This post is part of the “I’m a Military Spouse” series, a week-long celebration leading up to Military Spouse Appreciation Day documenting the joys of military spousedom.
I’m a military spouse.
That means that there are years at a time when my husband is away more weeks than he is home.
Which means there are years at a time when I throw my hair in a wet bun (30-minute blow drying is a sacrifice of love), sport my exercise clothes all day (because really, it’s not like I actually dirty them until about the week before my soldier returns anyway) and grow out my leg hair like a Guinness Book of World Records champion (that’s why God made weedwackers).
Oh I used to get dressed — back in the newlywed milspouse days when I strolled the post commissary (pre-children) in my perfectly pressed outfits and my every-six-weeks-highlighted hair and was shocked by those people — the ones shopping in pajama pants with their children in juice-stained t-shirts and mismatching shoes. I swore to myself that no matter how bad military life got or how long my soldier was away, I would never let myself wear pajamas to the commissary.
I have worn pajamas to the commissary.
More than once.
And now, I don’t scrutinize those mamas with the children with the mismatching shoes. Instead, I think to myself, How do you get your children to REMEMBER their shoes when they leave for the commissary? And where did you get those comfy-looking flannels?
When the three boys who have to stare at you every day consider dirt an accessory and B.O. a comforting perfume, it’s hard to motivate yourself to make the time to dress in anything but stretchy pants and yesterday's water gun fighting tee (because really, didn't the water basically power wash it anyway?). My personal time as a single mama on the homefront is extremely limited, and brushing both my hair AND my teeth means I may not have time for other important tasks — like, say, feeding my children. When it comes down to it, I would much rather spend my precious non-parenting minutes alphabetizing, organizing or categorizing my fridge in labeled bins (no, I really would) than getting dressed for little people who believe naked is better.
Of course, the problem with that is that the superheroes aren’t the only ones who have to look at (or smell me) all day long. So do their teachers, their friends and their friends’ mamas, who have apparently noticed that my college sweatshirt and Under Armour sweatband is kind of like a morning drop-off uniform.
When my husband returned from his last trip after several months away, I busted out both the weedwacker and the tweezers and even made my first hair appointment since he had left to try and pretend like hygiene had happened on the homefront. As I stumbled into Superhero 3’s preschool (walking in heels is an art form, and apparently, when you practice only one homecoming a year, you lose that fine skill), several of the parents gave me that half-glazed, I’m-going-to-smile-because-you’re-waving-but-I-have-no-clue-who-you-are stare.
Finally, one mama just stopped, looked me up and down and said, “Oh, it’s YOU! I didn’t even RECOGNIZE you! You look so … nice!”
Yes, that happens once a year. It’s called homecoming. But don’t worry — we all know this ridiculous getting ready routine takes WAY too long and costs WAY too much arm strength to maintain. (I can’t sit here holding a curling iron for 30 minutes when I have Nerf guns that need my arms for tree house defending by 1500.)
Besides, the military is sure to send the man I get ready for TDY soon again anyway. So don’t fret, gorgeous mom friend who somehow always looks amazing at drop-off, those sweatpants that conceal these jungle legs will be returning soon.