A commenter asked for elaboration on a prior post, and I'm happy to provide:
I do have one BIG question in that regard: when your children were little, how did you manage to stay dressed up all day? like, my oldest is 9 then come 8,7,almost 5,3,and 19 months. What I used to do was wear my "work clothes" during the day and shower and change into something nicer when my husband comes home. Problem is on the weekends and on his days off (he doesn't work a typical 9-5 right now). I need to get the bulk of my cleaning done when the big boys are at school... presentable and bleach don't really go together...
Full disclosure: I'm sitting under the dryer at the hair salon, getting my color did. So I'm DEFINITELY a more high maintenance gal than I was when I had small kids. When the shorties were even smaller, it was all I could do to be clothed daily.
Here are some random ideas and thoughts that worked for me. Some of them worked for a small time and then I had to readjust, some of them I still use to this day, and many of them may not ever work for you. And, hello - they are from ME - which makes them rambling, disjointed and many times, incomprehensible. My life and circumstances are completely different than yours - but we do have many similarities.
I remember, one night, my husband came home from work at about 10:45. I looked like warmed over dog crap - in my defense, I had a bunch of small kids around and, hello, I was ready to go to bed. I had no makeup on. I'd taken my contacts out, so I was wearing my coke bottom glasses. I had on a ratty tshirt and cut off sweats. He asked me why I didn't put on makeup when he came home, do my hair, get dressed - that sort of thing. Look pretty for him, since he'd been out all day.
Um, hello - I'm going to bed.
But I started thinking, and making some very small changes.
I have different clothes I wear when I'm cleaning. And that cleaning is done when I can, not on a particular schedule - so he might be around when I'm cleaning. But if I'm wearing scrubby clothes, I try, at least, to make sure I'm wearing makeup and my hair is done. That might mean putting my hair into a neat twist or ponytail - not letting it hang into my face. For me, and only for me - the makeup is key. It's AMAZING to me what a difference some makeup can make - and I'm talking 4 products. 5, tops. I use a cover up with a brush, a foundation stick, powder blush and mascara. I can do each one in stages, if I need - but all four can be applied in 2:30. I've timed it. :)
I am a huge wearer of lip balm. If you find a tinted balm, it can take the place of lipstick. Stick it in your pants pocket, apply it whenever you think about it.
If my hair is tidy and my makeup is done, and I'm wearing scrubby clothes, it doesn't seem to matter, is the point I'm working SUPER hard to make - and not succeeding, I'm sure. I try, as often as I can, to change into something a little nicer when I'm done cleaning. That nicer, though - it's not a fancy outift. It might just be a clean t shirt to go with my jeans. Add a necklace and it looks like a LOT more.
Are you doing deep cleaning every day? Maybe do it twice a week, on days that you know you'll have the space. Will it work if you wear an apron? I know that I've started wearing them, even though I REALLY feel like a 1950's housewife - but they do preserve my clothes a bit. And when I say "dressed up" - I'm not in a dress, hose and heels - more like a skirt with tights and flats. I have an Ann Taylor Loft pencil skirt that I LOVE - and I wear it quite a bit in the winter. It's comfy, and with tights I look like I'm trying a LOT harder than I am. My philosophy is, I've gotta put on SOMETHING - skirts go on as easy as pants, and it's just as easy to put on a nicer shirt as a rag. People comment over and over when I wear a dress - but it's super easy to put one one and you look super dressed up with ZERO effort.
All of this makes me sound like a 1950's repressed woman - those of you who know me in real life, please to stop the hysterical laughter, it's REALLY annoying - and it sounds, very much, like I'm advocating "Do it for your MAAANNNN. Make him HAPPPPPYYYY!" Which is not what I'm doing at all. But I'm married to him and he's married to me and we both deserve to be happy and feel as if the person we are married to cares enough about us to do something that makes the other happy.
And, if I know he's going to be home, I keep my makeup on and glasses off until I'm getting into bed. :)
It's a fine line, and one that I struggle with daily - I'm a feminist and not a man pleaser at all - but I also love my husband and appreciate what he does and want, more than all, for both of us to be happy. So? I compromise.
What have you done, my loyal and faithful readers, to bridge this gap?