My day always goes better, and I get more done when I get dressed every day
Getting dressed every day means I’m ready for the unexpected
As my neighbor opened the door, her welcoming smile quickly shifted to flushed cheeks and embarrassment. She nearly dropped the eggs I was there to borrow as her hands flew around trying to cover her bed head and pajamas and unmade up face. “I’m so embarrassed,” she blurted. “I thought you’d be in your pajamas too.” It was 8 a.m., and I was dressed and ready for the day with makeup and my hair done, like always. I definitely didn’t care she wasn’t dressed yet. I was just grateful for the eggs and her willingness to share. Being ready so early isn’t unusual for me. She didn’t catch me on a special day. I get up and get dressed first thing every day. It’s important to me. I was raised this way, and I’ve raised my kids this way. We get up and get dressed first so we are ready for whatever comes our way.
When our triplets were born, everyone told me to let go of my get-ready habit because I was in the trenches of warfare! Three premature infants is so much work! Don’t bother getting dressed! I tried it for a day or two, and I hated it. I started to sink into a postpartum funk (not a true postpartum depression). I quickly returned to my old ways of getting dressed first thing and was immediately much happier. The picture on the left they had reached their due date, so they were 9 weeks old, but gestationally they were zero. I was wearing a sweater and jeans, a headband, earrings and flats. The right picture they were maybe a month older. I was tandem feeding the boys. This was the 7 a.m. feeding. I’m wearing layered t-shirts, stretchy khakis, a headband and necklace. In both pictures I’m wearing lipstick and mascara only. This was ten years ago, and even though our family continued to grow quickly, my habit didn’t change.
Now that my kids are a little older and more independent, I love to work in my yard, and I mean WORK. I dig holes, shovel mulch, trench, haul rocks, lay pavers, pound posts, build fences, level dirt, run drip lines, all of it. We have an acre, so I always have WORK to do, and I get dressed for it. I have my yard work jeans and t-shirts, but I still put on mascara and red lipstick to do dirty work. It makes me feel powerful.
Even on days I’m not leaving the house (my most favorite days of all), or if I’ll only be doing pick ups and drop offs and could hide behind sunglasses and a hat, I get dressed for the day. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I have a lot of days I only leave the house to Uber my kids all over town, but I still get ready. I bet I get asked about this a few times a week at least. People notice I’m always ready, especially earlier in the day. When I tell them this is what I do everyday, they look at me like I must be crazy and ask me WHY, then they say something about how they could never get dressed every day and they don’t have time. It sounds like too much. And then they tell me they are embarrassed about not making more of an effort, but they don’t know how to add it to their days.
I don’t judge people who don’t get ready everyday. Everyone is fighting their own battles, and you don’t know what someone is going through. I’m not here to judge you if you don’t want to do this. I am here to share with you why it’s so important to me, how it makes my life better, and exactly what I mean by get dressed. I’m also here to encourage you if you want try it and see what a difference it makes! I’d say I’m a pretty busy person. I had triplets, and then I had two more babies right after. I had five babies in three years, y’all, then a few years later I had another one. Getting ready every day was so important to me I made time for it even during those super crazy years when sleep was at a premium.
what do you mean by getting dressed?
So let’s define what I mean by get ready. I’m not talking about getting ready for the Oscars. Every day at a minimum this is what I do:
- I’m showered. This can take 3 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the time available and my will power to get out of the gloriously hot water.
- Makeup = foundation (especially for the SPF in the summer), eyebrows, mascara, blush, and lips. This is my bare minimum makeup, and in the summer, it’s often all I do. I can do it in two minutes. If I really don’t have time for the two-minute routine, then my super duper minimum is eyebrows and lips. Everyone looks ready with those done. Just ask the French. My full makeup takes 5 minutes if I do eyeliner and eyeshadow. And if I don’t pick up my phone and get lost in Facebook-land
- I put on real clothes, most often jeans and a t-shirt, button up, or sweater. If you choose comfortable, well-fitting jeans and a cute shirt or sweater, you can look perfectly put together very easily. I point this out to people when they are commenting on how well dressed I am. I’m really wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Everything I wear is washable. My youngest is almost four now, so I’ve added some nicer sweaters back in and occasionally white jeans, but not silk or anything that is dry clean only (ok, even before I had kids I didn’t wear silk or dry clean only because I am not willing to give up red sauce and butter). My very most favorite jeans in the entire world are Express jeans. I loved them in college, but once I graduated and got a real job I felt like I had outgrown the brand. I started wearing designer jeans like True Religion, Sevens, Citizens for Humanity, etc., but after my sixth baby I rediscovered Express jeans, and I got rid of all of the others. They are stretchy but don’t stretch out, they lift and separate your bum (no mooshy mommy bottom that is all one big mass), they make you look a size smaller, and they are supremely comfortable. They often go on sale for buy one get one 50% off, and then I buy. My favorite cuts are the bootcut for my figure, but I also have the jean leggings, super skinny or skinny (which are more straight leg), in the mid-rise. They are worth every penny, and less expensive than most designer brands. Having two pairs of fabulous jeans is worth it, even if you have to save up for them and wait for a sale.
- Instead of old, dirty sneakers, I usually wear flats, sandals or boots. Fashion sneakers are a thing right now (yay!). I have a rule when I’m with my kids I don’t wear any shoes I can’t outrun them in (hello toddlers bolting into the parking lot or road). I only wear heels on dates with my husband or to church. Never on a Thursday, as you will see in my weekly What I Wore posts.
- I do my hair. When I had long hair, if I needed to save time, I did a braid, ponytail, wore a headband, or both, which can be a great way to deal with dirty hair. A ponytail doesn’t have to say, “I gave up.” There are lots of fast, chic ponytail styles. With have short hair, I can do it pretty quickly, even on the days I wash it, which is only once or twice a week. Hats, top knots, braids, updos, barrettes etc., can all be fast ways to do your hair without washing it, curling it, or straightening it every. single. day.
- I usually put on earrings and a necklace (not when I’m gardening), which takes me no time. When I had infants I chose different jewelry like stud earrings or huggie hoops (hug the earlobe). Definitely nothing that could be ripped out of my ears, fragile or a choking hazard. I had some small hoops and studs I left in for weeks at a time when my babies were small.
Hopefully you can see when I say I get ready every day, I’m not talking super fancy. This takes me 15-20 minutes. On Sundays I have more time and will do more with my makeup, and it’s also when I wash my hair. On Saturday nights when my husband and I go out on dates, I will add to my makeup to look more done up. Having a coordinated wardrobe also makes getting dressed a breeze.
Let’s look at some sample outfits. In each of these pictures I’m wearing a t-shirt, jeans, necklace, earrings, flats/sandals/sneakers, and my 3 or 5-minute makeup. I got ready in 15 minutes on each of these days, but I look much fancier because I chose jeans that fit me well and cute t-shirts. I have a thing for stripes, clearly. My daughter says stripes are my favorite color.
I would have worn every single one of these outfits when I had infants or toddlers. They are comfortable enough to get down in the floor all day, washable so when I got spit up or peed or pooped on, it can go straight in the wash, easy to nurse in, nice enough to go anywhere in. I wouldn’t wear the top two necklaces with little ones, but this collar necklace is substantial enough to withstand some good tugs, and they can’t get it in their mouths. The shoes are comfortable enough to be on my feet and I could chase down any kid who tried to get away.
why bother? I’m not going to see anyone by my family
1. I do it for myself. I physically feel so much better because I do it, and my day goes better. Unless I’m so sick that I’m actually bedridden, I get ready, and I feel less sick after I’m dressed.
2. Being dressed and ready energizes me to get going. When we have later church like at 11:00 or 1:00, I’m often tempted to stay in my pajamas until I need to get ready. I feel so much lazier. Breakfast doesn’t get cleaned up, we leave for church with a messy house, and we are invariably late because I delay getting around to…anything. When I follow my regular routine of getting ready immediately, the morning goes so much better, everything gets picked up, and we are on time to church. I wear comfy loungewear until it’s time to leave, but I shower, do my hair and makeup and have everything ready to put my dress on before we walk out the door.
3. I’m prepared for anything. When I drop my kids off at school I sometimes have to run in to take care of something. After school drop offs I can stop at the store, the post office, run errands, anything that needs to be done. If one of my kids is sick and the pediatrician’s office says they have an appointment in 20 minutes, I can leave as soon as I get the kids’ shoes on. I’ve had friends call me for an impromptu lunch or play date, and I can say yes. I never pretend I’m not home because I’m too embarrassed to answer the door when someone unexpectedly stops by. If the school calls because one of my kids is sick or hurt, I can drop everything and go immediately. When I have to stop mid-yard project to run to the nursery or Home Depot, I don’t feel embarrassed. I’m definitely dirty, like caked on mud sometimes, but my lips are red and my mascara is on and my hair is done (but probably has mulch in it by this point). Kind of like in disaster movies where they are all made up and there is soot on their faces and sticks in their hair, but you can tell they were looking so good before the volcano erupted (or at least that’s what I tell myself). I won’t be on the cover of a magazine, but I don’t look homeless in the electrical aisle either.
4. I never feel like I need to apologize for my appearance. I don’t have to excuse my yoga pants and oversized t-shirt or my bare face or my troll hair (the blessings of a pixie). I hear women doing this all the time. “I’m so embarrassed I’m in my yoga pants right now.” It takes the exact same amount of time to put on clothes, whether they are yoga pants and a stained tee or jeans and a cute tee.
5. I feel better about myself when I’m dressed and ready. It’s an instant self-esteem booster. I’m less critical of my imperfections because I take time to accentuate the most attractive parts of my appearance.
6. In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo says if you spend your days in grubby clothes, you will begin to look like you belong in them. It’s like the broken window syndrome on a house. When you leave one thing broken, other things start to get left unrepaired as well, and soon the home looks awful.
7. My weight doesn’t get away from me because my jeans won’t allow it. Yoga pants would. I can’t fluctuate more than ten pounds before I can’t fit into my jeans. I’m very aware of how tight they’ve gotten and I need to make some better choices.
8. Even on those days I’m home all day and my husband is out of town and no one else but my kids will see me, I get dressed. I don’t know if they are consciously aware of this, but the message I’m sending is they are worth looking nice for. They are as important as the strangers at the store.
9. My husband tells me I’m beautiful when I have on no makeup, puffy eyes from crying, wake up with troll hair, and anything in between. He loves me and sees me through those loving eyes. However, I know he appreciates that I make the effort to look nice every day, and I take care of myself. It makes him feel like he is worth the trouble of still romancing and attracting. It’s one of the ways I keep the romance alive. I treat him like my boyfriend.
10. I deserve to give myself some time and effort. It’s like the expression you can’t draw from an empty well. Meaning, you can’t give to others if you are empty. I deserve some time each day to make myself look and feel human. I deserve some time and attention, too. Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I get the leftovers of everything, including time to get dressed. I’m not only affirming this to myself, I’m sending this message to my family. I’m important. Time for my things is important. Of course we all want to be great moms and meet our children’s needs, but you don’t stop having needs because you now have a child (or six). You don’t stop being valuable.
11. I act better when I look better. What I’m wearing affects my behavior. There is tons of research to back it up.
12. I’m dressed for my job. Being a stay-at-home mom is a job. A hard job, and I’m prepared for anything because I dressed for it. I do a better job when I’m prepared for anything, and it removes a level of stress from my day.
This outfit is a flannel shirt (as in let’s go chop some wood, Paul Bunyon), jeans and Sperrys, which are as comfortable as sneakers. I dressed it up with a fancy necklace, but I was extremely comfortable. Another 15-minute get ready day. My husband’s comment was, “More stripes, going both directions.” I have a problem. I admit it. I love stripes. I would wear this with kids of any age, but change the necklace for little ones.
Here is a fancy-looking outfit I wore on a very, very busy day with the kids. If you look though, it’s a button up, a sweater, jeans, Sperrys (I call them chicer sneakers) and a necklace. I got ready in 15 minutes this day too.
If you want to see more of my outfits, you can find them here. Look at them with a new eye, and you will see I’m not as dressed up as I look.
how on earth do you get ready in 20 minutes?
Twenty minutes? I get ready in 20 minutes? I really do. I can get ready in 10 if I’m on fire, 15 if I’m focused, 20 if I’m slower, and I can take over an hour if I let myself get sucked into my phone. How do I do it? Well, the topic of how deserves a post all its own, but one of my secret weapons is the Stunning Style Wardrobe Guide – A Curated Seasonal Collection.
I challenge you to try it, and here is the super easy 3-minute formula to start.
- Keep it super simple. Start with wearing real clothes instead of loungewear or athleisure (this takes zero extra minutes if we assume you change clothes daily).
- Put your hair back/up in a chic ponytail.
- Put on some lipstick and mascara.
Ten minutes at the most, and you will feel a million times better. Especially if your neighbor wants to borrow 2 eggs at 8 a.m. You won’t have to pretend no one is home.
Do you get ready every day? What benefits have you noticed?
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