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The Politics of Pajamas

The Politics of Pajamas

By Amalah

I used to wake up every morning for work before my husband did. I would shower and get dressed in suits and heels and I wore makeup and blow-dried my hair every day.

Bounce Back ArchivesAnd then I had a baby and went on maternity leave. The first couple weeks, when I had some help, were okay — and then I got a crash course in having to manage mornings on my own and things took a sharp turn toward the frump. Showers happened later and later (if at all), and I was regularly kissing my husband goodbye with morning breath and oily hair and face, in my jammies or (oh God) a dowdy bathrobe. Maybe a sexy burp rag tossed over my shoulder. Obviously, what I looked like in the morning wasn’t a secret to him anymore, or anything, but dammit, I didn’t like his parting shot of me every day to resemble a sick day, or a stay-in-bed-and-be-sad day, or maybe how he probably remembered his mom looking in the morning before school.

I actually looked forward to going back to work the first time  JUST so I could have a reason to force myself to look presentable — but after transitioning to working at home and the second baby, oh, man. Not good. So I developed some rules.

Amalah’s Stay-at-Home Mom Rules

1. Thou must not still be wearing pajamas when your spouse returns from work. Put anything, ANYTHING, else on, so it’s clear you spent at least a few measly minutes on yourself during the day.

2. Brush thy teeth first thing, no matter what. Do not pass go, do not go to the crib, do not do anything until your teeth are brushed.

3. Thou shalt spend a moment with an oil-absorbing sheet. Thou shalt not regret it. Trust me.

4. Don’t ignore thine hair. Applying dry shampoo or blasting your roots with hairspray before you go to bed will change your hair’s life in the morning.


Maternity leave and beyond, I swear: every bad day I’ve had staying (OR WORKING) at home is a day I skipped the getting dressed part. “Working at home in your pajamas” sounds really nice, but for me it was a black hole where all my self-respect went to die. Even a simple upgrade to nice-ish gym wear would drastically improve my mood and ability to get things done.

(And let’s not even mention the days that I forgot we had someone stopping by to inspect the HVAC or deliver a package or rewire a ceiling fan and I had to answer the door at 2 pm looking like I just rolled out of bed, while my children were running around in THEIR pajamas and the house was a mess and I was just like, yeah, hey, come on in, WELCOME TO HELL.)

Plus, you know, I do still kind of want my husband to think I’m pretty in the mornings.

Does anyone else care about this, either for your own self-esteem or concerns over what your partner thinks? Did anyone else miss the whole get-up-and-ready-for-work routine — either now, or maybe just when you were on maternity leave? What are your first-thing-in-the-morning tricks of presentability? Fancy sexy bathrobe? A super-fast makeup or hair trick? Sneaking out of bed to get cleaned up and beautified before getting back in bed to play completely innocent like my roommate in college used to do when her boyfriend stayed over?

(Not making that up, but sincerely hope she was the only wackaloon who does that.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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