I’m a black and white person. I have a hard time being one thing and another, like being stylish and being a housewife. The two seem diametrically opposed to me. I’m not sure why. Two of my closest friends are stay-at-home-moms, and they both have plenty of style. They always look polished and put together, whether they’ve curled their lashes or are wearing sassy little capris that show off their tattoos.
Maybe style and housewifery seem mutually exclusive to me because, like all new moms, when I moved out of the world and into our home to stay home with babies, I was lucky if I could find time to shower, much less get dressed. And getting dressed in something fashionable? Please. It would just get puke on it.
Or maybe the two clash because fashion is simply not practical when you spend your days in the house. Showers are easier now, and yes, I usually get dressed. But though I’ve always longed for a new wardrobe, something to make me feel pretty and fresh, new clothes always seemed wasteful to me. What’s the point? Nobody is going to see them. And what if I got garbage water on my blouse? It would just create more work for me to clean it.
But now that I’ve got a few years under my belt, I’m realizing there are tricks to this stylish housewife thing. A friend of mine lets her husband believe that she wears her sexy push-up bra all day long, when really she just puts it on before he comes home from work. “That shit’s uncomfortable,” she reasons. “He loves thinking I’ve got sexy lingerie on all day. Let him think that.”
And maybe June Cleaver, had she been real, would have worked all morning in sweats, painting walls and making pork marinades, taking garbage out and scrubbing floors. Then, when her work was done, she’d shower and don her pumps and pearls before Wally and the Beaver came home from school. Like I do. Only I swipe on makeup or spritz on perfume since I don’t own pumps and pearls.
What I’m realizing is that my self-care doesn’t have anything to do with everyone else in the world. It has to do with me, my husband, and my kids. And I don’t work in my nice clothes – those are for the afternoon and evening. I do my work in grubs, and when I’m done, regardless of whether I’m leaving the house that day, I polish up for all of us. For myself because it makes me feel awesome, for my husband because he deserves to come home to a beautiful home and a beautiful wife, and for our kids so that they will learn the value of putting yourself together, of caring about how you present yourself to the world, even if the world is as small as the three other people in your family.
Plus, this whole stylish housewife thing is a fun little secret, like a wink to myself every time I grab my keys and phone to walk out the door. When I stepped out today in my black leather boots and dark denim jeans, silver hoop earrings and a fitted, cabernet button-down shirt, I knew no-one would see the housewife I was this morning – snarled hair, oily face, running shorts bunched up under ratty old yoga pants, latex paint on my knuckles, and raw meat jammed beneath my pretty, shell pink fingernails.