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School or daycare drop off: Do you check out other moms?

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I was dropping off my daughter at preschool the other day and one of the moms commented that she was envious about my gym commitment. “I see you in your gym clothes all the time!” she said, as I looked down to remember that yes, I was once again wearing my favorite yoga pants and black T-shirt uniform.

I quickly reassured her that actually, I wasn’t heading to the gym but to a meeting, a very casual one, thankfully. But as I walked to the car I thought, wow, she notices what I am wearing every day, I should put in a bit more effort.

I really do like to dress well and look nice; it helps me feel more put together. But I work from home and most morning are like a mad dash to get out the door on time, so if I don’t have a business meeting where I can’t wear yoga pants, I usually throw on a pair of jeans and a funky T-shirt without thinking too much about it. (Come to think of it, the one time last week that I did come to my daughter’s preschool dressed up after a meeting, one of the moms pointed out that she loved my shoes, so she was watching too.)

Which brings me to my question, which is a bit rhetorical, I know: Do you check out what other moms are wearing when you drop off your kids at school or daycare? I guess it’s pretty natural, but I never really thought about it.

Susan has a great post over at ParentDish about carpool chic — finding a balance between looking too glamorous at drop off so that you might alienate other moms and too “I didn’t really get dressed this morning” to be taken seriously. I have to admit, on days when I have to drop off or pick up my daughter all decked out in my best business woman outfits I feel a bit odd.

So what about you — do you check out what other moms are wearing at drop-off or pick-up? If you don’t have to get into the office for the day do you still dress up for drop-off or wear whatever is fresh from the laundry?

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10 comments so far...

  • this is funny. I never really thought about it but now that you wrote about this, yes I do check out what moms and dads are wearing and I guess they check me out too.

    I think the reason I do that it’s just to see what other parents do for a living. You know, like are they doctors, attorneys, business owners, etc.

    There is also a typo, third paragraph, last word should be “too”

    Vera Babayeva  |  September 9th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

  • Ha, it’s funny you should mention this, I don’t drop my daughter off in the morning, but I do drop off my husband. Last school year I would roll out of bed and throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt…It was bad, I always felt really grubby compared to all the teachers who were arriving having showered and such before coming. Now I shower and get dressed in what I’m going to wear all day. I don’t know if anyone else have noticed, but it makes a big difference to me.

    mamajama  |  September 10th, 2008 at 8:50 am

  • heheee i think it is natural to just check people out - and its a natural conversation starter “ohh i love your shoes’ ‘thanks! i just got them, so comfy’ etc…

    i am just a little jealous that you get to wear yoga pants and a t-shirt to meetings. or ‘dress up’ in jeans. i am going through a casual wear envy stage. *sigh*

    lucky me, my husband does the dropping off so i avoid this all together. but on random days when i DO drop off or pick up, yes i am very self aware!!

    Kate  |  September 10th, 2008 at 11:05 am

  • This is so interesting to me. As a working mom, I am sometimes jealous that other moms are home with their kids and I’m not. And so sometimes I am even jealous of moms who are dropping off their kids at kindergarten in their yoga pants and flip flops. But also I *have* noticed looks from a mom or two, as I show up in my heels and slacks. Almost as if they are the ones who are self-conscious in their casual wear. It just makes me think of how much the “mommy-wars” can set up different mindsets and how much better off we’d be if we just *stopped* the comparisons altogether!!

    Kim  |  September 10th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

  • I do notice, but I mostly just assume the more casually dressed moms (or dads) have a more casual office or job. I’m not judging or anything.

    I agree that something visual is probably just an easy conversation-starter.

    Jan  |  September 10th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

  • I agree with some posters that we try to judge people from what they wear. I was a marketing exec so I dressed nicely and if I saw mom or dad in jeans and tshirt I would think, lucky them that they go back home and will watch price is right. Now, I own my own consulting and work from home. So when I go drop the girls in my jeans and tshirt, I understand that not everyone in jeans is going to go home and good off. But I also know that other people probably now look at me and say what a bum. My wife tries to tell me to sgave, shower and tuck my shirt in the morning, but I am lucky to get out of bed, get 2 girls ready, give them food, pack their lunch and drive to daycare. At that point who cares what I look like, I feel acomlished!!

    junaid  |  September 10th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

  • Honestly, I really don’t. I do notice their moods, though, particularly when someone seems to be having a bad day. I usually stop and ask if everything is alright and if there’s anything I can do to help. (It’s a very small home daycare and all the parents know each other.)

    Robyn  |  September 10th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

  • I do notice what people have on….it is education for me to see what is in fashion. When you are at home all day, sometimes the brief glances at others, be it at daycare, or at the supermarket, may be the only chance to see what the new fashion is in your town.

    Shannon  |  September 10th, 2008 at 11:22 pm

  • I don’t know that I check the other outfits out at daycare, but I do know that sometimes I am very conscious about what I’m wearing. For example, if I took the day off, but sent my child to daycare, I feel guilty for showing up in my jeans or workout clothes. I feel that maybe I’m being judged for not keeping my children home with me. I think most of that is probably my own issue though!

    Sharon  |  September 11th, 2008 at 9:11 am

  • I do look at what other moms are wearing! I can’t help it - I love fashion and observing the ways people put their outfits together. And I do envy those who have more casual work environments (we are not allowed to ever wear jeans in our office!). Although my fiance and I do get looks from other parents - not sure if its because we are 26 & 28 yrs old (while most parents are 35+ y/o) attending the eighth grade back to school night for our 12 y/o and our fashion style is different then theirs…but either way it does show that people are observant in nature.

    Ms.Shay  |  September 12th, 2008 at 9:44 am