Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Vacuum

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)


Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Burgh Baby Mom had a similar post today and I had to admit there are times I judge the same way....I judge those I think are "rich" and think they have more money than me and think that they think they are better than me (huh? made sense in my head).

There is this consignment shop near me and when I take clothes there the woman always rejects my stuff and seems to look down her nose at me. It makes me stressed about why and I always wonder if she thinks I'm dirty or something. . . ..

The Girls' Mommy said...

I own only jeans. When I dress up its jeans and a nicer-than-the-others-tshirt. I assume one day my friends will turn me in for an Oprah makeover. But until then I'm happy in my jeans.

Burgh Baby said...

You already know I don't dress up, but my kid sure does. She wants to, so whatever. There's plenty of time for her to fully learn the beauty of jeans.

I tend to think the moms who get real dressed up are either doing it because they like it, or because they are worried about what other people will think. Kinda like how I take the time to comb my hair before I walk into our dance place.

Anonymous said...

Dude . . . I would be laying on your floor if I came over to play! I honestly can't remember the last time I got dressed-up, and have pretty much made capri pants and tee shirts my signature look. Every time I see a Mom dressed up like you describe, I have to wonder what the cost is . . . does looking nice and having others think you are better than them make up for the chance to get down and dirty with your kids?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Unfortunately, I can't sit on the floor anymore. Orthopedic issues -- but I'd have no problems telling you that and asking if I could drag a chair in. And then I'd be stupid and sit on the floor at some point anyway 'cause yeah, it's fun to sit on the floor. And I'd spend the next two days in bed, but it'd be worth it.

Clothes? Yeah. Ditto. I now just laugh at the women who judge me by my clothes. If they're that shallow, I don't have the time or energy for them.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I do think it is just the way you are comfortable. My bff always looks beautifully turned out. It's who she is. I'm more middle of the road. Jeans, but a nicer cotton shirt and cute shoes. I love my bags.

I sit on the floor all the time.