Afternoon pajamas and other crimes of fashion


Mom in Robe

because-I-said-so-goldI’ve been sad and shocked for days about the news of Joan Rivers’ passing. For years, I’ve expected the head cop of the Fashion Police to show up at my door with handcuffs to take me to wherever it is they take people in desperate need of makeovers. I’d occasionally watch the E! show “Fashion Police” while I folded laundry, but  I was always afraid that Rivers could see me through the TV. And that I was making her very, very sad. Like sadder than Miley Cyrus in dollar-bill leotard made her sad.

What? I’m a mom. Sure, it’s 3 p.m. and I’m still wearing my pajamas, but, really, what exactly would be the point of getting dressed?

True, there are some hygiene concerns with my ensemble, and I do feel better on the days that I wash the spattered pancake mix out of my hair. But as a mom to young kids, every morning I struggle to put together an outfit that’s both appropriate for getting slimed (think the old Nickelodeon show “You Can’t Do That on Television”) and also making (very) occasional contact with big people.

What I’d really like to do is hang out in my workout clothes all day. But after running, I smell and my hair is sticking up all kinds of funny ways. So after showering, I have this dilemma: what to wear?

It’s weird and stinky to put back on my dirty workout clothes.

It’s also weird to put on clean workout clothes because I sure as heck am not going to exercise more than ONCE in a day.

Although I’d love to wear high heels, I need ugly flat ones so I can chase down my 18-month-old when he tries to ride his “getaway” wiggle car out of the cul de sac and into traffic.

Because I do an obscene amount of football and soccer and dirt bike laundry, I’ve pretty much stopped washing my own clothes. The other day I got dressed for church and realized my shirt had chocolate spilled all down the front of it. We were late, so instead of taking the time to change my shirt, I just dabbed out all the stains as best I could. The result was I walked into a congregation full of people looking as though I’d been sprayed down with a squirt gun. And I sort of didn’t care.

Other moms have figured out how to look good with screaming toddlers wrapped around their legs, so I know it can be done. I see them at Costco and the grocery store, hair blown out and shirts tucked in, rocking stiletto-boots and fitted jeans.

Case in point: I went to our elementary school carnival a few years back, and there was a mom there with high heels, a dress, and a fur coat. And not a weird, I’m-a-way-rich-lady kind of a fur coat, but a cool, Bohemian, I-just-stepped-out-of-an-Anthropologic-catalogue kind of fur coat.

At the time I thought her just a wee bit overdressed for a carnival held on a soccer field, but looking back, I admire the woman. She looked great. She was trying. Sure, her night was was going to consist of watching her kid “fish” for cheap plastic toys and the principal get a pie in his face. Her stilettos probably sunk in the grass and got all muddy. Someone probably spilled snow cone on her beautiful coat. But there’s something to be said for fighting the good fight, for occasionally trying to feel a little human when your life stage is a blur of poop and potty training.

So tomorrow, when I put on a clean shirt and my toddler immediately dumps an entire carton of milk on me just because he can, I’m not going to give up and change into pajamas just because I can.

Nope, when that happens I’m going to put on heels and a cute dress and diamond earrings and merrily go about mopping the floor. For me and for my kids … but also for Joan.



Elyssa Andrus has worked as a journalist for 14 years, most recently as the lifestyle editor at the Daily Herald newspaper in Provo. She is a contributor to the KSL-TV show "Studio 5" and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking" (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Natalie Hollingshead. She lives with her husband and four young children in Utah Valley.

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