By Guest Blogger Susan M.

You know that as a parent you will make sacrifices for your children. Giving up your favorite cocktail, your sanity, going to the bathroom alone… the list is long and twisty. It’s a well-advertised parental issue. “Your life is no longer your own,” the experienced parents warn you. “Better go out on that last dinner date before the baby comes.”

As I dropped the boys off at school this morning, it became abundantly clear that I had not been warned completely. There is, apparently, a pre-K school mom dress code. And I am not in compliance.

I usually drop the boys off in the carpool line. I heart the carpool line with all of my being – I pull up, they open the door, the boys get out, and I drive off, with no one the wiser to the fact that I’m wearing the same sweatpants that I slept in. But today, I have to pick the boys up early, so in I go, sporting jeans & a sweater, thinking that I’m dressed adequately enough to talk to the teachers. I was so mistaken.

These mommas are dressed to the nines. Full hair & makeup, heels – uh, I don’t dress that nicely to go on the occasional date with my husband, much less to drop my kid off. Add to the fact that today of all days, I am sporting a camping hangover* and a sinus infection, and it is safe to say that I have not done my hair.

And the matching tracksuits – good grief, where are they getting these things? It was like a pastel explosion on the toddler hallway – Easter Eggs gone wild. Some of the true overachievers were actually coordinated with their children – and not just the girl children, mind you. Hello, therapy. (Or a rise in the number of florists. I’m just saying.)

This is one sacrifice, though, that I’m not making – sure, I care what I look like, but I care even more about getting some sleep. Organizational consultants be damned, I’m barely functional at 7am, and getting 3 kids out the door in weather-appropriate clothing is about all I can manage. I flatly refuse to get up that 45 minutes earlier that it would take me to shower, dress, find the appropriate purse to match, and make the 3 attempts it takes to put on makeup in a way that looks reasonable.

I have got to stick to carpool. Or find a liberal school where Birkenstocks are considered high fashion. I hear they make them in patent leather now – are those still “in”?

* It is never, never a good idea to sleep outside in 30 degree weather. No matter what those cute crunchy granola guys say, no amount of gortex & fleece can keep you from getting even sicker than you started. And no length of hike will make sixteen 9-year-old girls tired when they’re basically at an understaffed slumber party.