I’m a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  

Weird.  That’s the first time I’ve ever written that down.  

I can be found daily dressed in yoga pants, with messy and likely unwashed hair, juggling children.

It wasn’t always this way.  I was a working professional who was well-kept and sharply dressed.  I never left the house without thoughtful execution of my outfits, from hair, to handbags, to shoes.  Everything was just right.  Hell, my underwear even matched.

Go ahead, scoff at the old me; I’ll join you.

The change must have happened slowly, because I barely noticed it until one day I cringed when I locked eyes with this haggard looking woman that must have gone out forgetting to get dressed.

Shit.  That was my own reflection.

Was I one step away from an intervention?  Were people talking about me?

Trying to get out the door with kids can be like trying to keep your head above water in a tsunami. It’s a precision military operation to get the little people dressed, fed, cleaned up, get their shoes and jackets on, and put them in the car. Once you buckle the last belt, you have an 18 second window to actually get yourself ready before shoes and jackets go flying and you have a car full of small angry nudists ripping off their clothes.

The result is you leave the house without getting a chance to feed or dress yourself properly.  By the time you are all driving down the road, you realize you’re starving and a quick glance in the rearview mirror confirms that you appear to be an itinerant hobo living out of your back seat.

I had no issue with walking around in public like this until the day I mistook my reflection for a elderly street-person.  Clearly my friends had gotten used to it, too.  Shame on me, and shame on their kind hearts for not mentioning my plummet from grace.

How hard could it be to take a few minutes for myself in the morning?  I decided to do a little social experiment to see where a few minor adjustments would get me.

Here’s what I did:

  • I threw on ‘real’ pants instead of yoga pants:  No extra time needed.
  • I grabbed a clean shirt, instead of the one on top of the dresser from last night, with just a bit of baby puke on it: 10 seconds extra.
  • I ran a brush threw my hair before I tied it up:  30 seconds extra.
  • I added a quick coat of mascara to my nearly non-existent eyelashes:  30 seconds extra.
  • Swapped lip balm for lipstick:  No extra time needed.
  • Switched my go-to Uggs for real shoes that matched my real pants:  No extra time needed.

That was all I did, and what happened next was kinda magical.  I’m not sure if it was a sign of how far I’d let myself slide into laziness or that I just looked damn good now that I finally washed my face.  

Right away, people noticed my transformation from sloth-hood back into the clean clothes wearing side of society.

I got several eye brow raises and “You look nice today” comments from my friends and family.  I couldn’t decide if I was happy for the change, or embarrassed of my past behaviour.

1 minute and 10 seconds worth of extra time and I could already tell that I looked human again.  I felt human again, like I wasn’t going to cower in embarrassment if I bumped into anyone I knew.  Surely, I can spare 1 minute and 10 seconds?  Surely, I owe myself 1 minute and 10 seconds?

A few better decisions, barely any time, and the crazy old woman in the store window became young again.  She clearly had a home now–probably even a nice one.  She no longer looked defeated.  She had her shit together.

Join me!  Take 1 minute and 10 seconds to go from haggard, to hell ya!  It feels good.  You deserve it.  Kick your own reflection’s ass.

The next hurdle: Reuniting with shampoo!


Lisa is the author behind the blog Canadian Expat Mom. She lives in the South of France with her husband and their two French-born daughters. When her family isn’t in the land of wine and cheese, they can be found exploring the globe with far too much luggage. Lisa is currently working on her first novel; a humerous memoir about her adventures in France that will leave you feeling like you just shared a bottle of Bordeaux with your best girlfriend. Follow Lisa on Facebook for more stories of travel and life in France.


  1. Glad to hear from a stay-at-home mom. There are more of you out there than you might imagine. It’s a worthy accomplishment to mother at home deserving of praise. You’re lucky to have the opportunity. I’m sure your kids are grateful. Here’s to you!
    Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.

    • Thanks Laurie. It was tough leaving the professional world behind, but now I have a hard time imagining going back!

      • Lisa,
        I’m a bit older than you and went back to work earlier than I had to. It was part-time and I could arrange things so I was home to enjoy my kids after school but I wish I’d waited because those special years are so important not only for the kids, but for the moms. Once you’re working, your thoughts are on your work quite often, even if you are still available to your kids. I’m now writing a blog, Parental Intelligence (http://www.lauriehollmanphd/blog), where I want to write more about this topic because I think stay-at-home moms need a lot of support. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Lisa,
    One more thought. It’s nice to look good as a stay-at-home mom because it shows you’re proud of who you are and what you are achieving.
    Laurie (lauriehollmanphd.com/blog)

  3. I put my career on hold for a while and found I really, REALLY resented my husband’s and other men’s commentary about women who’d “let themselves go”. Yeah, I let myself go for a while, but I had good reason with 3 kids ages 4 and under. Even if I started the day with ‘hell ya’ I ended it with ‘haggard’ so why bother? I relate to this story very well but I am not sure I agree with you that it is a ‘slide into laziness’! I think it’s a phase of motherhood and I wouldn’t want to make any mother feel guilty for her motherhood dress code. I’m back to work and ‘hell ya’ with 3 teenagers (different kind of motherhood hell ya!!) but I don’t feel bad about my showerless, yoga pants days 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • I agree Astra, my efforts may be good in the mornings, but I end up looking like there was no effort made at the end of the day. Frustrating for sure. I just need to make sure I see people within the first hour of getting ready in the morning 😉

  4. My morning routine has gotten longer and longer as my kids have gotten a little older, but there are still some rough days for sure. I make sure to wear earrings, which is key to telling what gender I am and that seems to be good…haha!

Write A Comment

Pin It