Monday, August 6, 2012

Mama Was a Homeless Man

You know that woman in the grocery store wearing grubby yoga pants and yesterday's make-up that you felt sorry for last time you went to pick up goat cheese and melba toast? Um, that was me. You may or may not have also noticed that my faded shirt (a la Tar-jay) had a hole in it and a peanut butter and jelly handprint on the back. Additionally, you were right to wonder if I had taken a shower that day or the day before. And no, I didn't do my own hair. My two-year old had a hand in that hairstyle I was sporting.

You felt confused about my appearance and maybe a little sorry for me, didn't you. Well, let's just say that in this season of life personal grooming has become something of a luxury. It's the sort of thing one indulges in on the occasional weekend when the husband takes the little guy to Cracker Barrel for pancakes. Instead of going out for coffee with a friend, I choose to stay at home and shave my legs, maybe even trim my nails. It's the little things that help you feel like a human being after spending the week very intensely focused on keeping a little person fed, bathed, and alive.

A friend of mine recently told me about something she'd seen on Facebook that I keep thinking about. It was an open letter from a babysitter to a stay-at-home mom which basically acknowledged her having come to understand why stay-at-home moms are the way they are. She specifically mentioned that she was now more sympathetic to a stay-at-home mom's plight after a stint of babysitting and it had all been made clear to her why said moms tended to resemble homeless men.

When I dreamed of children and homemaking all those years whilst mooning over Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, I never pictured myself one day resembling a homeless man. And yet, that day has come. I wear hole-y clothes, sport unwashed hair, look perpetually haggard, and always seem to be carrying around a lot of random stuff.

I still have my pride or I'd post a quick picture of me in my ubiquitous yoga pants (which haven't done yoga a day in their spandexed life) and my pilled, one pocket Target tee (you know the one), and weird hair. Sigh.

I made the mistake of reading an old friend's fashion blog today and then clicking on a link to her favorite fashion blogger's blog. I wish I'd never seen it, but now I keep it open on my browser to occasionally glance at it and remember that people outside my house wear things like heels and pinstripes and equestrian-printed party dresses (What? And yet, it's true.) I sighed over every page on that blog and then kind of wanted to cry a little bit. Just a very little bit, mind you. You can go there yourself and see if you don't feel like shedding a small tear for your lost fashion sense. But, prepare yourself, she has posts like "Wine Country Weekend" in which she posts pictures of herself wearing chiffon and wedges and big sunglasses and you'll want to run outside right then and there and burn your Target yoga pant collection. Don't say I didn't warn you:

But let's be honest, in their hearts of hearts, stay-at-home mamas don't want to remind people of homeless men. They want to wear pretty sundresses and necklaces and perfume and have hair that doesn't smell like peanut butter.

I'm slightly afraid that the few pictures I've made it into (I'm usually the picture-taker) during Sam's early years will only make him ask the question, "Who's that homeless man?" Maybe this is a wake up call. Maybe it's time to reclaim my ability to wear something other than spandex pants and t-shirts. Maybe this is the moment when I should pull those orange patent leather wedges out and boldly wear them to...the park.

And yet, as nice and impractical as that would be, the hard, cold truth is that it would last for about five seconds and then someone would deposit a small dumptruck load of cheddar bunnies on my lap and it would all be over.

So, the homeless man will continue to show up in family pictures. Perhaps before Sam's rehearsal dinner I'll have figured out how to photoshop and can airbrush out those yoga pants and add some equestrian printed capris instead.  

Hope you don't mind a little self-indulgent picture posting. This is me a few years back before my homeless man persona took over. I like to look at it sometimes and remember myself before yoga pants took over my life. I know what you're thinking. Get your camera out, woman, and take a recent picture of something. Well, maybe I just will. But, until then, you'll have to be content with circa 2007 me.

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