The “Joys” of Mother-Daughter Shoe Shopping

There are certain mother-daughter activities that many of us moms think will be filled with bliss. Shopping is one of those activities. More specifically, shoe shopping. Well let me be the first to tell you that shoe shopping is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.

A few weeks ago, I took Sophie to a local store to find a few new pairs of summer shoes. Armed with my 15%-off coupon, we made our way to the children’s shoe section where I expected to find a variety of summer sandals, croc-like shoes, and flip flops. What I did NOT expect was the over-abundance of expensive light-up sneakers and sparkly strappy heeled shoes. Sophie’s a 3-year-old preschooler, not a finalist for a children’s beauty pageant.

I decided to concentrate on the few pairs of decent, sensible shoes I identified. I even went so far as to show Sophie the Disney princess and Dora walking shoes. But Sophie would have nothing to do with them. All she wanted were items that flashed, played music, or were entirely too big or too small for her.

Now before I go further, let me say I try very hard not to impose my clothing (or shoe) preferences on Sophie. I may think something looks hideous. But if it’s weather appropriate and okay for school, I usually let her go with it. But I draw the line when it comes to Lolita-style shoes for 3-year-old girls. And I can’t afford to spend a fortune on a shoe that lights up, even with a discount coupon.

After trying shoe after shoe, the shopping expedition was going downhill fast. I was getting annoyed; Sophie was irritated; and other patrons couldn’t even walk past us because of the endless shoes cluttering the aisle. At one point, I actually threw a shoe in frustration (not at Sophie). We left the store empty-handed and feeling anything BUT blissful.

After a few deep breaths and reflection, I did learn something from the shoe-shopping fiasco. And that is this: I should have given Sophie parameters in which she could help choose the shoes. Of course, I should have also pre-screened the shoes.

Armed with this realization, I put this into practice at Target where we attempted summer shoe shopping again. (And by the way, Target had a much better and sensible shoe selection.) I told Sophie she could pick any shoe that had a 9 on it (for her size 9). That did it! She was excited and empowered, and it became like a game to her (to find the 9). It also assured me she would try on only the shoes that fit her.

We left Target with two new pairs of summer shoes. Do you know what Sophie settled on? A pair of white sandals and pink crocs – identical to what she has now … but in a size 9. Now that was a successful shoe shopping experience.

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