Our neighbour's boy looked at our clothesline and asked "Why do Xander's clothes have so many holes and stains?"
I was mortified.
And then I wasn't.
My initial reaction was a gut reaction, a touch of childhood shame of being the "poor kids", in hand-me-downs and odd clothes. I felt embarrassed that I'd been caught out at being a bad mother.
And then I rationalised. My eldest son is hard on his clothes. A lot of them are hand-me-downs, which are then subjected to Playcentre, backyard shenanigans, and hours on the floor building with Lego. Playing is learning, and learning is good. I want my kids to be comfortable, the right temperature, and able to move and play without worrying about their clothes.
Being a good mum is not about making sure my kids only have pristine clothes. I do basic repairs and apply Napisan as required, but I'm not going to throw clothes away for being a bit worn or a tad stained (though I do have my limits!).
I'm a firm believer in the concept of "old clothes" and "good clothes". The vast majority of our time is spent either at home or Playcentre, where old clothes are sensible and grubby is okay. To go shopping or to the library, clothes need to be clean and reasonably smart, but not "good". Good clothes are for more formal events. My eldest has unholed, unstained clothes, it's just that his favourites show clear signs of being well used.
If we're at home, I don't mind what odd, mismatched, or slightly grubby (though not dirty or wet) clothes they wear, so long as they're appropriate for the weather. If it's warm enough, naked is A-OK, for the two-year-olds, anyway. I'm expecting a lot of nakey-butt time this summer, in order to progress toilet-training (sigh).
So warmth is the only home clothing consideration for my kids, and for me too. I've never been one for worrying about fashion. Considering my changing size and my stay-at-home-mum status, I'm definitely all about cheap and easy clothes. With two-and-a-half-year-old twins, I'm usually covered in peanut butter and boogers by the end of the day, anyway. My daily uniform is T-shirt and jeans; if it's a Playcentre day, I opt for the paint-covered ones.
That said, last week we were catching up with old uni friends, so I made a bit more of an effort. New jeans and a V-neck top aren't a fancy outfit, but it'd be good enough for MoTaT.
As we got ready to leave, Finn gazed, transfixed, at my chest. "Why you got baboo up there?" he gestured at my neckline. It's a sad day when you realise that your still-nursing child is bemused by the sight of your cleavage - in clothes.
Did it prompt thought about paying more attention to my appearance? Not so much. When I'm at home with the kids, who cares? Not me. Spare time and money are in short supply around here, and it just doesn't interest me. The most intensive part of my beauty regime is toenail polish, and the twins usually do that for me. Badly.
So what is my scruffiest little stay-at-home secret? I keep my comb in the car. I only need it if we're leaving the house, after all.
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