When you are the parent of a toddler, most of your time is spent in the following ways: figuring out when you can manage to clean your house, yourself or both; always having food available for both you and your child – even if that means you just bring food for your child and eat whatever she doesn’t eat; or planning activities that will keep you sane and your toddler entertained. While smelling nice or having a clean house are important, it definitely ranks low in comparison to food or activities.
The other day with a substantial drop in temperature by Texas standards, I decided it would make for a great zoo day. The setting for the activity is not nearly as crucial as the preparation for the day, which is where the fashion comes in. Our prep for the day consists of waking up, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Well…that is what I want the morning routine to consist of. Typically, the morning routine consists of waking up or being woken up by our toddler saying, “Mama, mama. Wake Up. I want to watch tv”; coaxing her into the bathroom to potty, which is no easy undertaking in early morning zombie mode; and then spending way too much time picking out the outfit for the day before I even have a shower. It’s not that she’s super picky about clothes, she just sometimes would prefer to not get dressed, something about tv or wanting to play with her toys that is distracting from task at hand. Sometimes she lets me pick out her outfit, sometimes she lets any one of her hundreds of stuffed animals pick out her outfit and sometimes it is very important that she pick her clothes out all by herself. Exerting their independence is what people call it. If picking out her own clothes is what it takes to get out the door, then I say, let her do it. Of course I would have never imagined or condoned the outfit she chose above. Seriously, horizontal stripes and black and pink checked leggings. I mean, I’m all for pushing the envelope, but something inside me screamed – No, No, No. People are going to think that I dressed her – worst mother of the year award, here I come. Not only do I let my child watch cartoons in the morning just so I can shower, but I dressed her in this crazy outfit. What would fashion stylist around the world think of me? I shudder to think how this will affect my standings.
The even crazier thing is that when we got to the zoo, several moms commented on what a super cute outfit my child was wearing, so chic, total rock star. Oh, really? Come to think of it, it is a pretty darn cute, somewhat bizarre outfit – maybe not to be replicated by her mother, but cute and fitting for her. You’ll be glad to know that I gave credit were credit was due. And that’s when it struck me, clearly this little girl is a fun kiddo and she picked out her clothes that morning because that’s what she wanted to wear. She wasn’t inhibited by any crazy rules that say you can’t mix this with that. Had I even attempted to try to convince my child that this outfit totally goes against all fashion conventions, well let’s say that the activity of the day would have consisted of a very ugly time out that would not have resulted in a fabulous day at the zoo.
Life Lesson #36: You are what you wear. Sometimes you have to stop listening to convention and listen to yourself when you pick out what to wear. Wear what makes you happy. Most likely if you are happy with yourself, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing stripes and checkered leggings, others will probably think you are the most stylish person they’ve seen while you splash through water with a happy smile on your face.