I Hate When Parents Dress Like Slobs for School Events

I recently blogged about the debate over whether parents should have a dress code for when they drop their kids off at school in the morning. I argued that parents should dress up when visiting their kid’s school. I don’t mean Sunday best. I mean take the rollers out of your hair and if you want to be comfy, PJs are not the way—but yoga pants are fine. But really, if you don’t attend yoga everyday (and you don’t!) it doesn’t hurt to wear pants, even jeans with a zipper and button!

I’m bringing this up again because last night was Back To School Night at my son’s school. I was extra excited to attend because I’m currently being treated for Thyroid Cancer and the past few weeks have been really rough (read about my Cancer journey on ChristineCoppa.net). I didn’t even think I was going to make it and had a proxy on standby to fill in for me. The fact that I’d send someone in place pretty much speaks to how much I value my son’s education, as well as my personal desire to be involved with his school. Because, yeah, from what I saw last night, there were definitely parents that blew off the event (fine, maybe they had something major going on, but being tired and rushed doesn’t count because that is every parent’s excuse!).


What was worse (and I know I’m going to get yelled at online for this) were the parents who showed up looking all scrubby and disheveled. You guys, I currently have visible stitches in my neck and sterile strips atop them. I’m adjusting to life without a Thyroid (a vital gland) and synthetic meds to keep everything going. I’m exhausted. I’m in minimal pain, but pain. My bed and PJs were looking far more alluring than the PTA and first grade happenings, but I pulled it together last night because it was important!

When my sitter arrived, I hopped in the shower and towel dried my hair, adding a little sea salt spray in for quick beachy waves. I brushed on some mineral makeup, applied mascara, and added a bright coral lip for a pop of color. Earrings and a chunky bracelet were next. I wanted to be comfortable but dressed up, so I choose a long grey cotton skirt from the GAP, a blue tank, denim jacket, lightweight scarf, and stripy flat sandals. It was an easy, boho, stylish look—anyone could pull it off.

So it kind of ruffled my feathers when my eyes darted around the auditorium and I saw parents in basketball shorts, slouchy pants that looked liked PJS,  and ill-fitting, wrinkled attire. There were people with beanies on their heads and frizzed out, days old braids. No makeup, flip flops, T-shirts, and track pants. And can we talk about leggings and grown women, please? We need to stop pretending leggings are pants because we are not 6 with a tutu over them and they are just NOT pants. Wear leggings in the house, to the gym, in bed, or if you must wear ’em out, do it with a long sweater and tall boots.

The teachers were all lined up in dresses, heels, and suits. They were groomed and excited. This is how I wanted to be and not just because I generally care about how I look. I’m representing my child, and I want his teacher and the supporting staff at his school to know I care. I care about how the world sees me. I care about sending my child to school in clothes that fit and are clean … and match. I care about carefully packing his lunchbox, and assisting him with homework, and initialing his day planner. I care about making him do his nightly reading and writing. I want his teacher to know that I’ve joined forces with her this year to make sure my son has the absolute best experience in her classroom and throughout the school.

More importantly, I care how my son Jack sees me. I don’t want to be the sloppy mom in sweats with dirty hair tied up in a knot. I want to show my child that life is a complete package. We get up! We wash up! We dress to impress no matter what we put on our backs. We start our day and make it the best day possible. If I don’t do this … why should he?

Any of you experience parent dress code dilemmas at school? Chime in!

Photo: Getty