels, and pearls if you are wondering. I try to avoid schleppy t-shirts and I only own one pair of jeans. (See, I told you I'm a bit odd.) I try to wear clothes that look nice and are comfortable. But, I also wear jewelry and earrings everyday as well as some make-up... just as if I was going to a job outside the house. It makes me feel better about myself as well as making me feel more organized and competent. Clothing can be a powerful thing.
If you've never tried, try it for a week and see how you feel. Lay your clothes out the night before so you don't have to think about it the morning. You may find that some thrift store or consignment store shopping is needed to fill out a wardrobe if it is filled with things that don't make you feel good about yourself. Do this over time... give yourself permission to buy things that make you feel pretty and not just things that are serviceable. I'm a bit obsessed with blogs that focus on women who make and wear clothing using vintage patterns. The clothes are pretty and it is such a nice change from the current uniform of jeans with a shirt. (A Dress a Day, The Sew Weekly, and My Happy Sewing Place are some of my current favorites.) Really, try it, I think you will be glad you did.