When you wake up at the very last minute on a morning when you’ve got somewhere to be, as one does, and you fling yourself out of bed in a panic because you have to get your children out the door as well, which will involve breakfast negotiations and clothing negotiations (“no you are NOT wearing those pants with the crotch-hole and that filthy shirt!”) and various other types of negotiations, the very last thing on your mind may be the idea of getting yourSELF ready. So maybe, if you’re like me, you will just throw on some clothes, boots and a jacket, and a toque to cover your bedhead, and run out the door.
And I don’t know about you, but on mornings like that I have a delightful secret, and here it is: underneath the oversized jacket and the homemade toque (which I made myself that year I learned to knit, and then forgot how to knit) is my delightfully fleecy, button-up, plaid pajama shirt. I wear this shirt under my jacket to many different places, actually, when I have to expediently leave my house in the morning. As I type this, in fact, I am at my daughter’s Saturday morning ballet class. She is in the studio, dancing in her pink tights, her pink leotard, a tight, well-crafted bun and leather ballet shoes. She is a small, well-put-together ballerina in a crowd of small, well-put-together ballerinas. I, on the other hand, am sitting out in the waiting room with no socks in my rubber boots, yoga pants, an oversized jacket with the hood pulled up to conceal the hair that I have not yet seen today, and, of course, the cherry on top, a giant, angry zit that has taken up residence in the middle of my forehead, perhaps in protest of the life choices that have brought us here together, in this moment. I can’t help but feel like one of those dance or pageant moms from a reality show, those moms who have clearly let themselves go in favour of focussing all of their energy on making their daughters as barbie-doll-looking as possible so that they might live vicariously through them.
It wouldn’t be so bad if so many of the other moms waiting here with me this morning didn’t look amazing, and effortlessly so—sitting on the bench beside me with their perfect ponytails and their cute, colourful runners, dishing with each other about the time they’ve spent at their timeshares in Maui. I do not begrudge these women their flawless appearances, nor their timeshares in Maui, I am merely amazed at them and others like them—people who have the capacity in the morning to make their children look adorable and well-put together, and also make themselves look as though they have just stepped from the pages of an IKEA catalogue, after enjoying a margarita on their beautiful new IKEA patio set on a bright summer’s day, with their lovely, multi-racial blended family gathered around them. Okay … maybe I do begrudge them a little bit. But this is not a criticism, fancy moms—I admire you, but I will never be one of you.
However, as it turns out, I quite enjoy the slovenly way that I am. I think of my pajama shirt, hidden discretely beneath my jacket, as a piece of my warm bed that I take with me, a comfortable secret that I, alone, am aware of. Not unlike Clark Kent, I must keep my comfy secret identity as a lazy, pajama-loving unkempt super-mom who GETS that child to that ballet class ON TIME, with that ballet bun IN and that leotard on (and SEMI-clean), the mom who DOESN’T EVEN CARE (it appears) that she doesn’t have a timeshare in Maui, and is TOO COOL to even take off the hood of this rain jacket, or brush her hair, or look at herself in the mirror before she leaves the house. My child is here and ready to dance, and that is a successful morning in my books.
Anyway, my pajama shirt is better than a timeshare in Maui, because I don’t have to share my time in that baby with anyone else. That pajama shirt is ALL mine.