I Know Why June Cleaver Wore Those Pearls


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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