If you have ever seen me out on the town with my kids, you might have done a double take. And not in a good way. More of a ‘What the heck is that kid wearing?’ kind of way.
I will most likely have a 7 and 4-year-old tagging behind me that have made some questionable clothing choices.
But do you want to hear a secret that helps me maintain my sanity and saves a lot of time?
I let my kids pick out their own clothes.
I know, this is quite a point of contention with some people. They don’t understand how I can stand it. How can I let my children out of the door wearing a red shirt and orange shorts? Why do I let them wear rain boots year-round? Doesn’t it drive me insane to see them mismatched?
Yes, yes it does. Sometimes I do want to yell at them to put on a shirt that matches or something that looks a little nicer. It has taken quite a bit of tongue biting.
But let’s be real here. My kids are going to preschool and first grade and the park and their grandparents and maybe the grocery store. If they get lucky, we might hit up the drive-thru at Dairy Queen because the line at McDonald’s is always too long.
So why do I let them pick out their own clothes?
Because it’s something they can have control over. They are so little in this big world, and they don’t get to make many choices. It’s a small way that they can express themselves. And if I’m going to battle with them over something, it’s going to be about something more important than rain boots in August.
We ask so much of them. Especially over the past year and a half. We have had no control over what is going on in our lives. And our kiddos have had even less control.
No, I don’t think children should have control over everything in their lives. I think that important decisions should be made by adults. But I have also decided that what my child wears every day to school or soccer practice isn’t a decision worth arguing over.
Disclaimer: I do make them wear nice clothes to church and special events. It’s now much easier to get them in dress clothes because I rarely force them to wear anything specific.
When you give a little, you can take a little. I give them the freedom to pick out their own clothes, and they are less likely to argue with me over something more important.
Now this is not something that I was immediately OK with. I was actually 100% against it. I thought it was ridiculous and stupid. I wanted my sweet boys to look one way. And that was my way. And my way did not include graphic tees with their favorite cartoon characters.
This ah-ha moment came to me after my oldest voiced to me he didn’t want to get a haircut. He wanted to let his hair grow out. When we talked about it, my husband thought we should let him grow it out. What would it hurt after all? After thinking about it for a very long time, I agreed. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. We let Henry grow his hair out, it looked adorable, and he loved it. I loved it too.
That’s when I realized that arguing about the little things wasn’t important. That starting the day on a peaceful, positive note was far better than arguing with one of the boys about wearing socks that coordinated with his outfit. Mornings go a lot smoother now and getting them out of the door and to school is much easier. Because sometimes, wearing your favorite dinosaur t-shirt three days a week makes you pretty happy. Don’t worry, I do wash it.
Maybe letting your kids dress themselves is not your jam, and that is OK. But it’s what works for me and my family at this point in our lives.
Also, the next time you see me and the kids in Target, know that deep down in my soul, I don’t want to be buying graphic tees with cartoon characters on them.