May 16, 2008

It doesn't really matter, does it?

"It all matches mom," says my four year old as I am trying to hide my horror over what she has chosen to wear for the day, in public!
It is a challenge that has come up for us only fairly recently. I guess that I have been pretty controlling over what my girls where. Now, my independent little girl want to choose her own clothes and dress herself. I didn't know what a challenge this would be for me. Not that she would be choosing her clothes but that I would have to find a way to be OK with what she chooses. I decided that this was important after a recent incident.
A few weeks ago, she dressed herself in all things that had pink in them. Sounds good? Not so. She had a pink and purple shirt, a pink and red skirt and pink and green socks. All very mismatched. I did little to hide my dislike. I tried to suggest changing her shirt or socks to match the skirt. No go. I told her that it didn't look nice but she insisted on wearing the mismatched items. My real annoyance began when we had to go to the supermarket and to dinner and be seen in public with this completely out of fashion child. I begged her to change but she did not understand and I didn't want to fight over clothes. So we went. The entire time I worried about what kind of mom I must have looked like to allow my child to be in public like this. Later that night. My sweet little mismatched girl mentioned that mommy didn't like her clothes. And my heart sank.
What is so important about making sure my girls look cute at all times in their complete matching outfits?? That everyone sees that I am a good mom for having perfectly adorned children. (Since moving to Texas I have had to fight bow-guilt too) It's more likely that everyone else is too worried about their children to notice that mine have mismatched clothes or no bows to speak of. In reality, instead of impressing anyone with my perfectly dressed children, I am communicating the wrong thing to my girls. That is, "what you put on your outside is more important than who you are on the inside." I can really drive this point home by being noticeably disappointed by my daughter's clothing choices.
So, in an effort to avoid raising another Paris Hilton, I am fighting every urge to control what it is that my daughter chooses to wear. I still select outfits, but she can choose to wear what she wants as long as it is weather appropriate and fits. Because, after all, isn't that what clothes are for? Not to define who we are, but to keep us warm and appropriately covered?

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