Saturday, January 29, 2011

This Is What a Stay At Home Mom Looks Like

I got my haircut today.  It had been a staggering seven months since I last had it done.  I am pretty low maintenance on my hair care, but this was ridiculous.  I felt like one of those women at the mall in a long jean skirt, no makeup, tennis shoes and hair down to their bottoms...ok not that bad, but those women are fascinating and worth mentioning every now and then. 
I couldn't go to my usual stylist, Sheri, whom I love and think everyone in the greater Austin area should go to because she is amazing, affordable and unpretentious.  She's fantastic. You can find her here.

Anyway, I couldn't go see Sheri because when I suddenly realized earlier this week that I hadn't had my haircut in seven months, I immediately called her and received a message that she is on vacation.  Fantastic, but apparently selfish enough to vacation.  As much as I love her, this could not wait another week.  So I booked an appointment at a training salon for an easy to get appointment and cheap price. 

I was greeted by a lovely, tattooed young woman with several shades of red in her hair. (She really was lovely.  I realize I am often sarcastic, but I seriously thought she was pretty.)  We began the customary get to know you chatter and she asked the obvious, "What do you do?"

"I''m a stay at home mom.  I have three little kids."

She paused in her shampooing and peered over my lathered head to look me in the eyes with disbelief, "Really? You don't look like a stay at home mom."

Now, a million thoughts went through my head when she said this.  Here are a few.

-Well, I am. (I am so clever.)

-Are my skinny jeans, rockin' body and general aura of extreme coolness confusing you?  (Please say yes to this one.) 

-Do I not look competent enough to take care of small children because I am wearing a necklace made of large, potentially chocking hazard, sized beads?

-You look 15, maybe you don't look like someone that should be allowed to have sharp scissors near my head.

-Please shut up and start rubbing my head again.

The truth is, I was a little flattered initially.  I assumed she meant that I wasn't over weight and I had on a matching outfit that was mostly purchased in the last year at somewhere as prestigious as the Gap. (ooo la la.)

I assumed that she meant that I didn't look like I had recently been severely deprived of sleep or a bath.  (Though I did admit to not having had my hair cut for seven months so she probably was already thinking my grooming skills were lacking.) 

I assumed she found me entertaining in those first few moments, so much so that I couldn't possibly have a TV that is primarily turned to Curious George and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse rather than CNN or at least something fun like Ellen.

I wanted this young, very young, woman to think that I looked nothing like a stay at home mom.  I wanted her to think that nothing about me screamed "I am with people that always or frequently urinate in their pants and I am willing to chat about it."  I wanted to be more than that. Then I felt a little guilty.

By now I was back in the chair for my long awaited haircut and I couldn't get it out of my head that I was happy that someone didn't think I looked like what I am.  That was a weird sentence, but you get it, right?

I mean, I knew what she meant when she said I didn't look like stay at home mom.  Her picture of one probably has on sweats or mom jeans, no make up or accessories and carries that free black backpack you can score from the hospital from Gerber when your baby is born.  Thanks a lot Gerber, because our image as moms isn't hurting enough. 

The truth is, I am what a stay at home mom looks like and I shouldn't be proud that someone didn't think of me as a stay at home mom.  I should be a little offended.  (Seriously though, I am way too vain to not take her comment generally as a compliment so I still really like that girl.) 

What I really should be is a little disappointed in myself for not being more proud of doing this amazing job.  I am blessed beyond belief that I can stay home with the three most fantastic (while simultaneously being the most horrible,) children.  I should be proud that I think most days I am doing pretty well at fostering their development into caring, intelligent, productive adults.

Stella really needs to work on her contributions to the world at large, but Aiden and Cole are right on the verge of a real break through with world peace.  Seriously, I'm a really good Mom. 

I need to remember that more. I need to be a little more proud that I have the opportunity to do this. I need to take that random girl's compliment as she meant it, (though my ego would really like a detailed list of exactly what about me is so out of line with her negative image of a stay at home mom so I can focus on how great I am in that regard,)  and not worry about what the perception of a stay at home mom is by the world at large.  I am what a stay at home mom looks like and I am, (usually and trying to be more,) proud to be one.


didi said...

Love your writing Leslie! Always relatable material...filled with humor and honesty. Stella is beautiful, Cole is gigantic, and Aiden looks so grown up! (P.S. Mack says "Hi Aiden!")

Suzanne Wilson said...

I like this! So important to realize that what we do is super important - challenging alot, rewarding on its best days - super important. thanks for your reflections....i hope I look as cute as you while doing it!