Day 13: The Mom Drawer

I keep a bag on the floor of my closet to purge throughout the year. The bag is half full. Yesterday I added two dresses and a top. On the floor of my closet is also three pairs of sweats from last week’s laundry. My sweats drawer was so full and unmanageable that opening it was like popping a snake nut can–minus the part where someone is laughing and having a good time. I had to keep the clean sweats on the floor of the closet until I did something about the drawer.

Sweats and sweatshirts, coiled and ready to spring.

My donation pile grew exponentially, as it should since I rarely wear sweats when I leave the house. Every now and then I will if I’m doing a project and don’t have time to change, but 83% of the time I will make the effort to slip on a pair of nice jeans and shoes that aren’t sneakers. Mark my words: if we ever meet it will be the one time I’m wearing sweats and kicking up dust like Pig Pen.

I avoid sweats when I leave the house for a couple of reasons. One, I try to follow the look good, feel good philosophy. I do not, under any sober circumstances, look good in sweats. My thighs are strong and capable of pulling a covered wagon across a dust bowl; cotton fleece does them no favors. Two, a chubby mom wearing sweats while running errands in a large sport utility vehicle is one venti skinny vanilla latte away from a makeover on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Do women over-schedule their lives in an effort to please everyone and then resort to comfortable clothing to lessen the bone weary ache of exhaustion? I don’t know, do chickens lay eggs?

A woman advised me when I was pregnant with Mikey that motherhood was too consuming, too hard, and too tiring to do anything more than live in sweats and pray for a date night at California Pizza Kitchen once a year. I remember thinking that she may well be right, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. That’s the other reason I don’t wear sweats. (Except when I bump into you.)

That doesn’t explain my overflowing drawer of sweats very well. Someone who claims to never wear sweats shouldn’t have so many pairs she can’t close a drawer. I guess it’s like this: As a woman/mother, I fight a war against myself to maintain a sense of identity and a feeling of confidence. Occasionally I lose a few battles.

And occasionally I kick ass.

New here? For the next 31 days Im living according to the famous William Morris quote, Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. You can learn more about the project here, and catch sneak peeks of my projects by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (Im @pancakesfries).

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    • That’s good. I was worried people would think I was saying, “I never wear sweats! I never leave the house without my pearls and my hair!” When, in reality, I mean, “I wear jeans because it looks better, reduces the jiggle, and makes me feel less guilty about never wearing makeup.”

  1. I so related to this! I too have my regrets when wearing sweats but when the weather is chilly and I’m lounging or doing housework sweats are my friends…. Unfortunately, living in the desert, shorts and tshirts do the same in the hot months. I have found that by purging and having limited choices make me change into those very clothes that I don’t mind bumping into people in. I feel like these types of purges are good for my esteem as well as my space!

  2. This morning, at 6am, I stumbled out to the car in my heavily worn capri yoga pants…no I wasn’t going to exercise at the gym. In an effort to cover this atrocity, I put on a nice long sweater dress and cardigan with my hot pink flats (nothing more than a freezing cold hot mess). So relate to this post. There are so many comments to add here, but will leave it at this – Continue the quell, sweats must be suppressed.

  3. “My thighs are strong and capable of pulling a covered wagon across a dust bowl.”

    We must descend from the same line of oxen. Depending on the maker of certain jeans (I’m looking at you Levi’s) I have to buy my pants a size bigger in the waist to accommodate my thighs. I try to tell people it’s because I was a dancer for 10 years … realistically I know it’s genetic. Thanks mom.

  4. I’m still sitting here in my bathrobe, so color me impressed. I’ll tell you, though, once I purged my collection of sweats and yoga pants and moved what was left to a bin under the bed, I am rarely tempted to wear them (unless I am actually digging in the garden or painting something). Instead, I gave myself an entire drawer of jeans. It’s always a process, though, to only keep what actually makes me look and feel good, without feeling guilty about getting rid of “perfectly good” clothes (lots of hand-me-downs from Mom and some unfortunate purchases).

  5. I don’t look good in sweats, either. Sometimes I try — there is a contingent, the Sporty Moms, who look good in their sweatsuits and expensive cross-trainers, their hair slicked back in a nice (blonde) ponytail. That is not me. When I try….I feel like I’m wearing pj’s in public.

    I do wear “sneakers” though — by which I mean Converse, because they’re cute, and maybe when I wear my black ones, people might think I’m in an indie band. 😀

  6. AMEN! My thoughts exactly about sweats!

    I’ve tried the “cool sweats in public look” a few times and I simply feel awkward and uncomfortable. Its not a weight issue for me, I just feel like I owe society at large enough respect to “dress” for the occasion.

  7. I’m not a mom, but I definitely can feel the difference when I run around the house in my yoga pants (my version of sweats and no, I don’t look exactly amazing in them either) vs putting on real clothes. On the one hand, the yoga pants mean I’m more apt to crawl on my knees to scrape up that grimey spot on the floor – but on the other hand, I’m also afraid to answer the door when a neighbor unexpectantly pops by! Or, when a florist delivery truck arrives with flowers…like yesterday. Alas, if I’d been decently dressed enough to answer the door, I would’ve been able to tell the driver that the recipient hasn’t lived in this house in over 3 months (we just moved in). womp, womp!

    Enough babble, keep up the great work – your words never cease to entertain and make me smile! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. I am loving your whole series. It’s such an inspiration. I agree with you on the sweats. You never know what the day might bring. I’ve had to stop by my husband’s office in sweats and I was a little embarrassed. I make an effort every day. Even if it’s just putting mascara on. At least it’s something!

  9. “A mom wearing sweats while running errands in a large sport utility vehicle is one venti skinny vanilla latte away from a makeover on the Oprah Winfrey Network…”

    And this is why we are friends.

  10. Hi that’s a funny post. I’m glad you’ve kept your sense of identity, and you don’t just dress so that the Oprah makeover squad don’t choose you. I too go for jeans as minimum attire, however most days I still feel under dressed, compared to back in the day (bk – before kids) when I was 20kg lighter, boo hoo!

  11. I am new here, too, but if I had just typed that oxen line, I’d be sitting back, smiling with pride. I love to bring a little laughter to the party and see that you do, as well!

    Painting projects often have me in grubbies until I shower at 4pm. I need to revise this schedule, to at least include showering, first.

    Keep up the great work,

  12. I’m glad I am not alone! I am of what shall be referred to as “sturdy Midwestern blood” and look as wide as I am tall in sweats. I feel better in cool weather throwing on jeans and a sweater to run to Home Depot. In the summer, sundresses and sandals. I feel better about myself and is a simple effort. The Oprah comment- hilarious!

    Love your blog!

  13. Oh my gosh, I love this posting. Especially “Do women over-schedule their lives in an effort to please everyone and then resort to comfortable clothing to lessen the bone weary ache of exhaustion? I dont know, do chickens lay eggs?”

    You’ve got yourself a brand new reader 🙂 Oh, and I’m phenomenally indecisive too!

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