A Battle Your Child Should Always Win

When it comes to what to wear, let your child's sense of style lead the way

My mother was a good seamstress, making an untold number of outfits for my sisters and me throughout our years. Not inheriting her skills or patience, my kids’ clothes were purchased from a department store, consignment shop or Target. Therefore, when my Mom made clothes for my kids, they were viewed as special, treasured items. She often allowed them to pick out fabrics and patterns, indulging in their love of animals with many kitten, puppy and jungle animal fabrics.

But it was the black jumper with a colorful western print, full of old-fashioned, horseback-riding cowboys that captured my four-year-old daughter’s heart. It was a simple cotton sleeveless jumper with a round scoop neck that was easy to put on and apparently, comfortable to wear.  My mother made identical dresses for my four-year-old and five-year-old daughters, and although both girls loved the dresses, it was my four year old that became obsessed with the dress. So obsessed that it became a little embarrassing.

She received the dress in early May and wore it with cute red sandals, looking totally adorable. It quickly became her all-time favorite, and she wanted to wear it everywhere, every day. It did get washed a few times a week, and it held up amazingly well, but the prideful part of me worried people might think, “Oh, that poor single-parent family, the child has only one dress.” But the other voice in my head said, “It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life. She’s dressed, she’s happy, let it go.” That voice won. I loved her more than I cared what other people thought.

As the days turned to fall, I thought the changing weather would end the days of the western print, thin cotton dress. No, my smart girl added a blouse and later, as the winds turned from chilly to downright cold, a red turtleneck appeared under her beloved jumper. I can’t recall what ended the western dress phase, whether she outgrew the dress or went on to another interest, but when I think of my daughter as a preschooler, I envision her in that dress.

In the era of the big bows, a friend insisted that her daughter have a bow in her blonde curls every day. The daughter had other ideas. The bows became the source of many struggles and tears for both mother and daughter.  There are so many issues that parents must stand firm on, decisions that affect character and form values; a bow is not the hill I would choose to die on. Our child’s appearance should not be our main source of pride.

If your child wants to wear their Princess or Spiderman outfit to the grocery store, does it matter? If they have their own creative style that doesn’t meet your aesthetic, can you allow them to express themselves? We have so many important things to worry about, why sweat something as insignificant as their choice of apparel or hair style?

Take a moment and separate your ego and pride from what is essential in raising a human being to adulthood. If it doesn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t go against your morals or values and it won’t matter in 5 years – let it go.

Categories: Single Stepping