Embracing the Damn Pants

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So I’m sitting here in my damn pants, as I have for the past four months. What are the damn pants, you ask? I didn’t coin the term–my friend Marina’s husband Ryan did. As in, “Are you wearing those damn pants again???” Many years ago she agreed not to wear the same goddamn pants every day. I, however, have only recently embraced the freedom of schlump. Given that I’m on maternity leave and living in Rockridge, close to Berkeley, where the fashion bar is low indeed, it’s not surprising. It’s impressive, really, that I pull off my PJ pants to put the damn pants on anyway, isn’t it?

For who would care, around here? I swear people wear their pajamas to get groceries.  I see my neighbors, and they’ve seen me, in states of schlump absolutely unacceptable in the city. There, even my choice of hoody was carefully considered. On a hungover Saturday morning, would I wear the dark gray one with the black skateboard-inspired graphic, or the black one with the light gray graphic? Today, everything I have has washed to the same charcoal shade, so it REALLY doesn’t matter anyway. I haven’t bought new clothes since my large and disheartening expenditure on maternity garb. Until I bought my damn pants, that is.

Fine, I’ll share my very Rockridge/Berkeley clothing secret with you: I’ve got expensive fat pants. They’re from this place called Lululemon, and they’re called Groove Pants. (The name of them is so embarrassing I feel like I’m confessing to eating Ding Dongs, which by the way, I’ve also done recently.) But, I’m telling ya, they’re COMFORTABLE! And they kinda make me look like I’m in slightly better shape than I am. In all honesty, I’m fatter than I’ve ever been. It’s okay, I’m not that worried about it. People keep telling me that I look great, and I know it’s ’cause I’m happier than I was a year ago. Happiness, not slenderness, is the elusive elixir everyone’s looking for. And oh yes: Groove Pants. Of course. Of course.

While I’m being honest, I’ll also say: it’s not easy to be calm, even when you’re at home caring for one of the most chill babies in the universe. ‘Cause you see, I’m still me. And while I’ve taken one of the longest maternity leaves I’ve ever heard of in inhumane America, it’s been hard to stay “in the moment” and not count my days. I can’t spend the time I have worrying about how it will be in the future.

My friend Rachel gave me a book called “Buddhism for Mothers.” Other friends have mentioned a book called “Zen Mama.” I’ve also strongly considered doing regular mindfulness meditation, but I haven’t quite got it locked and loaded. Even finding 20 minutes every day seems like an impossibility, though I believe it would really help quiet my chattering brain.

Are there any working parents out there that are able to balance all of it? For that matter, are there stay at home parents who feel content? Let’s talk about it. I want to share your secret sauce, ’cause I think all of us deserve to have rich, fun, and meaningful lives.

I’ll take off the damn pants when I go back to work, but meanwhile, I’m gonna enjoy them.

About Post Author

Margot

I wrote my first novel "Richland" in cafés in San Francisco’s Mission District, after working during the day as a producer at design firms. I graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, with a degree in Political Science, and lived in San Francisco for more than 14 years. The siren song of the East Bay lured us after our son Alejandro was born. We're now adjusting to life in the weirdly idyllic neighborhood of Rockridge, Oakland.
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4 thoughts on “Embracing the Damn Pants

  1. Margot, I STILL wear the damn pants- just now they are called yoga pants. And I still feel like a schlump out in the world probably because I work at home and have no real excuse to buy any cute clothes. And no time to get ready to go to the store. Yet I still have moments passing by a window reflection thinking, holy hell, I left the house in THAT? It’s appalling. I can’t wait for summer when sun dresses and leggings and flip flops are all it takes and looking and feeling cute is so much easier.

    As for secret sauce? Mine has simply been to let go of things in a rotation of sorts. So I don’t pick up every little pile for a while (not like that was ever something I was good at anyway) and then I dedicate a free spurt to doing only that thing. I also try to ALWAYS go to my two yoga classes each week no matter what. I have a standing babysitter time for this and if Ryan can be home, great. If not, it is just worth the cost. I feel like that time sets a sort of solidity for me to try to build the toppling house of cards on top of. Without it, everything is chaos and I have to take a personal day off work just to carve a path through life. So- I suppose it is acceptance first, a bit of selfishness next and finding others to help fill in some of the void.

    As Audra would say, TA DAH!

  2. I liked Tina Fey’s take on balancing being a parent (unfortunately the full article requires having a newyorker subscription)
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_fey
    FWIW … and I’ve been laughed at, by non-parents, for mentioning this … if I wake up at 6:30am, instead of 6:45am, then I take 10 minutes to massage my feet before making kid’s breakfast and waking up the kid and starting the morning race.

  3. Marina and Leanne – I love both of your ideas/examples of what you’re doing to achieve more balance in your days. Marina, when I read about your 2 yoga classes a week, I actually felt more relaxed myself. That’s what it takes: a commitment to taking care of ourselves.

    Leanne, I only wish you could get a foot massage every day! And that Tina Fey would show up at our house on a regular basis to make us laugh.

    Next post I’m going to share some great suggestions I just got from my amazing career coach sister Lauren.

  4. Groove pants on maternity leave? Oh no no. My groove pants would not have fit me during my matenrity leave. No, my damn pants went on around month 5 of pregnancy and did not come off until about 2 weeks before I went back to work. I’m thrilled to say I have not worn them since. They are from Lucy (the less fit and less hip version of lululemon), and they have a monstrous fold over top that can fold over to actually cover your gigantic ass and look like a skirt over your pants. Yes please! I did bump into them today when I was organizing my closet/life and reflected fondly on the comfort they gave me, and the ability to be dressed as opposed to naked all those months when literally nothing else would do. Here’s to the damn pants! As for how to achieve balance, I’d say – simply do what works and don’t be apologetic. If your damn pants work when nothing else will, wear the damn pants. If it’s getting too freaking late to give the kids a bath but they didn’t have one yesterday either, use some baby wipes and call it good.

Whadya think?

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