My boys recently transferred to a catholic school and are required to wear a uniform so we thought that would make things so much easier. That was not the case. DS2 will only wear “soft” pants so we didn’t pursue the battle and instead found some soft pants that were appropriate. Not that big of a deal. The second he comes home from school he runs to his bedroom and puts on whatever he likes. This has been our compromise.
The real struggle starts when we are going somewhere as a family and I would like them to wear something nice. They both have drawers full of nice clothes that I buy in hopes that one day they will magically want to put on the dress pants and button down shirt that I was so excited to buy (but have been sitting in the bottom of the dresser with the tags still on).
I grew up in the 80s so I know all too well this struggle from a child’s perspective. No one really understood what I was wearing but my parents let me dress how I wanted. I got away with much less in my Madonna- loving days but beyond that my parents were pretty supportive of my wardrobe choices. No, I'm not sharing a picture.
I try to be open-minded. I plead with them to wear it “just this one time”. I have forced it on occasion which lead to everyone being miserable. I thought they would get over it and not notice their clothes when they were having fun. Nope. There was no fun because they hated their clothes. Who knew they would care so much?
And then I thought “Why do I care so much?”
The day I let my kids wear super hero costumes to the grocery store was about the most fun I ever had grocery shopping. DS1 was Batman and DS2 was a combination of Thor and Spiderman (he is extreme in his originality) and they never stopped laughing the whole time. They liked the attention from other shoppers and now they ask if they can wear them every time we go to the grocery store.
DS2 likes to wear two different socks. Annoying as it is that I spend ages trying to locate matching socks when folding laundry, it is a small thing that makes him happy. Even happier if they are seasonal socks (he likes to wear his Christmas socks all year long).
As much as it drives me crazy at times to see my kids look like they got dressed in the dark, it doesn’t fit into my “choose your battles” parenting lifestyle to continue to argue with them.
So we compromise. If we are going someplace nice they have three outfits to choose from. It usually takes a bit of convincing but it helps to let them be a part of the decision. Sometimes they will mix-and-match those outfits and that is usually ok. I don't want to stifle my children's creativity or make them insecure about the way they look, however, I do want them to learn that there is a time and place for everything.
DS2 can wear whatever socks he wants whenever he wants. It makes him happy and it doesn’t really bother me. I actually appreciate his individuality.
Costumes are not just for Halloween. They can wear them whenever they like in the house. Not to parties. Not out for dinner. Not on family outings. Definitely to playdates and the grocery store.
And our final rule is the clothes must fit. DS1 would happily wear his pants that show most of his legs but once they don’t fit they are removed from the rotation.
I will continue to try to get them to dress in nice clothes. Sometimes they take pity on me and oblige and sometimes I don’t win. I will never give up. It makes me feel good to see my handsome little gentlemen looking their best. I guess I will just have to take more pictures when I actually get them into something that I like.
This picture was taken between DS2's bouts of crying because he hates wearing jeans. I'm very glad I chose this battle