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That being said, the sweatpants come in three different colors.

One day many moons ago, when I was probably around 11 or 12, my truly beloved grandmother decided to impart some wisdom. “When you are married, you should always make sure you look nice when your husband comes home,” she told me, tidying up the kitchen, which was always spotless and the scene of innumerable made-from-scratch meals.

I can’t remember exactly how I responded, but it was something along the lines of, “Oh, Gram! You are so OLD-FASHIONED!”  This was a bit unfair, since my grandmother, a homemaker for most of her life, was exceedingly well-read and well-informed and quite capable of besting most anyone in a debate on current politics.

(Images found on ICanHasInternets.Com. The full collection is fantastic and, um, enlightening.)

But I was a LIBERATED middle-schooler, intent on an adulthood that would set the world on fire one Great American Novel at a time. I might have a husband and children, sure, but I would be a LIBERATED WOMAN first and foremost. (We were covering women’s lib in school. It was evidently a pivotal prepubescent moment, plus I had just found out that my favorite New Kid on the Block had a girlfriend, the lousy peckerhead.)

For some reason, I thought of this conversation with my grandmother the other night. Adam had just walked in the door from work and I was simultaneously trying out a new recipe, sweeping crud from the kitchen floor, and attempting to walk Aura through an unfamiliar and deafeningly loud computer game, while wearing the same shirt I had pulled on 11 hours ago and a pair of ratty sweatpants, my hair in a ponytail that stuck out from the top of my head like a particularly unattractive horn.

I looked down at myself and thought, Sorry, Gram. Yet for all my talk, for all my lack of interest in put-togetherness at 6:30 p.m., there I am, just like she was, tidying up a kind-of-spotless kitchen, the scene of innumerable kind-of-homemade meals.

It’s bizarre sometimes, isn’t it? So much changes, and then so much stays the same. You work. Or you stay at home. Or you work and stay at home. And whatever you do, you find yourself both defensive and proud, and then you change into sweatpants at the end of the day.

They didn’t cover all the in-betweens, all the nauseating nuances, in that women’s lib unit in junior high. I’m finding that liberation is as liberation does. Which is how most things should be.

Plus that New Kid I liked? Totally turned out to be gay. Proof that you never, EVER see what’s coming next.

13 Responses to That being said, the sweatpants come in three different colors.
  1. SurferWife
    September 17, 2010 | 9:47 am

    “Dont worry darling, you didn’t burn the beer!”

    Just might be the best and most applicable quote for me.

  2. Karen at French Skinny
    September 17, 2010 | 3:22 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I was just talked down from trying to compare myself to my mom who I remember as always being together before 6:30am. Including earrings and matching accessories. The only answer I can come up with is the magic of polyester.

  3. The Only Girl
    September 18, 2010 | 5:56 am

    I feel sweatpants and pjs are one of life’s greatest pleasures. The trick is to get HIM to love his, as much as YOU love yours. Then its a non-issue and sweatpants will rule your casual yet happy home.

  4. statia
    September 18, 2010 | 6:07 am

    Man, this just makes me realize how much I am like my grandmother. She didn’t cook (actually, the difference is that she couldn’t cook, I just don’t, but can), she didn’t clean the house (my mother was a modern day cinderella, whereas, I feel as if it’s a losing battle with a husband, two dogs, and two kids, so I “straighten and dust” when I can).

    But now? I’m kind of frightened.

  5. Marlo
    September 18, 2010 | 6:19 am

    Better to be like your grandmother than my mother. That’s what I always say.

  6. Mammywoo
    September 18, 2010 | 6:36 am

    Haha love the first pic! All she wants is a Hoover for Xmas. I’d kill him. I really would. On valentines day he bought me an LED lamp… I thought that was bad! Anyways.. As usual missis excellent blog and food for thought. It’s 2.30 pm and I’m sat here having a moments peace after the mornings routine while my other half is out. My hair is tied up with kecks, my sweatpants have carrot and broccoli all over them and I’ve still not washed my face. The house is immaculate though and baby is fed, cleaned and sleeping. I thought I may just sit here for a bit, but as much as I hate to admit it maybe your gran was right. It’d be nice for both of us. He gets me’ looking decent for a change and I’ll no doubt get a compliment which in turn makes me feel better. (easy to please) I may even use a bit of eyeliner. Get me!
    Xx

  7. erin
    September 19, 2010 | 6:02 am

    I love and really relate to this, kate. I find myself all too often in the same position (sweats, ponytail, etc.). Both reprimanding myself and at the same time thinking, “who cares? i’ve been working hard all day!”

    erin
    the mother load
    http://abbyandizzysmom.blogspot.com
    @erinlynn76

  8. Alexandra
    September 20, 2010 | 12:25 pm

    I love the whole flavor of this post. One of my favorite things, my “tackle lure” is retro housewives, and the thinking that goes with it.

    I am just like my grandmother, and now I feel proud of it.

    Very wonderful writing, thank you.

  9. Poorparenting
    September 20, 2010 | 12:33 pm

    It’s amazing really how long women fought for the right to go to work rather than stay home and be housewives, now we’ve gone full circle and some of us who are truly liberated and have a choice are living the lives of our grandmothers just with iphones, wifi and home delivery…

  10. Poppy
    September 20, 2010 | 12:44 pm

    Pardon me while I go put on my face which is what my grandmother did every damn day. Of course, her lipstick line was a full inch above her actual lip, but she made the effort which is a far cry from what I do. Maybe that is why I never have to fake a headache at bed time. Hmmmm.

  11. Midwest Mommy
    September 20, 2010 | 8:36 pm

    I just try to at least shower each day. Then I have won.

  12. Lydia
    September 23, 2010 | 7:01 pm

    Love, love, love it. I’m thinking of myself cleaning out the cat’s litter tray while trying to keep my 2 yr old away from the tray with my knee and even so, hearing my mom’s voice in my head,” Shouldn’t you go put on some lipstick?” Only to do so and hear my husband go,”what have you got on?” with a confused look on his face. Blah

  13. Alison Golden
    September 25, 2010 | 4:57 pm

    I have sweatpants. They come from Old Navy. $10. They are sooooo comfy. And quite smart, I think. I wear them with jewelry and makeup. A top too sometimes :-) But the hair? The lack of hairdo can make or break them, I find. I will choose hair over sweeping the crud any day. And my mum said the same thing, btw. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t. All depends.

    I like your blog.
    Kind regards,
    Alison
    Alison

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