Paint, mud, worms: Parents’ clothes take a beating

I had to buy some “mom clothes” today. Although my 3-year-old princess begs me to wear a pretty dress every morning, my daily routine requires being able to scrub toilets, scrape stickers off wood floors and sit down at preschool without flashing anybody. T-shirts and jeans it is.

You can forget high heels unless it’s a special occasion. I look like I’m ready to step out of a Pemco commercial. Not to knock the other moms I see at the park, my lack of fashion awareness isn’t making me stick out. Add some clogs, a fleece and The Herald under my arm, and I morph into your typical Puget Sound mother.

The women in my neighborhood wear Keens, Danskos, Merrells and Borns. We have an Ergo baby carrier in the car and are ready to pack our kids out if faced with an emergency. Load us up like a Sherpa because we are ready to go. We’ve been training for years with the biggest diaper bags you can imagine.

In our free time, some of us bike, some of us run, and some of us head off to the mountains or water. But all of us are prepared to load giant shopping carts full of groceries into our minivans in the rain. We can forget curling irons because the Pacific Northwest is no place for fancy hairstyles.

And what about the modern Puget Sound father? Well, you know there is something special about a region when the clothes you find at REI count as “office attire” at so many prominent companies. Heck, barefoot running shoes and kilts even fit in at some places.

I’m sure New Yorkers would view our fashion norms with a great deal of disdain, but I think they would be missing the forest for the trees. We are a practical people; comfortably clothed, ready to work, and prepared to kick around a soccer ball with our kids at a moment’s notice … even in the mud. If I was a job creator that is exactly the type of employee I would want to hire.

Alas, I am not an employer. I am the mom waiting in line at Fred Meyer buying 2T rainboots. I see the 20-year-old girl in front of me purchasing a strapless white dress and I’m thinking: “I haven’t worn white in seven years!”

But I’m ready for finger paint. I’m also ready to plant the giant bag of tulips in my cart. My kids love turning up worms.

So come on, stormy weather. I’ve got my North Face boots zipped up, my giant golf umbrella and a rain-fly for the stroller. Pouring-down rain isn’t going to stop me from taking my kids outside, and neither is my wardrobe.

And what about my 3-year-old princess? Well, you can turn down our thermostat as low as it can go, and you still won’t freeze my daughter out. If you know anything about Pacific Northwest preschoolers, then you know they are tough … even while wearing tutus.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.

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