Last night, at midnight, I realised the baby's screaming was not just him being unsettled and I threw a coat over my pyjamas, threw a jacket over him, threw him into the car and drove him to the 24 hour medical centre.

I suppose in those circumstances people wouldn't be too harsh on me for wearing my pyjamas in public, but I have to say that even there, in the middle of plenty of other people shuffling around in their nightclothes, I did regret not throwing on some ordinary clothes in which to be seen.

I particularly had cause to regret it when the baby - who is currently pulling himself up to stand - caught me unawares by pulling on my pyjama pants so hard they reached my knees before I could stop him, giving the poor sick, indelicate people in the waiting room a sight that would no doubt have made them feel a lot worse.

The truth is that I fit neatly into the anti-pyjama-in-public brigade currently at war with those more relaxed types in Gisborne. I am one of those anally retentive people who prefer that people didn't slum around in their pyjamas all day long, because it looks slovenly, it smells weird, and it's a bad example to be setting for the kids. I really can't conceive of jumping in the car and visiting the supermarket in them; that's really making a statement, surely.


But in saying that, I am a total hypocrite. Living right next door to a bakery and a dairy, I am often seen early in the morning sneaking back and forth between the three places with milk, paper and bread, wearing the clothes I've been wearing all night. It's frequently well into the morning before I can get out of my pyjamas; there's usually lunches and breakfasts and other multitudinous tasks to be performed first, and precious little time for proper clothes and war paint.

There's no one much to watch you at home, granted. It's not the same as wearing the things in public. But if being in your pyjamas for half the day is comfortable, it does nothing much for your state of mind. It makes you feel as though you are not part of the world heaving around you. It's slummy, and if you're a mummy, adds to the feeling you may have of being in your own little isolated, non-adult world.

No-one is suggesting we should return to the 1950s where you had your full pleated skirt, face and lipstick done before 7.30am as well as having cooked your husband a three course breakfast, but I do think getting dressed and ready for the breakfast shift would be a pleasant thing to do for the family, if not for yourself. Keeping your pyjamas not only out of public view, but firmly in the bedroom would probably be nicer for everyone.