Friday, October 22, 2010


Shlumpadinka- The word Oprah Winfrey made up a long time ago to describe slumpy housewives, the types that are wearing the same sweats they wore yesterday and the day before. They usually have more than one child and are running around non stop and have been totally worn out and given up on how they look.


For professional moms (a.k.a. stay-at-home-moms), especially mothers of infants or toddlers, the daily sweats/no-shower state can become a life-sucking rut that robs you of any self-esteem you might have had left after ten months of expanding in public - not just in the cute baby belly, but also in the butt, face, and cankles. Whether it’s because the shower you were planning was hijacked by a nap gone wrong or because you’ve just given up since nothing fits anyway, the result is the same… you become a *gasp* shlumpadinka.

By no means have I ever been a high-maintenance lady. This is partially due to my lack of hair skills and partially due to my refusal to spend any more than 30 minutes I could be sleeping on primping. So at least I didn’t have far to fall.

When you’re a shlumpadinka, you know it. It feels grimy, weary, and lonely. I had my moments of clarity about it. A distant look of epiphany about me, I’d mutter, “I’ve become a shlumpadinka” to my husband. He’d say, “What does that mean?… You look pretty?”.

Our cross-country move helped me emerge from my shlumpadinka rut. Packing up my closet that had become overcrowded with excess baby blankets made me remember that I do, in fact, own lots and lots of shoes - not just the one pair of sandals I’d been wearing all summer. I recalled my love of the cardigan and started wearing the many belts that had been buried under winter scarves. I bought appropriate hair product and started wearing makeup again.

I remember being about fifteen years old and hearing my little brother ask my mother why I bothered putting makeup on when I looked the same without it. My mother told him that I was doing it for me. Exactly. On one level, we groom ourselves because we want to appear acceptable in society. But on a more profound level, isn’t it really about demonstrating that you value yourself?

That’s why it’s important to make it out of the shlumpadinka phase. Becoming a mother is probably the biggest transition that can be made in life, and it’s normal to lose yourself a bit when undergoing such a big change. Ultimately, though, you’ve got to remember that there’s a person in there with goals and interests who deserves to take fifteen or twenty minutes to go through the rituals of self honor. No, you’re not your hair or your khaki pants, but it’s about an outward confirmation of valuing yourself.

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  1. This post made me smile! On days I stay home with the wee beast I embrace my inner shlumpadinka. If I wasn't back to work I fear it would become a pattern =)

  2. Yes, it's the pattern that's dangerous. When I was teaching, I used to love a good shlumpadinka day. :-)


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