Not so long ago I found myself out running an errand all by myself. I'm still not quite sure how it happened. It's still a bit of a blur but I am convinced it was no dream.
I found myself wondering if anyone would know from looking at me that I am a mother.
Then I looked down at myself.
There would be no question.
So for those of you who frequently find yourself being mistaken for young single ladies I have a few tips.
Here are a few ways you can ensure that never happens. Follow my advice and you will always be recognized as a tired frazzled mom.
1. Clothes. This is pretty simple. It should be painfully obvious that you have no time for such things as clothes shopping for yourself, keeping up with the latest trends, doing laundry, something called ironing . . . I'm not sure what that is either. When you get the go ahead to get out without the kids you have no time to think about what you are going to wear. You were dust before your husband/mother/friend even finished offering to watch the kids. You go as you are!
Frumpy is the new black. If you want some style advice watch the show What Not to Wear. Turn it off at the first commercial break. There are no pretty summer dresses or trendy jeans for you. You're most likely wearing a large baggy t-shirt which might or might not belong to your husband, and the kind of jeans that have elastic for a waist, or maybe a baggy pair of sweatpants. Even better, pair that grungy superman t-shirt with your ankle length Sunday church skirt, because you haven't done laundry and that was the only (semi) clean "outfit" you could scrounge up. Bonus points for any rips, (not the trendy kind) scuffs, faded neon colors, stains, spatters and spills. The messes are especially good if they are shaped exactly like tiny hand prints and strategically placed in areas most people (including your children) would find embarrassing. Again it should be painfully obvious that you are well beyond the point of caring about your own appearance. You are far more concerned with luxuries like eating and sleeping.
3. Hair. This look is best accomplished if you take a shower in the evening then jump straight into bed. Don't even consider "drying," "brushing," "combing," or "styling" your hair. It really helps if you don't even own a hair dryer or any kind of styling tool or product. When you wake up in the morning make no attempt to tame the madness. There are more important things to do like make a frozen waffle for the hungry early riser. Now go a week or so without a shower. Continue to avoid any attempts to "do" your hair. Bonus points on this one if after you give your children waffles, they load their hands up with syrup, and then style your hair for you.
4. Makeup. Excuse me while I collapse into a fit of hysterical laughter. Ok, I'm better now. This magical stuff is something you used to use when you didn't really need it. Now that you have the real wrinkles and under-eye bags, you have no time for the stuff. You continue to own it, seemingly to serve as a distraction for your children, who will inevitably get into it and makeover themselves, the dog, and your bathroom counter/walls. Cleaning up the mess they make with your most expensive lipstick is precisely why you don't have the time to "throw on some lipgloss" before you walk out the door.
4. Expression. This is probably the most important of all. Even if you managed to look like a movie star . . . ha I know . . . you can still be easily spotted by your expression. It really helps if you never ever get away from your children. Many of you are probably all too familiar with this concept. Spend months or even years at a time, between hour long "breaks" running an errand without the kids in tow. When you do find yourself out at the grocery store or post office, minus the entourage, there will be no mistaking the gleam of exhilaration in your eye. People will automatically assume you are either a mother, or a hard core criminal recently escaped from prison. Every few moments this glint will be replaced with a panicked, frantic look of shock. You will then find yourself looking all around you, desperately searching for your children, who were supposed to be right next to you, but have somehow managed to sneak off. Then comes the expression of sweet relief when you realize the kids are in fact safe and sound in the care of someone else. This will be followed by a worried look as you contemplate whether or not you left thorough enough instructions with said person. Did you remember to leave child's favorite book or toy? Their toothbrush in case they need to brush their teeth? Five changes of clothing in case they get toothpaste on their shirt? The number to call in case of emergencies? (911) All of this is followed by the look of guilt as you realize you have already spent way too much time away from your kids, who may need you. Shoulders slumped with a look of utter defeat you leave the store to return for another