Letting Yourself Go–Homeschool Mom-Style

Twenty years ago I saw my first homeschool moms in the wild  There was a convention on my college campus and I saw herds processing into the campus convention center. I was young and knew everything, and was still making up my mind about the type of woman I was going to be.
I wasn’t sure of much, but I was certain I wasn’t going to be one of those people. My deeply shallow position was based on the fact that all the moms were wearing denim jumpers or floral rompers.
Look, it’s wrinkle *and* stain resistant!
Remember rompers for women? They were like those flowered dresses Elaine wore on Seinfeld, but with puffy legs that narrowed at the ankle. Harem pants meets overalls–gah!
So, God laughed, and I was schooling my kids at home within a decade. I’d come home from a job where I’d had to wear suits, heels and hose. I had a love/hate thing going with the hose, but I did like how I looked and how people treated me. You just don’t get respect like that in yoga pants.
At first when I was home, I reveled in my comfort-waist pants. The freedom! Over time, I spent less time on my appearance. Only me to blame for that. I had a lot of little kids. I was tired. Money was tight. Still, I “Let Myself Go”.
Eventually my husband remarked that I was wearing sweatpants a lot. And his t-shirts. He’s lucky I wasn’t wearing his underwear. 
Shut up. Don’t judge me. I was out of clean laundry.
The man is a saint, so for him to mention something to me is a big deal and I try to listen.
I suppose in the back of my mind I felt like to be the best mom I could be I had to sublimate Nota into pure Mom. All Mom-ness all the time. I had an idea in my head about what Mom does and it didn’t include a trip to the salon to spend time and money on herself. It didn’t even include showering as a priority.
Now I see what a big dummy I was. I can’t be Good Mom by ignoring Nota. Someday, and soon, the kids will be grown and gone and then who’s left? Just me and my husband. Because he’s stuck with me. And I refuse to wear giant Granny panties to be more righteous. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.
As seen from space.
I’ve learned it’s okay to get my hair done, to dress nicely and even to make time to have girlfriends. I find having girlfriends as an adult to be deeply satisfying in a way it couldn’t be when I was young. I think the difference is…me.
Now, jumpers are fine and there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. And I think the pendulum has even swung in the other direction for homeschooling moms. There seems to be an expectation of having it all–running an organized home, educating the kids and maintaining an active ministry–all while looking like a movie star. 
Later she’ll host the Women’s Tea and de-worm some orphans.
If you can manage this, I salute you and your chicken-cooking purse! Women should support each other in excellence and not be like crabs in a bucket. You know how if crabs are in a bucket together they will pull down the one trying to escape? And then what happens to them all?
Teamwork failure.
Excellence is going to look different for each of us. If you cover your hair and wear skirts, rock that look, girl. 
Michelle Dugger’s style is not for me, but neither is Gwyneth Paltrow’s. Although I wouldn’t mind that purse. I love roast chicken.
So, have you come back from Letting Yourself Go? How did you recover? Share your wisdom with me, please.
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