If My Kids Show Up In Their PJs During Distance Learning, Y'all Are Going To Have To Get Over It

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 
I’m Sorry, But If My Kids Show Up In Their PJs During Distance Learning, Y'all Are Going To Have To ...

I’m sorry, but if my kids show up in their pajamas during distance learning, y’all are going to have to get over it.

Recently, the Springfield, IL school district decided that distance-learning students would be required to follow the same dress code as they do in school. Did you see this? They made it clear than no hats, no “excessively baggy clothing” and, most importantly, absolutely no pajamas should be worn while kids are doing Zoom classes or online school work.

When I read that, I literally had to double check that I was reading the New York Times and not some kind of hilarious satire.

Are these people serious with this?

As if distance learning isn’t an absolutely out of control challenge already, parents are supposed to make sure our kids are adhering to school dress code while sitting at the computer by themselves?

I hope my school district doesn’t get any ideas, because this is 100 percent not happening in my house. Like at all. I love my son’s school, but when it comes to dress code in my own home, I subscribe to the very mature and totally reasonable “you’re not the boss of me” philosophy.

Look, I’m not suggesting that my kid will roll out of bed at 7:59 for an 8 o’clock Zoom class. Online school is real school, and I totally agree that kids need to be physically and mentally prepared every morning. Obviously, I will make sure my kid has a shirt on. I will make sure he brushes his teeth, and runs a comb through his hair. I’ll even make sure he has some kind of breakfast, and he’s not lying in bed during class.

But I will not, for one minute, worry about whether my kid is in dress code.

If he’s in pajamas, he’s in pajamas. Like millions of other parents, I have one billion other things to do with my weekdays. I have to take my other child to pre-K, take care of my infant, work from home, attempt to keep my house clean enough to be safe and livable, and also be my son’s “learning coach” for four to six hours a day, all at once.

In what alternate universe do I have time to worry about whether my second grader is wearing real pants or his dinosaur jammies?

Not in this universe. Not here in reality.


On this planet, I am overwhelmed as hell, sick of this mother effing pandemic, and just trying to get through it. I’ve been home with three bored kids for six long months, and the school year is not going to make anything easier. It’s only going to get harder.

I am absolutely baffled about how on earth I am going to get all of this done. And we have homeschooled in the past. Learning at home isn’t new to us. But homeschooling by choice when the entire world was available to us as a resource did not resemble this crisis schooling, distance learning situation whatsoever.

Since we have been keeping our distance from almost everyone and staying home most of the time, my kids have basically stopped wearing clothes. They get dressed when we leave home (which is hardly ever.) Every other minute of their lives, they’re in underpants. If I’m lucky. Pajamas would be a delight!

I can’t really find a valid reason to make them put on clothes when we are home, and I choose my battles. We aren’t fighting the nudity fight here.

When school starts, I will require my kids to wear some kind of clothing on the top and some kind on the bottom. But I don’t care what they choose. My only rule will be “not naked.”

I feel like creating a dress code mandate for distance learners is pretty much cruelty to teachers. How can any school district possibly give their educators one more impossible thing to manage this fall? I can’t imagine any teacher alive has the time or energy to police what their students are wearing.

Anna Kraynova/EyeEm/Getty

I can’t even imagine how they are planning to deal with 25 kids plus their frustrated parents for an entire digital or hybrid school year. Their job sounds impossible to me. My son’s teacher will be the recipient of many gift cards from me over the course of this year. Throwing her some money for Starbucks or wine is the least I can do when she’s trying to captain a second-grade ship through a damn pandemic hurricane. It’s a lot.

And life here at home is going to be total chaos, too. We are going to do what we can to survive, hopefully thrive, and maintain some semblance of order. I’m going to make sure my kid is at every Zoom meeting, and signed into Google classroom, and up-to-date on the four thousand apps that will comprise his schooling this year. I am not going to make these poor teachers suffer as a result of my overwhelm.

But I am also not giving even one percent of my mental energy to my kid’s wardrobe choices when he is working alone at my kitchen table. Pajamas are clothes until I can safely put him on a school bus and send him back to school like normal.

Parents, kids and teachers all need a lot of grace and wiggle room and slack this year. We are jumping off a cliff together holding hands and just hoping the water is deep when we reach the bottom. We have never done this before, and we need the room to focus on what’s important: Accomplishing some semblance of education during this grand experiment of a school year.

Hate to burst any bubbles, but if my kid isn’t as naked as the day he was born, I’m going to let him Zoom it up. He will be in virtual class on time every single morning, even if he’s in his Dad’s giant t-shirt, or his zip up pajamas. And that’s just going to have to be good enough.

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