16 November 2006

shallow and superficial

The title of my blog post refers to me. Or does it? You be the judge.

Is it wrong that I don't allow my four-year-old to leave the house in sweatpants? I know that kids' fashion is different from adults', and I know that he's more comfortable in sweats than anything else. And lord knows I'm no fashion icon -- c'mon, I'm a feminist: comfortable shoes only, and of course, at the initiation ceremony I had to turn over all of my bras for burning.

And I don't care if he's really fashionable. First, we don't have the money for him to be really fashionable; second, I love the weird mismatched clothing combinations he occasionally comes up with. Maybe I'm just having flashbacks to my own childhood -- I can remember being teased for my clothes as early as the second grade. I guess there's nothing inherent in sweats to provoke teasing. But it's hard enough growing up poor without advertising it to the world by dressing like a hobo.

Okay, writing my thoughts out has helped me come to a definitive conclusion: I'm shallow and superficial. I think I really just don't like the sweats because they reflect poorly on me; like, can't I send my kid out of the house in something other than grubby gray sweatpants? I'm sensing some sort of lesson about parenting here... something about allowing your kids to do harmless things that make them happy even if you don't quite approve, or something like that.

What do you know, I've turned sweatpants into a learning experience!


ren said...

There will be enough people in the world that are petty enough to make him feel bad about the clothes he wears. I'd save my efforts for teaching your kids what's appropriate rather than what's fashionable.

As an aside, I once went to a concert and got an autograph which said, "Reneka, you dress for comfort." Best autograph ever.

So you could be worse.

Anonymous said...

isn't your birthday somewhere around here? i am getting so bad with dates. let me know, for i feel i am a bad friend.

Anonymous said...

I can understand feeling that sweats reflect poorly on you, but if you're just bumming around town or running errands, I don't see a problem. School is different, I think. You want kids to learn that when they go to certain places, they have to wear certain kinds of clothing and dress more presentably than they might if they're going to, say, the park.

Just for the record, I in no way I believe I'm qualified to give advice to parents since I'm not one myself. But speaking from my own experiences, I wouldn't worry too much about the teasing. I remember absolutely loathing my mother when I was in middle school because she wouldn't let me shave my legs yet. I'd get teased about my hairy legs whenever I changed for gym. (We were pretty poor, too, but I think there was such a wealth of things to make fun of me about that classmates didn't focus on my clothes.) Perhaps my mom should have relented, since what I wanted to do wasn't such a big deal and would have saved me from some ridicule. At the same time, I don't know that it's the worst thing in the world for kids to get teased by other kids. In hindsight, what I really wish is not that my parents had let me be "cooler" but that they'd used the way my classmates treated me to teach me to stand up for myself. They actually taught me the opposite (always run from conflict), and that was more harmful than anything. I've had to work hard in adulthood to reverse that lesson.

I guess I'm saying that I have lots of faith in you as a mom. As long as your kids feel valued at home by you and Greg, and learn to value themselves, they will be fine. We're *all* shallow and superficial sometimes, but you have character in spades, and so will your kids because of that.

So that's what I originally intended to say, and then another comment here reminded me that I forgot your birthday! Ack! I thought of it earlier in November and vowed to remember, but didn't. I'm such an ass! So, happy belated 25th birthday, my dear. Hope you had both a wonderful birthday and a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday. Much love!


Tramu said...

This is a great post. Sweats are ugly. Of course your little guy is comfy in them, they're sweats! I say a healthy discretion in clothing taste is not superficial. Men simply don't know how to dress and if you don't start young, heck! They'll be wearing sweats when they're 29 and my husband!

I chose some pretty wacky outfits when I was younger, and I'm happy my mom wouldn't let me out the door looking like a thow-back 80s rock star!