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January 20, 2010

Driving in pajamas

J0409478 Truth be told, I was no fan of the arctic cold snap we had here in the DC area in early January. That wind whistled right through my bones, and I’m glad it’s died down and the temps have gone up. But one thing the cold is good for: long coats that cover my grubby clothes. And my pajamas.

Last week I drove my son to school without first changing out of my pajamas, which consisted of a sweatshirt over a t-shirt and the one pair of black fleece pants I have been wearing non-stop around my house since 2010 began. (They don’t smell great.) I was running late and had only to come right back home before seriously getting dressed for a later appointment. So I asked myself, who will ever know?

Some of these parents on a few occasions have probably seen me in makeup at 8:30 a.m., but I’m a plain Jane work-at-home-mom enough of the time that a pale, dry face with a little extra sleep-sand in the corners of my eyes was not going to turn any heads. Most days, I would only run into a few parents anyway. The kids start the day outside, and we dash in only to sign the attendance and hang up their backpacks.

But this daring day was one child’s birthday, when all the parents bring the kids inside for a celebration with the child’s parent.

And still, I went forward, REI coat zipped up to my chin, hat on my head, yesterday’s underwear and socks still warm next to my skin.

Is this gross or really no big deal? I would never leave the house on a 90-degree morning braless in a ribbed tank top and boxers. Well, only to take out the trash, and only before 8 a.m. But never to drive my son somewhere and be in the presence of other mommies. Or of anyone.

But in winter? With long coats? Who has to know? I am always dressed by the time I leave the house at 2:48 to pick him up!

I did worry that in the four miles I had to travel each way, I’d get in an accident and that I’d be discovered as a pajama driver, an obviously many-days unshowered one at that. It would suck the most if my son were with me and we were not seriously injured but had to go to a hospital anyway. I can just hear him asking, “Why are you in your nighttime clothes, Mommy? These are my daytime clothes!”

Of course I’d rather be dressed before we leave the house; I mean, who wants to waste precious childcare time in a quiet house on something so banal as washing and dressing? But this day, punctuality was key, or I’d have to sit in the hall for 20 minutes and wait until the birthday commemoration was over.

So I zipped up over my grubbies and headed out the door. It was the second time this school year I’ve pulled the long-coat trick. It feels a little skeevy and embarrassing for someone who doesn’t have a second or third child to wrangle that I can’t get my act together to get dressed by 8:10 a.m. Hell, I used to be 25 minutes into teaching high school by that time.

But now I’m not. So I’ll take what I can get.

Does it make a difference if I say that this time, later the same day, it became clear that I was, in fact, getting a cold? No, I didn’t think so.

Original to DC Metro Moms Blog.

Jessica C. writes (often in her pajamas, from home) at her blog Crunchy-Chewy Mama and contributes to the Washington Times Communities’ Family Today section.

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