I Know Why June Cleaver Wore Those Pearls

I Know Why June Cleaver Wore Those Pearls

by Kerry Scott on 22 July 2009


Remember Leave It to Beaver?  Remember the mom, June Cleaver, who always wore a dress and pearls and heels, even though she was home with the kids all day?

I always thought that was stupid.  I mean, I get why she wore the dress—you have to wear something, and it was the fifties, so that’s what women wore.  But the pearls?  Why go to the extra trouble?

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the day my corporate job ended and I started life as a stay-at-home mom.  I’ve learned a few things in that year.  One of the things I’ve learned is that when you’re home all the time, it’s easy to let stuff go.

First, I stopped doing my hair (although if we’re being really honest, I stopped doing my hair a couple of months before I left my job, because if you’re about to lose your job, a ponytail is professional enough).  Then I stopped wearing makeup, and jewelry, and a watch.  Then I decided that on those winter days when I wasn’t going out, pajama bottoms were just as good as jeans.  Once in a while, I’d wear them all day, and then wear them to bed.

It wasn’t pretty, in any sense of the word.

Every so often, I’d have something I needed to dress decently for—a parent-teacher conference at the preschool, a dinner date with a friend, or maybe a haircut (when you stay home, going to get a haircut is an event).  I was amazed at how different I felt on those days, and how much more productive I was around the house (and later, on the blog…that didn’t come until January).

Eventually I realized what everyone else has been saying all along…that dressing up can make you feel better.  I always thought June Cleaver was wearing those pearls to look cute for Ward, but now I wonder.  I think she might have been wearing them because she liked them, and because they made her feel cute herself, and because life is too short to leave your pearls in the drawer until it’s time for a haircut.  You’re still worth the effort, even if you’re just home with your kids or looking for a job.

I talked to a recruiter friend the other day who was joking about all of the “unemployment beards” she’s seen on male candidates lately…you know, that pale spot where the beard you shaved before the interview used to be.  Unemployment can be depressing, but one of the ways to combat that is to continue to take care of yourself the way you did when you had someplace to go every morning.  It can feel goofy at first, but in my experience, it really makes a big difference in your mood, and that can help give you the energy to keep plugging away at your job hunt.  Unemployment makes you feel like a loser, so anything you can do to combat that is a good thing.

I still don’t understand June Cleaver’s high heels though.  That’s just whack.

Photo by clairity

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class factotum July 22, 2009 at 8:49 am

I am so guilty of this: staying in my gym clothes all day long, not bothering to bathe. (In my defense, my work at home husband sometimes stays in his robe all day.)

The big problem with this is that in the winter when you just put on sweatpants, three t-shirts, a fleece and a sweatshirt so your heating bill doesn’t go through the roof, you expand because you are wearing all elastic and you don’t notice that your jeans — which you are not wearing — are getting tight.

Kerry Sandberg Scott July 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm

That is so true. This year I am totally resisting the pajama bottoms, even when it’s snowing.

I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to resist wearing my beloved Minnesota Historical Society sweatshirt though. Baby steps.

Ask a Manager July 22, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I recommend taking another page from the 1950s housewife playbook and having drinks ready every evening at 5:30. I want to bring back a daily cocktail hour.
.-= Ask a Manager´s last blog ..help — manager is giving me negative feedback =-.

HR Minion July 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm

But I don’t have pearls! Damn, I’m not fashionable enough for unemployment.
.-= HR Minion´s last blog ..Newest Carnival of HR is live! =-.

Traci July 22, 2009 at 8:19 pm

You know it’s bad when at bedtime you’re looking for the pajamas you wore the night before, only to realize you still have them on.

class factotum July 23, 2009 at 8:24 am

Traci! My soul sister!
.-= class factotum´s last blog ..Chats du jour: Papillon =-.

Julie O'Malley July 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

@class factotum — you got it all wrong. You don’t expand over the winter; the clothes you never wear get smaller because of the dry heat. It’s an indisputable scienterrific fact.
.-= Julie O’Malley´s last blog ..Tips for Business Owners Returning to the Workforce =-.

leanneclc July 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Great post…yoga pants are my “work” outfit now as I work from home. They also work well for pre-school drop off.

Not going with pearls (but I was never a pearl gal) but I do try to schedule a lunch with adults at a restaurant at least once a week so I have to look presentable…gets me out of the house, gets me out of yoga pants, and I have some adult conversations that don’t revolve around my business topic…

No heels though, that *would* be going too far.

Lorraine July 24, 2009 at 6:47 am

so if you stay in PJs all day – every day? – and you happen to get called in for an interview…what happens if you all of a sudden find out your “good clothes” don’t fit?? I say wear the pearls — and the dress…but don’t forget the martini!
.-= Lorraine´s last blog ..How To Conduct Yourself During An Interview =-.

Stacey July 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm

July 22, 2008 was a very very sad day… :o(

Kerry Sandberg Scott July 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Stacey—awwwww. :)

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