This weekend I had the pleasure of catching up with my oldest and dearest friend who unfortunately has lived on the other side of the country for most of the 20 years we've known each other. Her kids are just a little bit younger than mine but are still living at home, and she's also a single mom (who just got engaged a few days ago, so it'll only be for a little while longer...congratulations Lisa!!). She's had a rough time of it financially over the past few years and is finally getting back solidly on her feet, but was saying how discouraging it is to get dressed every day. How every time she sits down to pay the bills and wonders how she's going to make what she has stretch into what she needs, she realizes that another month is going to pass where she'll be wearing the same clothes she's had for many years that now don't fit exactly right. How, added to the stress of the constant worry of not having enough for those things that we consider 'necessities' as moms, she also leaves the house most days not feeling so great about herself and how she perceives the rest of the world sees her. She said she felt uncomfortable in most of her clothes, but wasn't sure how she was going to buy more considering the volume of what she isn't comfortable in. But I've known her for a long time and know that, like most of us, I'm certain she makes sure that her kids are wearing exactly those name brands that 'make or break' a kid in high school and middle school, (because their self esteem is so important), no matter how much she has to pay for them. Hmmmm....
I ran into something similar when it came to weekend wear. We were getting ready to go out to breakfast one Saturday morning when I noticed that I had a stain in my jeans. I've made quite an effort to find clothes that are suitable for work five days of the week, but had bought absolutely no weekend clothes. (Again, with the priority thing!) I mean, I could justify buying clothes for work; but for some reason, buying clothes just for me to wear when it was really only just me seeing them, wasn't important enough to include in the shopping, and I realized that I was a little stressed every weekend when I had to find something to wear now that I've become more used to looking put-together when I leave the house every morning! I have a second job that I do from home almost every weeknight, and I realized that I walk in from one job, take off my nice work clothes, and toss on either pajama bottoms and one of Rik's t-shirts, or a pair of sweats before I start working my other job. I also immediately shed the confident walk. I slouch. And I feel reeeaalllly tired for some reason!
Rik came back to see what the holdup was, and found me scrubbing the stain (and I'm sure I was muttering under my breath), and wanted to know why I wasn't just changing into a different pair of jeans. I was a little embarrassed to tell him they were the only pair of jeans I had that fit me or that were comfortable...I didn't tell him they were 5 years old. His immediate remedy was to take me to Kohl's and buy me whatever I wanted (after stating he was buying jeans whether I picked out what I wanted or not, so I had the choice or picking what I wanted or living with whatever he picked whether it fit or not). I love him for doing things like this for me; I certainly hadn't expected it! But it made me wonder why I'd prioritized the way I had. Why was it okay.....no, not okay...important to feel good about myself during the week, and okay to feel crappy about how I looked on the weekend? I'm still not sure what the answer to that one is...maybe when I can afford therapy I'll figure it out.
So I have a new mission: To find clothes for the weekend that make me feel as spectacular as I feel every morning when I leave for work. I've found that this doesn't mean that I need to have two wardrobes. Now that I have those awesome jeans that Rik was so generous to spring for, I've started looking for button-down shirts I can tuck into these fabulous washed beauties, toss on my high-heeled moccasins and a sweater, and Saturday breakfast out is suddenly looking brighter.
And I've made a small change in myself that seems to have made a difference, too. When I get home from my day job and change for my night job, instead of putting on my sweats or pj's, I put on a pair of those jeans, tuck in the shirt I wore to work, and sit down at my computer feeling more relaxed and less ready for bed. Somehow I'm not as sleepy, and certainly am enjoying less schizophrenia from getting off of the fashion roller coaster I had been creating.
The next time I hit my favorite thrift store, I'm going to check out tops to go with my brand new jeans. I'll keep ya posted. :)