Domestic Cinderella Complex  

Yes, it’s widely known we housewives have been setting major fashion trends for centuries—going to the bus stop and school parking lot in our pajamas, elevating yoga attire to debutante status and forcing sweat pants manufacturers to break out beyond basic navy and athletic gray.

As a young housewife and mother, I made a conscience effort to look pulled together when I went out in public. I had a duty-like need to prove that moms didn’t become hapless fashion hags once they started staying home with kids. The sweats came off; the slacks went on. The hair came down; the makeup went on.

14 years later I’ve loosened up a bit. Okay, a lot. To the point that I practically embarrass myself, let alone my family, with the way I look   I met a mom in the produce section at WalMart the other day and I swear the only reason she recognized me was because I’d just come from getting my hair cut (you know, including a more than once a week shampoo and style). Had it been the day before, the whole unblow-dried mess would have been tucked under a baseball cap and I’d have been dressed and ready for the yard work dujour.

Lately I’ve come home from running errands, passed myself in the mirror and thought, “Oh my gawd, I just went out in public looking like THAT? What’s happened to me?”

I’ll tell you what’s happened. Life. Kids. Kids and life getting busier than ever. Kids and life making me older and wiser which makes my ego a little less fragile. This being the same ego that never would’ve allowed a younger me to go through the pharmacy drive through at night in a foreign city without a full face of make up.

Oh ego shmego. Who am I kidding? I’m just too tired to care anymore. I have a million things on my mind and a million things to do without as much as ten minutes to do it all.   I’m thinking school projects and baseball tryouts–not bronzer and eyeliner.

Honestly, about 364 days of the year I’m perfectly content to exist in blue jeans and clogs. It doesn’t bother me that the fanciest fabric in my wardrobe is a 5% Lycra / 95% cotton blend. And I truly don’t mind that I wear more dog hair than mohair.

So, why did I get so upset when my husband told me he’s going to another black tie business affair next month? In New York City. At the Waldorf Astoria.

Is it because I’ll be home with the kids studying for end of semester exams, watching primetime reruns and trying to keep the dog from eating all the lower Christmas tree ornaments? Maybe. But truly, I think it boils down to, Domestic Cinderella Complex.

Once. Just once I want to put on something that requires dry cleaning. I want a bigger reason than a parent-teacher conference to put on make up. And even then, it’s mostly concealer to hide the dark circles I got from staying up all night worrying about things like parent-teacher conferences.

I want a better reason to bleach my teeth than smiling at the dog. Remember the Marching In The Rain scene from Private Benjamin? “I want to go out to lunch. I want to wear sandals. I want to be normal again.” I’m with you there, Goldie.

I want an excuse to get all prettied up again. I want an excuse to complain about shoes hurting my feet, how to decipher the 12 shades of “nude” hose and how no amount of Control Top is really ever enough.   I want a reason to eat nothing but celery and water for three days in order to fit into a dress.

I want to actually see my husband in his tuxedo and not just drive it back and forth to the dry cleaners. I want to go to an event and see chandeliers that don’t need dusting, pretty things and pretty people and pretty dishes.

For just one evening, I want to carry a purse that isn’t big enough to hold soccer cleats, diapers and a six pack of Slim Fast. I want to sit at dinner where everyone at my table uses utensils. For their food.

I need a reason to suck in my stomach other than the family Christmas picture and meeting the old girlfriend at a tailgate party. I want to have the door of a taxi held open; so for a brief moment in time I’m Audrey Hepburn. Not June Cleaver.

I want the glass slipper, the footman and my prince.

Just. For. One. Night.


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