My secret weapon: The housecoat

Mr. Rogers creeped me out when I was a teenager. Which is so horrible, because I loved him so much when I was a kid.

Today, my respect for Mr. Rogers has grown back. I watch his show with my daughter and she loves it (especially Trolley). What I particularly admire is that home, to Mr. Rogers, was a stress-free zone. He’d come home and immediately get comfortable. As soon as he walked in the door, he’d shed his jacket for a housecoat and his shoes for house shoes.

Mr. Rogers knew how to kick it.

He understood the Danish concept of hygge (even if he didn’t realize it). And if you follow my writing at all, you know that I’m totally into hygge at this stage of my life.

In case you’ve missed my other articles where I’ve written about it, ‘hygge’ (pronounced hooga) is a Danish word that doesn’t directly translate into English, but essentially means ‘well-being’, although in Danish culture, hygge is much more than that. Hygge is the concept of a warm, comforting, welcoming vibe and is baked into the culture. Hygge is the makeup of an environment that evokes the feeling of sitting inside a log cabin beside a warm fire during a blizzard. Or reading a great book for hours as you lose track of time. (This article explains it as best as I’ve seen.)

So, I assigned one of my older merino wool sweaters the role of housecoat.

My housecoat is a physical reminder — an essential element to my hygge — that anchors me to shut out the insanity of my day-to-day and be present to my family, myself, or whatever awaits me at home.

Not only that, but the housecoat is like Superman’s cape to my writing. I hardly ever write without it when I’m home. Again, it anchors me to the perfect, creative, warm, safe, hygge state of mind (and paired with my J Peterman sweats and a warm mug of coffee, I’m unstoppable — damn, I sound old and lame right now).

What’s also nice is my housecoat is totally practical. It fills the slot between day clothes and PJ’s. You’re winding down, but you’re not getting into bed yet. With your housecoat, you can still be put together enough for guests or household tasks. You can wear it while running outside to take out the trash and it’s perfectly suitable for getting into a fist-to-cuffs with a pushy Bible-thumper or political canvasser.

With my housecoat, I know I’m definitely home. And what better place can I ask to be?

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