I should have thought about it before I walked into my closet that morning. Perhaps laid out my outfit the night before. After all, this was not a typical Friday. My husband, my oldest daughter, and I were making our annual trip to see her cardiologist in Indianapolis. This was not a day to throw on my go-to sweat pants, my 2011 VBS t-shirt, a messy bun (and not a cute, trendy messy bun, either. We’re talking the “I haven’t brushed my hair in three days” look), and my grandma sandals. Yes, that is a typical weekday morning outfit as I grab my cup of coffee (always the appropriate mom accessory), hop in my mini-van, and run my oldest son to school across town.
But no, that wouldn’t do today. So inevitably, I found myself standing in my closet, thumbing through my wardrobe, and getting more and more discouraged. It’s true, I’ve gained a little (A LOT) of weight since I got married, so about 75% of my wardrobe doesn’t fit. Of the remaining clothing, at least half is for a cooler season, and everything I had left…was horrendous. At least, that’s how it felt. This is not an uncommon occurrence among women and I reacted with what I assume, was a typical reaction: I yelled at my husband. “All I have is frumpy homeschool mom clothes because I’m a frumpy homeschool mom!” For this, Mr. Frank had no response and his attempts to comfort me were met with my flailing frustrations.
Eventually, I was able to pull something together, pin my hair in a less-than-messy bun and even put some mascara on. Did I feel beautiful? No. Did I feel adequate? Yes. But the problem is, my new definition of adequate is gauged by a consistent lowering of my personal standards. And truly, my look has become: Frumpy Homeschool Mom.
Let’s fast-forward, shall we, to the afternoon when Mr. Frank and I were realizing with our 12-year-old daughter that she was no longer in children’s sizes and would now be shopping in the Juniors section of the store. It was in that section of the store that Mr. Frank and I made a startling discovery. It turns out, Juniors jeans are no longer made of 100% cotton, they are all made with a certain percentage of spandex. As we watched our soon-to-be teenager try on size 2 jeans, we realized that we needed a different approach to her wardrobe.
Wardrobe. It was the theme of the day. And just to drive the point home, the following verse showed up in my inbox:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. -Colossians 3:12
Ever get a directive from God that is so clear and so precise, it’s as if you’re hearing an audible voice instead of a whisper in your spirit? Yeah, it was one of those moments. And suddenly I knew, this “being a mom” bit is so much more than fixing dinners and wiping noses. As the mother, I am the female role model in our house. My most important role, my greatest contribution to our home, is to be the woman I want my daughters to become. Telling them how to behave, what to say, and what to wear is simply not enough. I have to become what I want them to be.
Mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, all of these I must put on every day as a woman of God. But even beyond this, I must put more care into my own wardrobe. If a first impression is based on appearance, then my clothing should reflect my God, my husband, and my own personality. And “frumpy homeschool mom” just doesn’t cut it. More to the point, if I want to have influence over how my daughters dress, then it’s not fair for me to dress in a manner that embarrasses them in public.
To be a mother is a high calling. Multi-faceted and ever expanding. Easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But oh so rewarding. Mr. Frank’s and my hope is that our daugthers will pursue loveliness in their appearance. Not strive to be trendy, or glamorous or (God-forbid) hot. And we’re willing to invest in the appropriate clothing to accomplish that. But first, this homeschool mom has to revamp that frumpy wardrobe, get up a little earlier, and make more of an effort. Because being the mom means being the example. Being the mom means setting the standard. And being the mom means not leaving the house in that old t-shirt and sweatpants anymore.
Hmm. This may require more coffee.