A parent of a child at Skerne Park Academy in England wears pajamas to school drop-off to make a point to the school’s principal. Photo: ITV
This past January, principal (or as they say in England, “headteacher”) Kate Chisolm of Skerne Park Academy, an elementary school in England, sent home a note to parents asking them not to wear pajamas at school drop-off. The note read, in part:
I have noticed there has been an increasing tendency for parents to escort children to and from school while still wearing their pyjamas and, on occasion, even slippers.
Could I please ask that when you are escorting your children, you take the time to dress appropriately in day wear that is suitable for the weather conditions.
We are trying to raise standards and get better outcomes for the children and we noticed a lot of the parents are turning up to school as well as meetings and assemblies wearing pyjamas, if we’re to raise standards it’s not too much to ask parents to have a wash and get dressed.
She goes on to say that she’s had “loads of support” from others encouraging her to send such a letter, but a LOT of parents didn’t like it, and Chisholm’s request soon went viral in the U.S. as well as in the U.K.
A Minnesota mom named Jill Hanson told the Star Tribune: “The best moms wear PJs and no makeup. I’m not sure it’s a better example to show kids we care about what we look like when around people. I get it if you have to go into the school to talk to a teacher or something — I’d get dressed for that absolutely. But drop off? No chance.”
And a LOT of people feel the same. My Facebook feed was full up of parents posting a link to the teacher’s letter and saying things like “Hell to the no” and “yoga pants forever”. (Which seriously, if you’re GOING to yoga after school drop-off, BY ALL MEANS.)
However, I don’t think Ms. Chisolm’s request is unreasonable at all. She didn’t ask that you shower. She didn’t ask that you put on makeup. She didn’t ask that you even brush your teeth. All she asked for is “appropriate daywear”. It doesn’t seem to me like taking an extra 30 seconds to pull off those PJs and pull on jeans and a t-shirt should be a big deal.
And yes, I’ve been doing the school drop-off for years. My preschooler’s class starts at seven-freaking-thirty, and I wear DAYWEAR to drop him off every darn day—because he’s worth getting dressed for.
Chisolm says we need to set an example for our kids by getting dressed, and I agree, but I think it goes beyond that. They absolutely need to see that you look modest and appropriate out in public, but they also need to see that you CARE. When you get dressed, you reinforce that you care about yourself and you care about them. Are you going to let them wear PJs to school? No! Then you shouldn’t wear them in public either.
Additionally, there are strong studies that suggest that getting dressed affects you psychologically in a positive way. I work from home but I still get dressed in appropriate daywear and do my makeup every day. Why? Well, in part because I’m vain, but in a larger part because I am simply more efficient and effective when I’m dressed. Wearing PJs all day makes me tired and sluggish, and it’s not just my imagination. It’s SCIENCE, y’all!
This article from the New York Times chronicles a study by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The study, led by professor Adam D. Galinsky, found something quite interesting about the effects of the clothes we wear on our thinking and experiences.
We think not just with our brains but with our bodies, Dr. Galinsky said, and our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Now it appears that those experiences include the clothes we wear.
In the study, students were tested on performance and feeling while wearing a white doctor’s coat versus those who did not. The doctor’s coat won out every time, leading Galinsky to say:
“Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state.”
So, to the parents who were told not to wear pajamas to school drop off:
And to the parents who weren’t told that but reacted like it was a death sentence from hell:
You get dressed, too.
If you’re not getting out of the car, FINE. Stay in your PJs. But get some CLOTHES ON when you get home.
You’re WORTH it. Your kids are WORTH it.
And I’m just betting that the days you get dressed? You’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself. And get more crap done.
Try it and let me know!