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Choosing My Parenting Battles

March 2, 2011

Sophie is going through an “I”ll do it myself” attitude with respect to getting dressed and picking her own outfits. It used to be that I’d lay out her clothes each night and she’d happily put them on the next day; no questions asked.

Well, that’s all changed. She has opinions, and she’s not afraid to express them.

One such opinion came up the other morning when Sophie declared she was wearing her purple snow boots to preschool (with red leggings and a red shirt). Now granted, it’s winter. But it’s also San Diego. No snow. Not even rain that day.

Knowing this was a battle I would surely lose (and not enjoy winning), I decided to compromise. Okay, I told Sophie. You can wear your snow boots to school. But put a regular pair of shoes in your backpack in case you want to change them later. I guess Sophie thought that was a good compromise because she agreed and off she went.

The topic of letting children pick their clothes, thus expressing themselves, has many opinions (which I quickly learned after posting the boot situation on Facebook that morning). My friends posted such great responses and advice on how to handle this type of situation. I really admired my mom friends who proudly admit their children love to don hobbit capes, Cinderella dresses, even jeans instead of pajamas to bed. And why not? They’re only young once, and soon enough, they’ll begin the stages of self-consciousness and start placing limits on their own expression.

One very helpful comment was made by Sophie’s former childcare provider who suggested the following to us moms.

Ask your children what makes them feel safe/confident/happy about wearing snow boots or the same outfit every day … Their answers may surprise you, which may help steer you to other purchases and them to other outfits. Sometimes it’s a color or fit and sometimes it’s because their favorite teacher or friend gave them a compliment when they wore that item before.

So Sophie wore her snow boots to preschool. Her friends loved them, and her feet stayed warm. And most importantly, Sophie felt happy and empowered.

The best part was hearing from Sophie’s teacher that she eventually took the boots off because (and I’m quoting), “It’s too hard to sit crisscross applesauce in snow boots on the carpet.”

I guess she’ll turn out okay after all!


13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2011 10:29 pm

    I see no problem with this outfit. It’s one I might choose for myself. It’s rather trendy . . . I’ll do my thing and you’ll do yours. Just a spoonful of sugar and voila! Self-expression, confidence in mind and body, individual freedom of expression and yada, yada. yada doo. Perfectly clear now?

  2. March 2, 2011 11:28 pm

    Hehehe, I hardly remember when I went through that. But I do remember my little sisters, as my mom tells me I spend a month or two when I wanted to wear my swinsuit all day long, and we didn’t even lived near a pool or the beach for that matter. I just wanted the swinsuit 24/7. ^_^ Those are some pretty boots…

  3. March 3, 2011 5:07 am

    I think Sophie could start a new fashion trend. She’s a beautiful little girl with a wonderful Mom!

  4. March 3, 2011 2:53 pm

    What Abby chooses to wear to school is a battle I never pick. I care about table manners…and how she treats her peers…and how well she listens in school. I don’t care one iota if her shirt doesn’t match her pants. (Age-inappropriate clothing would be a completely different ball of wax.)

    Anyhow, I think Sophie’s boots look adorable on her! (And how smart of you to talk her into packing spare shoes for emergency ‘crisscross applesauce’ moments).

  5. aaspiras permalink
    March 3, 2011 5:40 pm

    Whatever gets {you} out the door in the morning! 😉 Love it!

  6. March 3, 2011 10:46 pm

    I think Sophie will grow up to be a trend setter, rather than a trend follower. 🙂 I actually like her outfit in the photo above! She’s adorable.

    I may not be a mother yet, but I think if a child feels confident from an early age that their decisions are GOOD decisions (i.e. Sophie’s friends complimented her on HER choice of clothes), then it helps set the basis for positive self-esteem moving forward. That’s great she had such a positive experience!


  7. Lena permalink
    March 8, 2011 1:27 pm

    I loved this post! William is in the midst of this stage as well, he turns three in two weeks. I never thought a BOY would care what he wears but every day it’s a battle over shoes or a shirt. For the most part, we try to give him a choice, but limit his options. Same for dinner (do you want “nuggets or pasta.” He has to pick ONE. Sometimes works, sometimes not. 😉

  8. March 23, 2011 2:48 pm

    Love the crisscross applesauce comment! As a teacher, I plan to use that someday soon!

    • leahsinger permalink
      March 23, 2011 8:47 pm

      This evening she told me I had to sit “crisscross applesauce” on the floor in order for her to read to me.

  9. March 26, 2011 1:38 pm

    HA! My 3-year-old is at this point! She needs to pick out her own clothes and dress herself every morning. Her outfits and pjs must meet “princess dress” criteria – have some sort of ruffles or flowers or be flow-y. *sigh* She often wears her snowboots when we don’t have snow, and this isn’t even something I would consider arguing. When she’s worn the same outfit every day, though, I want her to start wearing out some of her OTHER clothes. I try to ignore interesting pairings of stripes polka dots and other patterns.

    • leahsinger permalink
      March 26, 2011 11:09 pm

      Oh yes, every morning is something with the clothes. She wants to wear the same things all the time. All the cute clothes that I let her pick out at Target, not a chance!

  10. September 11, 2011 1:20 pm

    I love this! Green frog rain boots are the shoe of “choice” in our house right now. lol


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