My nine year old daughter loves to wear blue jeans with holes in them. It drives me crazy. She will wear them everyday. She will wear them to school, the store, and she tries to wear them to church (and then I have to make her go change). It bothers me because she has a drawer full of good newer jean, but she still chooses the old ones.
It bothers me, and you know what’s crazy? I love wearing my old blue jeans with holes. They are my absolute favorite pants and my comfort pants and I wish that I could wear them everyday. So why does it bother me that she wants to do the same thing? Why do we moms care so much how our children look?
If you go to most preschools you will find all these little girls dressed like mini adults or in super cutesy outfits. And, I know that some little girls might be picking those outfits, but I am getting a sneaking suspicion that my children are not the only ones that would choose to dress differently than what their mother wants them to do.
I have three daughters. I dreamed of dressing them in cute little outfits and that they would always be matching and have their hair styled cute, either pigtails (when they were little) or headbands, barrettes, and braids. Instead I have three girls with very long hair that typically just hangs down in their face. They don’t like having their hair pulled back, only two will do braids while they are sleeping on occasion, bows never happen, and headbands are only on occasion.
My oldest likes holy jeans and any ol’ shirt. My middle will only wear long skirts, t-shirts, and sun dresses. Something that causes a lot of problems living in Michigan during the winter. My youngest is a little easier, but just turned 4 years old and hit the “Miss Independent” stage. Now she will pick her clothes each day and that usually involves the shirt needing to be the same color as the pants, no matter what it looks like.
So, I am left with two choices.
- Fight with them on a daily basis about their clothes.
- Be that parents whose children almost always look like a tornado hit us.
And, awhile ago I decided that I was going to go with the latter. Over the past few years that has resulted in some interesting situations:
- One child wearing rain boots with every outfit in any type of weather for about 6 months
- Another wearing the same dress everyday while we were on vacation for a week (she also has a few sensory issues with her clothes which adds a whole different battle
- A beautiful daddy daughter dress being worn with a pair of black sequences winter boots
- School pictures where they look like they do on an everyday regular basis instead of curled ringlets and fancy dresses
This has also resulted in judgmental looks from other moms, which makes me sad. I’m not saying my way of parenting is better than others. Do I wish I could dress my children up exactly the way that I want some days? Absolutely, but I also realize that I have three very different little girls that have different personalities then I do. They are comfortable in different things. There opinions about style are different then mine, different then what media might portray, and different than what your child might want (or you want for your child).
If I push matching outfits and looking a certain way on my daughters what am I really teaching them? Nothing that is important. We have plenty of years to teach them how to dress professionally, right now we are working on how to dress appropriately. If I keep making my daughter go and change because I don’t like the way her pants look with her shirt, what does it really matter in the long run? Isn’t it better to raise children who aren’t stressed about trying to fit in? Aren’t concerned with what others think about how they look? Isn’t it better to raise children who know themselves, what they like, and are comfortable enough with themselves to stick to it, regardless of what others think?
I think so… and for that reason, I will keep battling myself to keep my mouth shut when the holey blue jeans come out for school or the shirt doesn’t match the skirt just right, reds and pinks, polka dots and stripes. At the end of the day, who really cares about clothes?