Wrong. I'm still struggling to look the part. So much so that my preschooler, S, continually checks to see whether I'm wearing actual clothes or pajamas when I pick her up from school. (For the record, my leggings and sweatshirt are both.) Yeah, you know you're in trouble when your three-year-old is already embarrassed by you.
So it's time to fake it until I can make it... if not for S's sake or my husband's sake, then for my sake. Here are five ways to do just that:
- Accessorize. A wise woman once told me that even if you can't take a shower, brush your hair, or wear makeup, you should always put on some fantastic earrings. Indeed, I've found that a cute dangly pair can go a long way. Same goes for a colorful scarf, great shoes, or fun bangles (who cares if I have clean underwear on? Listen to my wrist jingle!) The idea is there's no way you could have chosen a thoughtful finishing touch like a pair of earrings if you were a mess. In other words, you've fooled them already.
- Wear adorable outerwear. Like the above, great outerwear is a must. Especially in this weather. No one will know that you only have a nursing bra and a bathrobe underneath if you're rocking a super cute belted puffy coat. Add a fresh bomber hat and you're good to go.
- Cook onions. This one is obviously for the home, and it's an old housewives' trick that my mom taught me. Even if you're only making boxed spaghetti for dinner and slopping some jarred sauce on top, try to find the time to cook up some onions on the side. Your kitchen will smell great, everyone will think you really cooked, and the onions will add a little something something to your otherwise ordinary meal.
- Hide everything in baskets. Another one for the home. I don't know about you, but our mess can get CRAZY quickly. The secret to controlling the clutter?: Baskets. Buy a bunch of them -- big, small, round, tall. And then proceed with stashing everything inside. Who cares if the baby's teething toys are in with the train tracks? Not me, and certainly not any guests who stop by. If you can't see it, it doesn't exist.
- Smile. Sounds corny, right? Well, maybe it is, but I've found that it's the grimacing mom who looks like she's failing. So even if you're having a rough day, give it a try. Smile at the other parents at daycare. Smile at the grocery store bagger. Smile at your kids. Smile through the chaos, the challenges, and the absurdity of parenthood.
*plus copious amounts of laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, housework, baby carrying, nursing, gift buying, card sending, appointment scheduling, travel planning, potty training, entertaining, wiping tears, wiping bums, wiping noses, you get the idea...