Now hear me out on this - I'm not advocating for a death of individualism a la fashion expression. I like fashion (at least I liked fashion back when I could afford it, and had a hope in hell of keeping it semi-clean for more than 50 seconds at a time).
You might be protesting - my clothes say something about who I am as a person. Sure they do, in your off time. But the clothes we wear to work more likely say something about the work we do than the person we are. For instance, you might be a free-lovin', artist/hippy type who happens to also be a lawyer. You still gotta rock the stuffy suits for court - even though you hate 'em. Case closed.
No matter who I am in my off-time (whatever that is), my work involves a lot of jam, peanut butter, paint, dirt and snot. I'd like to have something to wear (without feeling like a total loser for wearing the sweats...again) that allows for stainage, wear and tear, grimey fingers, baby barf and toddler nose rubs.
I also think the uniform might serve a purpose in the quest for respect for the working lives of stay-at-homers. People with uniforms have jobs. You know, work-y sort of jobs. Jobs and work that their uniforms help make recognizable. Perhaps having a uniform will make the jobs of stay-at-homers somehow more visible as actual work.
The third purpose of the uniform is, of course, as an equalizer among stay-at-homers, thus allowing us to avoid the judgement that can come of who is wearing what clothes, what brand, how much it cost and how many days in a row it's been worn, and so on and so forth. We can be united through what we have in common (namely jobs that leave us full of snot, kiddie tears, bubble bath and paint stains), instead of divided by our income levels and fashion sense (or lack therof).
Still not convinced? Wait 'til you hear my prototype:
Heres my pitch for the stay-at-homer uniform:
I'm picturing kind of like a mechanics uniform... except, well, less baggy, shapeless and far, far less navy blue. A hot pink jumpsuit (for the pink-collar-ghetto**baby!) that will repel stains (even blood, snot and breast milk) and do a good job of concealing the ones that can't be repelled.
And like the lovely jeans in the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants (you can feel free to pretend you didn't watch it, but I know better), our hot pink jumpsuit will make magically make everyone's butt look fabulous, no matter the size, shape or gender of the wearer. (I'm negotiable on the pink for the butch or male stay-at-homers who may not feel like rockin' their inner pink... I just really like the witty link to the pink-collar-ghetto, and, well, I happen to look smokin' in hot pink).
Like a mechanic, we will have a name patch on the left chest, but instead of reading "Larry" or "Joe," our patch will display our working names, in my case: "Oliver and Lucy's Mama" - thus staving off the necessity of repeating daily, "Hi, I'm Oliver and Lucy's mom," or "Yes, I'm Oliver and Lucy's mama" etc. etc. etc.
Lest we feel like we are losing our identity, as you know, people, our very own names will be displayed on the jumpsuit's back, jersey style. (Because motherhood is a contact sport as well as an occupation and labour of love). Maybe we should consider using numbers too, and then when a particularly awesome stay-at-homer goes back to the paid workforce, we can retire their jumpsuit with a jumpsuit raising ceremony at the local playground or community centre. We wouldn't do this for everyone, mind you - just the great ones.
The uniform will also come equipped with several pockets (for kleenex, wipes, and band-aids) and a tool belt with room for personalized tricks of the trade. Mine would hold a cell phone, spare soothers, teething rings, tylenol, Mr. Snuggle Puppy, Ms. Bunny, a flashlight and some kind of contraption that magically drowned out the sound of thunder. A set of housekeys might be good too. And a flask. And possibly a nice mild sedative (for me - not the children, folks).
Feel free to add your ideas below - what is our uniform missing??
**The pink collar ghetto is used to describe the fact that women repeatedly and historically have been concentrated into low wage, underpaid jobs.