Quite some time ago, I invited another mother, that I didn't know very well, over to my house. Her kids and Dylan enjoyed the playdate, and we had a nice conversation, but I was pretty sure her and I weren't destined to be friends. Why? Because she wouldn't sit on the floor. Does that sound ridiculous to you?
When she showed up, I noticed that her kids were pretty dressed up. I mean, it was a playdate. Kids usually get dirty when they are playing, especially outside, as we had planned. I also noticed that she was pretty dressed up - a fancy blouse, dress pants, and fancy shoes. My usual attire for a playdate is jeans, a t-shirt, and comfortable shoes. Heck, that is my usual attire period. I don't like to wear dresses, and I think pantyhose are probably the most annoying invention of all times. Oh, and also, I'm a nanny. Dressing up for work is like saying "Hey, would you mind throwing mud on my shirt, and splashing red paint on my pants, so I can never wear these clothes again? Thanks!"
At the time of the playdate, we hadn't lived in our new house very long. We had more rooms than furniture at that point, so the family room, which is basically a playroom, didn't have a couch or chairs yet. Didn't bother me. I always sat on the floor, playing with Dylan, anyway. As the kids played, I sat on the floor, talking to her, while she stood awkwardly, looking down at me. Strangely enough, I didn't hear from her after that.
Dylan's preschool is in an area with a mix of income levels. There are some middle income families, but there are also some very wealthy families. At Open House, sitting with this group of women, I felt extremely underdressed. I started a dialogue in my head, "Why are these women so dressed up to bring their kid to preschool? Look at their perfect hair! Their manicured nails! Their perfectly coordinated outfits, and their matching accessories! Look at their purses! What are they trying to prove? Who are they trying to impress? They are housewives! They are just going home after this".
Why do we do this? Why do women judge each other? We do it about everything - clothes, hair, parenting style, what have you. It has always bothered me, and yet, there I was doing it. This week I realized something. Maybe, just maybe they LIKE dressing up. Maybe they just enjoy looking pretty. Maybe having perfect nails and hair makes them feel really good about themselves. Maybe they used to have jobs that required them to dress up, and they came to like dressing like that. Maybe it is just a personal preference, and I'm just being a big, dumb, jerk. Maybe they are judging me, wondering "Why is that woman dressed like a slob? Does she have no pride?"
Oh, and one more thing. Maybe, just maybe, I'm a little jealous because they look better than I do.
So, I've decided to try to be less judgmental. But still, if you come to my house, I'd really appreciate it if you just tried sitting on my floor. I vacuum! (Sometimes)