Yesterday was a rough day (as you may have guessed if you read yesterday’s post). It was as rough as they get with Hannah. I guess the gift I get with her turning five is a boatload of sassiness and a new sixteen year old-esque attitude. We both yelled until our throats were sore. We both shed too many tears. I promised myself that this girl is going to have some new rules to follow. This mommy is going to take charge! Because days like yesterday, cannot continue. I felt like I was run over by a Mac truck when I went to bed last night. And based on Tim’s reaction when he got home from work, I looked like it as well.
This morning was a new day. My first new rule was that Hannah must get dressed on her own by 8:15. Before yesterday the routine was that I would go up to her room while she lazily played in the family room, pick out her outfit du jour and help her get dressed in the family room. It moved things along. It ensured an on time departure to get to school by 9:00. It was also a guarantee that I’d like her outfit. Yes, I’m one of those moms. One of those moms that takes pride in how their children “look” when they leave the house. I don’t spend a lot of money (anymore) on her clothes but I like for her to look put-together and neat, with a little style thrown in as well. I don’t care much about how she looks when she comes home from school. I actually LIKE when she’s a mess at the end of the day because it shows she had a busy, live-like-you’re-five type day. I’ve just always felt that how she looks is a reflection on me. I know, I know ( I hear you all lecturing me now), letting kids wear what they want fosters creativity and lets them think for themselves, blahdiblahdiblah. I just feel good when my children look cute. Shoot me. Or sue me. Or whatever cliche you’d like to add.
Anyway… at 8:00 I sent Hannah to her room to get dressed. After a few stomps of protest, she shuffled herself up the stairs. After a few minutes, she burst into my room, fully dressed. I thought she was joking. I actually laughed. I’m not going to bore you with the mismatched details so I’ll just leave it as, I think she worked as hard putting this train wreck of an outfit together as she would have to put together a catalog worthy outfit. Part of me thought she was mocking me.
“Do you like?” she asked hopeful.
“Ummmmm…” was all I could muster.
“There’s a lot going on here, isn’t there mommy.” she said, reading my mind (and repeating a comment I must have said before).
“Yeah, there is. But…” I was revving myself up to tell her it was ok to wear what she chose, but she cut me off.
“It’s ok mommy. People don’t really care what I’m wearing anyway. They only care that I’m nice and sweet.”
My 5 year old was lecturing me on “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. My 5 year old is more mature than me. She’s less superficial than me. Ugh.
I wish I could live by this mantra more often. I hesitate to write the words here that I really feel because I don’t want you to think less of me. But maybe if I write them, I’ll try harder to change. I DO care what I look like. I DO assume people judge me for how I look. I spend too much money (money that I don’t even earn anymore) on clothes. I often put too much thought into what I put on in the morning before I leave the house. I believe that my style says a lot about my personality. And I think it’s because (deep breath) I sometimes JUDGE other people too quickly by what I SEE. Don’t get me wrong. I’m friendly to everyone. I will never turn away from anyone or think less of someone for how they look, but I’ll often start the conversation with them with an initial opinion in my head. One that is more often than not, WRONG. I think many of us are like this. We make judgement calls on people before we give them a chance. We judge people on where they went to school, where they live, what kind of work they do, how they raise their kids. But judging someone for how they look… it’s one of the first lessons we learn. It’s unacceptable.
Part of me strives to be the mom who looks like she has it all together. I am so NOT that mom. I don’t have it together on so many days. I am usually hanging on by a thread. But I guess I think if I LOOK like I do, maybe that’s half the battle. I meet moms at Mommy and Me gym classes, school drop off, the grocery store who I wonder how they took that shower in the morning. When they had time to buy that trendy, chic outfit. How they don’t look painfully exhausted. How they got makeup on their face with kids hanging on their legs and arms. I think to myself, next time I come to this gym class, I’m going to get MYself together. I can look that great too. I rarely do, but on occasion, I try.
Why Do I Care? I’m a nice person. I am interesting, fun, smart. But somehow, it’s not enough. I need to reevaluate what is important in myself. What is important to others. My clothes, my hair, my shoes, are not. But now, without my yearly work review, without a boss telling me how I’m doing, without the “normal” ways of being judged… this is all I’ve got. Now, these days as a full time mom, the judging of myself is on me. I feel so much better about myself on the days when I shower and wear an “outfit” that’s not the clothes picked up off the floor from the day before. Not the same black t-shirt that I slept in the night before. When I give myself the luxury of blow drying my hair, putting on a pair of earrings and rubbing my newly glossed lips together, I feel like I’ve achieved something. But really, I’ve achieved nothing more than impressing myself.
So here it is, another resolution. Brought to you by my 5 year old daughter. I will focus on what is important. My insides. Other people’s insides. Being proud of keeping my kids alive, nourished and loved each and every day. Because it’s all that really matters. (Although Tim would be thankful if I shaved my legs and brushed my hair a few days a week).
Being nice and sweet. It’s all that really matters.