Many years ago, when I only had one child, I found myself fretting over my two-year-old daughter’s outfit. It was time to head out the door to church but I was still digging in her sock drawer trying to find bright white tights to match her bright white hair bow.
Unfortunately, after digging through the entire drawer of hand-me-down stockings, I was left wanting. Sure, I could find cream tights, ivory tights, off white tights, and eggshell tights but that is not what I wanted. I wanted my daughter’s outfit to be absolutely perfect and that meant her tights had to be bright white.
Money was tight and time was even tighter so there would be no way I could run to the store to grab an appropriate pair to complete her ensemble. Begrudgingly, I loaded up my mismatched child and headed to church, hoping nobody would mention her outfit’s imperfection.
Today I think back to that memory and I don’t even know that mother.
Now mismatched tights and hair accessories are the least of my worries.
Today my kids dress themselves, clearly.
We are the recipients of some pretty generous hand-me-downs. I lovingly arrange these nice clothes into storage totes labeled with the appropriate gender and size. When the time is right, I make sure these name-brand goodies make it into the right kid’s closet.
I do laundry every week and I weed out any ill sized or worn clothing. When I need to, I buy pieces to fill the gaps in my children’s wardrobes.
And that is where my influence ends.
My kids take those clean quality clothes and they put them together however they choose. Polka dots with stripes, bright orange sweatshirts with turquoise leggings, knee socks over jeans – anything goes. And everything goes.
Because I don’t care anymore.
I have so many other things I need to process and worry about in motherhood. I need the brain space that was once reserved for micromanaging my kid’s clothing choices freed up. I need my kids to get ready independently because my mornings are full enough. I need to let somethings go in favor of my sanity.
And clearly, my kids enjoy the freedom. My oldest – apparently unfazed by the bright white tight incident – lives in sweat pants and ironic t-shirts. My son picks all of his clothes based on his current obsession. “Look mom, I’m dressed all in red, just like the surface of Mars!”
But nobody enjoys dressing herself more than my youngest daughter. She has no fear in fashion and puts together combinations that are legendary. Pair this with the fact that she wears a panda ear headband with everything she owns and you get a one-of-a-kind look.
Of course, the baby still wears what I want when I dress him. I insist that the kids let me control their clothing when we take family pictures or have a big event. That is it though. The rest of the time my kids dress themselves.
When I see a family full of children who are all dressed perfectly, with everything new and matching, I smile and note how cute they are. I’m impressed with their style and attention to detail.
Still, I’m ok with my family’s look and the choices we have made. Clearly, it works for us.