About a year ago I ran across some mommy bloggers who were challenging each other to dress nicely even if they were going to be home all day. I also read a couple of articles by homeschoolers who have their children wear uniforms on school days and it got me thinking.
You see we are all very influenced by our environments. The things we see and hear strongly effect our emotions and even our thought processes. We know this is true about clothing on others because we make judgements about complete strangers based on their clothing or lack thereof frequently, but I was surprised to discover that what we wear also effects the way that we think about ourselves, our jobs and our lives.
I’m not naturally someone who wants to spend a lot of time thinking about clothing and fit, or fixing my hair. I want to get up in the morning, dress and have it off my mind for the rest of the day. In order to accomplish this for many years I got up, pulled on the first dress in my closet that was suitable for the day’s activities and left it at that. The children did the same thing. We made a distinction between church clothes and play clothes but that was it.
This past summer I found myself in a thrift store looking for dresses for Mouse. Once again she had shot up and the only things I could find were a couple of school uniform jumpers. Good price, durable fabric, long enough (always a trick with her) so I bought them thinking that I would let her use them for play clothes. A few weeks later though I was at Target and they had school uniform polo shirts on sale. An idea sparked and I bought each child two navy polo shirts and informed them that we would now be dressing for school!
For the most part I have stuck to that. Some weeks haven’t gone as well due to getting behind on the laundry or the boys’ amazing ability to wear out and out grow pants, but the weeks that we do wear school clothes every day this is what I see:
So much for the children; what about the Mama?
Well I’ve come to realize that I need to recognize by my clothing that I am a professional doing a professional’s job. When I take my job seriously enough to dress for it, the children and the public take me seriously too! Clear signals for everyone just from putting a little thought into my clothes. I still dress in the morning and don’t usually change, but add an apron as necessary. Nothing real fancy, just semi-casual office wear works well for me but it sets my mind on doing this job of parenting and teaching and doing as well as I ever did any other professional job.
And when I have to go to a meeting or talk with a doctor or school personnel? They take my opinions and decisions seriously because it’s clear that I take myself and my job seriously. My clothing gives that signal without my saying a word.