The other day after we finished school I decided to treat the kids to a trip to Trader Joes. I had to make the trip anyway, and the kids seemed to be a bit stir crazy. I also, apparently, wasn’t thinking too clearly about just how horrible it is to shop with my kids.
Either way, I told them all to get dressed appropriately for going out in the winter-like temperatures and off they scattered into their rooms.
Oona came back downstairs first, wearing a hodge-podge of colors and clothing: a maroon floral knit dress (short sleeved) over a pair of jeans, with 2 unmatched socks and a pink handknit sweater. The crowning touch? Her bright turquoise glittered Toms shoes.
This outfit, coupled with her unwashed, pink hair was…..interesting.
Neve came down second in a white billowy sundress with spaghetti straps.
I sent her back to the drawing board, hearing her shout all the way that she has no sweaters (I assure you, as a mother, as a former upstate New Yorker, and as a knitter, that kid has all the warm clothes she could ever need).
Emily came down in black skinny jeans with one ripped knee, a button-down shirt, a way-too-big tan trench coat, high heel shoes and a green wig that covered her face.
I said no to the trench coat and the heels. She swapped them for boots and a velvet coat and knit scarf.
Well……she tried, I guess.
Neve ended up with black leggings that she has worn every day for at least a month (I have to sneak them into the wash when she is asleep); I noted they were covered in lint and fur and probably sheep slobber. On top she had a yellow tee shirt. She managed to fins a pink sweater and threw on some black dress shoes.
Her hair was a tangled mess and it took my forever to brush it out. Ten minutes later, it was snarled again.
This is what I took with me into public.
Sorry for the crappy picture – I took it with my phone.
The thing about it is this: as much as I worry about the judgmental stares from people (and yes, I do get them, especially with a 6 year old with pink hair), it’s not a battle that’s really worth fighting.
They need to express themselves, and as long as it’s not inappropriate, they don’t need me freaking out about it. This was another reason we chose homeschool; at these young ages they are trying to figure out who they are as people, and I want their focus to be on their minds and hearts, not their looks. If they are worried about being judged for how they look they are focusing on their outward selves before they have even figured out who they are on the inside. And if my kids are worried, they sure aren’t showing it.
I’d call it my parenting win for the week.