The mom in heels

Last week my daughter’s preschool class had its Easter party.  My daughter was excited to go.  And she was excited that her dad, baby brother and I were going to be there, too. My husband spent the morning working in the home office and was able to take his lunch break to join us.  Every child had to have an adult with them.  The room was filled with preschoolers, a smattering of younger siblings, parents and grandparents.

While I was excited to be there for my daughter, I sort of wondered about the other moms as well.  Her preschool is set up so that the teacher meets each child (who doesn’t attend child care elsewhere in the building) at the car in the carpool line then returns each child back to the car at the end of class.  Because of that, I have only really seen the other parents at the Halloween party and sort of at the Christmas program.

Of all the other moms two stuck out to me.  One I paid attention to because she’s the mother of my daughter’s best friend at school and I’d be seeing her again in a couple of weeks for her daughter’s birthday party to which Lexiana was invited.  The other stuck out because she and her husband were both wearing dress clothes, she complete with heels.  The rest of us were pretty casual.  They were obviously in the middle of their workday in jobs that required dress clothes.

I was in jeans that my son had flipped Spaghetti-Os on a half hour before and I had wiped absentmindedly with the same washcloth I use to wipe his face.  I was dressed fine and wasn’t ashamed one bit, but I was far from heels and dress clothes.  And, as I tend to do in my writerly sort of way, I wondered about this mom and what kind of job she has.  I caught myself making some judgments. I stopped myself short to figure out what I was really feeling.  I questioned whether I was judging or just trying to understand where she was coming from.  Obviously, we’re tackling motherhood in different ways.  But, yet, as I thought more, I thought about all the ways we have to be similar.

The mother in heels and I, the mother in purple tennis shoes, have some commonalities in motherhood.

I also tried to discern whether I was feeling jealousy at all.  I know.  I’m supposed to be above that.  But, I’m not.  So I took a step back and realized that for a brief moment, I was jealous.  It seems more glamorous to be all put together in dress clothes and heels as she was.  But then I started really thinking about that.  I like dressing up sometimes. I’ve had jobs where I had to wear a dress and heels daily.  And, you know what?  I don’t miss it one single bit.  I gave that up long before having children when I started a freelance career from a home office.  When I stopped to actually think about the reality of it, I realized I’m really not jealous. I don’t envy that.  I also thought of how hard it is for me to go clothes shopping in the midst of taking care of a family and didn’t envy that she had to make sure she always had work clothes five days a week.

I also realized that in my head I saw this woman as being well put together and made some assumptions.  I assumed that she had an organized life running smoothly.  In reality, she’s probably just trying to do her best to keep her family fed and running in the midst of holding down an office job.  Outward appearances do not always reflect what’s really going on in someone’s life.

As I headed home with my kids and changed back into my sweat pants, I thought about that mother going back to her office.  I wondered how she felt about it.  Maybe she loves her job and thrives as a working mom.  Maybe she longs to be able to stay home with her son and wear sweatpants.  Maybe she feels both ways at the same time.  I know that’s how I feel.  Sometimes I feel so incredibly blessed to be home with my children.  Sometimes I absolutely love getting to put on my sweatpants and roll around on the floor playing with them.  And sometimes I absolutely love having time without them when I’m doing article interviews and writing articles.  I spend far more time wearing my mother hat than my journalist hat right now.  Sometimes I wish that was different and sometimes I don’t want to put the journalist hat on at all.  It’s an odd dichotomy.  And I’d wager that mother in heels has the same feelings of back and forthness.

I don’t mind not wearing high heels every day.  I don’t mind that some days I don’t even put on shoes.  It’s not so bad this life that I have.  It’s different from that mom’s life.  And it’s different from probably every mom’s life.  We all have unique circumstances.  Yet, in many ways we are all the same.  We are all doing our best plugging away day after day whether in heels or bare feet in business suits or yoga pants.  We’re all working toward having happy, healthy children.  These are the things I will continue to remind myself when I start to go down a path that seems like it’s leading to judging or jealousy.  I have nothing about which to be ashamed in my journey as a mother and neither does any other mother who is doing her best.  Working mom, stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, whatever the title, it all ends with mom.  As another mom once said to me about breastfeeding, rock your journey, mama!

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