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dirty kidI have a kid. Specifically, a toddler of the male variety. Tackling Mommy is his favorite sport. No, not vindictively. Tackling as in, Mommy puts him in his jersey on Sundays, hands him a regulation size pigskin and says, “Let’s play tackle.” Which means A, he doesn’t yet realize this is a Sunday-only activity and B, I need to be dressed for anything.

You moms out there understand.

Or do you?

I’m beginning to think this kid-friendly-clothes idea is a northern thing.

You see, last weekend our family packed up and headed south. There, in the Bible belt, I met a cousin-in-law whom I’ll call Sara. Sara has a pack of kids, with her youngest also being a toddler of the male variety. In addition to her part-time job, she’s constantly on the go, with children in school, sports, and all the other activities that come with being a mom.

But you know what really amazed me? Sara dresses up. For a quick trip to see her son play football (no, not the two-year-old!), she wore open-toe wedges, off-white skinny jeans, and Michael Kors-esque black blouse with gold zippered
BlackMKaccents (similar to the one pictured here, but much cuter), and fun matte-gold jewelry. All while chasing the remainder of her children around the stands and taking them on a group trek to the restroom.

I watched in my cropped jeans circa <gulp> 2005, black tank top, and Old Navy flip-flops. (You know—the ones you can get for $1 in every color? While definitely a bargain, these are a major safety hazard but that’s another story.) Within five minutes, off came my necklace, bracelets, and the boyfriend watch. The only surviving jewelry was my earrings. I don’t really do hot; I endure it.

Okay, fine, I thought. Sara’s just dressed up to see us. This isn’t really how she lives.



The following day found Sara in dark wash jeans and a cream-colored lace top with flowing sleeves, similar to this one but again, much cuter. A long matte-gold link necklace and matching earrings completed her look. She was mixing up a delightful breakfast with kiddos underfoot.

“How do you do it?” I asked.

She looked down at her blouse. “What, this? It washes. Everything I own washes.”

So I think I’m going to give it a try. What do I have to lose? My mom taught me which magic laundry detergents to buy. Torn clothing can be mended or—fun, fun, fun!—replaced. I’m going to dress as if I don’t have a kid, and live like I do.