Thursday, April 14, 2016

Don't Blame Me, She Dresses Herself

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know this, but I have a child who insists on dressing herself. She goes out wearing all manner of crazy patterns and combinations of dresses over skirts over pants over more dresses. She wears mis-matched socks. With sandals. Or snow boots with a too-big tank top. Hats. Sunglasses. Scarves. It all goes on. And out the door she goes.

And somehow she totally owns it.

So why do I do this? Why do I allow myself to be seen with a child wearing a backwards snow suit in summertime?

Well, because I kind of love it. Oh sure, I pretend to act a little embarrassed and give the mom-shrug that says, "kids, eh? what are ya gonna do?" But if I'm honest, it absolutely thrills me that she expresses herself in a such a creative, wacky, out-there sort of way. We have a mantra that we say. It goes like this, "I'm the master of my own domain. I'm the captain of my own ship. I march to the beat of my own drum!" I don't know how it all started, but every time she walks out of that bedroom wearing American flag shorts and a pink Avengers tank top with a tutu, it's as if she's shouting it from the rooftops. And it makes my heart smile...

I could very easily tell her to turn right back around and go pull something more sensible out of her closet. I could take control over every aspect of her wardrobe and make sure she is only ever wearing the most Pin-worthy Preschool styles. I could force my personal preference of neutrals over her love of bold colors and mixed patterns. But why? Why not give her control over something in her little life? Why not give her the freedom to be her own person and love what she loves?

See, I subscribe to the idea that maybe we've become a little too involved in our children's lives... we hover. We nitpick. We intervene on their behalf. We call teachers and argue about grades and we fight their battles for them. And yeah, okay, we love them so we just want the best for them but then? Well, then they grow up and move out and turn into adults who can't think for themselves or handle their business. The can't think critically or problem-solve effectively and they spend their adult lives with their eyes darting to all corners of the sky waiting for someone to swoop in and save them.

Moms, let's be people that push our daughters to be themselves. And then maybe... just maybe, if we start our girls off on the right foot, when they leave the safety of our nests, they'll know how to keep their heads above water. They'll know they're the masters of their own domain. The captain of their own ship. And they'll march to the beat of their own drum.

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