I’m engaged in a deep existential struggle: To frump, or not to frump.
I’ve always believed wholeheartedly in the value of keeping up one’s appearance. Many times I’ve sworn to myself I would never turn into one of those moms you see schlepping around the grocery store in threadbare sweat pants and a circa-1985 banana clip. Oh, no. I don’t wear sweat pants. I wear yoga pants.
It wasn’t having a baby that threatened my credo on this matter; it was breastfeeding. When you’re breastfeeding, there’s little reason to get dressed at all. If you decide going topless just isn’t for you, you’d better find a shirt that can be stripped off with a crying baby in your arms and no more than two free fingers. Add in that it should be barf-resistant and breathable enough to keep you from melting while a toasty warm baby is pressed up against you, and your options grow smaller.
And so, despite having a closet full of beautiful dry-clean-only garments, I find myself wearing the same two or three things day in, day out. Then, I got a robe.
I’ve never been too big on robes. Reference the Abilify® antidepressant commercial: a robe that’s supposed to symbolize depression but looks more like cookie monster’s ghost stalks a woman who can’t shake her chronic sadness. Apparently we’re supposed to understand that the formerly unhappy woman has left depression behind. To me, the robe seems more like a date rapist, lurking about and then jumping her from behind when she least expects it.
The funniest part of this commercial is when the lady’s doctor shows a movie of himself explaining the drug’s evil side effects. The robe watches the movie and takes notes — as if he’s plotting his strategy for how to fight back.
This commercial makes me laugh every time I watch it, and pretty well sums up my usual association with robes. But, my parents gave me a very nice robe for Christmas, a plush and luxurious one that’s about as stylish as a robe can be. So, I gave it a try.
Now, I wear my luxurious depression robe every day. Since I’m all toasty warm in it, there’s really no need to change out of the pajamas underneath the robe. Plus, it meets my other criteria: it can be opened with the flick of a finger and — bonus! — is the exact color of baby spit-up!
The only problem is when my husband sees me in the robe. I usually try to have changed out of the robe and jammies by the end of the day, but sometimes he comes home for lunch and finds me strolling around in it. He’s taken to calling me “Hef-etta” when I wear the robe, as if I’m the female version of Hugh Hefner. I consider that a compliment, as I’d rather be Hugh Hefner than the sad lady from the Abilify commercial.
But does this mean I’ve given up? Have I become the banana-clipped mom? Have I abandoned all standards for myself?
As in most things, I think the answer lies in balance. I embrace my depression robe. When the crying baby alarm clock goes off each morning, the robe is a quick and easy solution that allows me to tend to my son quickly and effortlessly. But each day, I try to put on real clothes at some point before dinnertime. And I may not be doing full hair and makeup each day, but I’ve found it’s good for my self-esteem if I spend just a little time on myself. I think it helps me be more confident, more efficient and a better mom.
Balance. That’s the key. I’ll stick with my robe, but it stops there. If you see me trolling about in a Forever Lazy, I give you permission to kick my ass.