Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wardrobe, please...

note the child's admiring gaze

Last week my daughter informed me (and by informing I mean I found a notice crammed into the bottom of her knapsack) that I was to attend a parent/teacher interview. My stomach knotted and I had to resist the temptation to make up an excuse not to show. I hate the "parent/teacher interview". Teachers make me uncomfortable and when I'm forced to deal with them I'm afraid I will say or do something that will make them hate my child. And to be fair, she can be a bit of a nightmare, my little girl, and she needs good representation. I don't feel qualified.

But of course I couldn't bail. That would look bad and since it's all about appearances there was no way I was going to pull a no-show. And so I resigned myself and had even managed to bolster myself with some verrrrry complimentary pep talks:

"You are NOT a bad mother. You love your child. You feed her and dress her better than yourself and you're even reading Harry Potter and Philospher's Stone to her - again. You let her use your expensive blowdryer and you even let type a few words on your laptop. You're a-okay, pretty lady."

And on it went until I was actually feeling alright the afternoon of the interview. And then, as I cleared up the dinner dishes, my daughter spoke.

"Mommy? Can you please... you know...not dress so fashion tonight?"

So fashion? So fashion??? My first instinct was to correct her grammar - as in 'Pffft... you can't use fashion like that. You don't even know'. But her hopeful expression blunted my sharp tongue. I would have to handle this properly.

"Why? What's wrong with the way I dress?" Nice and shrill. Off to a good start.

The poor thing looked nervous. "Well, you dress like a teen-ager." She was staring hard at my knees.

I was about to protest and then I looked down. Hoodie, short skirt and knee socks. Damn her averted eyes! She had a point. And so I threw the little monster a bone.

"Alright. You got it. No fashion tonight." I was surprised by my mild tone. My daughter looked very relieved and she helped clear off the table with nary a complaint. Apparently this compromise thing was going to bear fruit.

I was happy that she was happy, but man, was my ego bruised. How long had I been embarrassing my child? Nevermind that, how many other people - taller people - had been thinking along the same lines? Had I crossed over from the "young and sexy" camp into the humiliating wasteland of the"young at heart"? And how had I remained so oblivious?

Unfortunately, or perhaps blessedly, I didn't really have time think about all that. I had precisely a half an hour to pull together a "mom outfit". As I rifled through my closet the words from SNL's "mom jeans" skit reverbrated through my head. "I'm not a woman anymore...I'm a mom." Just a few weeks previous I had found this hilarious. Now, not so much.

Finally after trying on and rejecting one trendy outfit after another I found a demure pair of pinstriped slacks and a long-sleeved sweater that covered the tattoos on my forearm and wrist. I quickly wiped off my lipgloss and opted for untinted lipbalm. As I surveyed the results in the mirror and I had to admit the effect wasn't half bad. Sure, I felt frumpy and a bit fat, but I also looked rather presentable. I pulled my sophisticated dress coat from the back of the closet and I was ready to go. I looked like a working mother. A woman who didn't take any shit in her low, comfortable heels. I felt somewhat prepared to face the teacher.

I walked from my room expecting my daughter to inhale sharply with shock or to burst into grateful applause, but she was too busy whining about having to wear rainboots to even look up - the wee ingrate. I was forced to ask her what she thought of my outfit.

"Oh. You look nice." She looked suitably impressed as she scanned me from head to toe. But, then her eyes narrowed."You're still wearing earrings,"she hissed at me.

Geeze Louise, when had my fun-loving little girl become such a puritanical drag? I told her that there was no way I was taking out my earrings and that if she made a big deal out of my tasteful (and small) silver hoops I would march back into my room and bring on the fashion. That seemed to scare her straight and we were finally out the door.

The interview went smashingly and although I really hate to admit it, I think the outfit helped. I was able to slip into confident mother role quite easily. Even sitting with my ex-husband didn't unnerve me - visibly. I asked the right questions and refrained from strangling the teacher when she lamented how unfortunate it was for my daughter to have to grow up in a "broken home". But then she also told us that our daughter is smart, happy and doing well. And to think the child managed all that coming from a broken home, with a visual artist for a father and a mother who dresses like a whore! Ah, modern childrearing.


I'd like to tell you that I rushed out and cleared out my local Talbots to appease my child, but I didn't. I can't afford that stuff anyway. However, for mother/daughter events I do tone it down. And seriously, I've been told that I don't look as ridiculous as my daughter would have me believe. My friends and co-workers assured me that I don't dress obviously too young for my age. But then again most of my friends and co-workers are filthy liars. So who can you believe?


  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Well, I was ABOUT to say that I like how you dress and couldn't imagine you any other way. But I guess now I'll just compliment you on your table manners. Which are lovely. And you know how to sit properly in a skirt.

    But that teacher! She did NOT make that comment about broken homes, did she? Where does your kid go to school? In 1974?

  • At 1:00 PM, Blogger ... said…

    oh she made the comment alright ... she also told us funny story in front of other parents and finn... "And other day in class, Finn said she doesn't want a new man to move in because then her Daddy won't love her anymore! Isn't that crazy?" Yes it was crazy. She's not such a bad sort, just wacky and... ok. she's a bit of a bad sort.

  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Oh my jesus. I'm actually sort of speechless. What happens to some people that they forget that kids actually have real feelings, just like us? Your story reminds me of this time when I was a kid out trick-or-treating with my younger sister, and this old lady said, while putting a treat in my sister's bag, "Well, you don't really need this because you're so fat." I was totally in shock at the time that someone who should know better would say such a mean thing to a little kid, as if kids don't feel emotion or anything, but I didn't speak up because *I* didn't want to seem rude. This is how rude people fuck the rest of us over.

    At any rate, your dread of parent-teacher conferences would seem to be justified.

  • At 1:38 PM, Blogger White Trasherati said…

    A broken home? Do you live in New Orleans?

    Seriously, geez..

    And Doppelganger - "Where does your kid go to school? In 1974?". Actually burbled mocha latte out of my mouth. Got it all over my hand. Thanks for that.


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