This morning “F” and I got into a discussion about how I always seem to have something to say about what she is wearing. She’ll put on a pair of leggings with a tank top and a mismatched sweater and I’ll ask her to change because she looks like a ragamuffin. Then she’ll change into pants that are obviously too short and an appropriate shirt. So I ask her to change her jeans. And finally she gets it right. The problem with this is, after all is said and done she is left feeling frustrated and feels like I’m being too critical.This is frustrating for me as well. I hate feeling like I’m hurting her feelings. She says she understands that I’m just being a parent, even if I’m being a pain in the butt parent. Isn’t part of being a parent trying to teach your children how to dress? Or simply how to be presentable?
It seems there are two mindsets when it comes to this particular issue.
1. They (the kids) are a representation of your household and should be dressed and groomed adequately for the day.
2. They are the ones who have to live with how they look.
The frustrating part of both of these mentalities is that there is not a lot of wiggle room.
The first mindset tends to be a little stiff. Maybe makes kids feel like they can’t be kids or don’t have control of their own personal style. Even if I tend to lean more towards this mentality I also understand there is a time and place for looking nice and a time and place for “roughing it” I don’t expect my children to go out in their Sunday best when we are going to the grocery store. But I also don’t let them wear jammies when we go out either.
The second mindset tends to be a little too loose (in my opinion). It doesn’t do anything in the way of teaching your kids what works and doesn’t work in regards to fashion…(which yes, I understand isn’t the most important thing) but I feel like it also doesn’t teach them that unfortunately the world we live in is a judgemental one.
When I go to the grocery store in a messy bun, sweat pants, and not a lick of makeup I notice a huge difference in the way people treat me. I notice people hesitate to make eye contact. Some even give me the “wow did you just roll out of bed” look. But when I make even a small effort of putting real pants on and maybe a little mascara, it’s a totally different experience. People are greeting me, asking me if I need any help, making small talk. Is this judgemental? Yes, yes it is. Is it sad? Why yes, I would say so. People are basically telling me that I’m not worth their time. But I understand it’s because when I don’t put any effort into my appearance I’m basically sending the message that I don’t care about myself so therefore why should anyone care about me?
We ended up coming to the agreement that everyone has their different styles. There are obviously things “the kids are wearing” that I’m never going to understand. Just as my parents took a look at the baggy jeans and flannel attire of the 90’s and thought I looked like a slob. Heck, there are high fashion things I see celebrities wearing that make me down right question their sanity. I mean have you seen these (13 Ugliest Shoes) I explained to “F” that I want her to have her own identity. I want her to have her own style. But I also want her to present herself in the best light. Brush your hair, brush your teeth, and make sure your clothes are at least clean and wrinkle free. I guess that’s the most I can expect from my teenager right now. But I won’t stop at least offering up suggestions here and there. Even if that just makes me the old fuddy duddy annoying mom that she already thinks I am.