Raising my Children (and how I plan on fixing it…)
It’s started with an innocent comment from me to Ryleigh: “You have grown so much since the fall Lamby!! you need some new sweaters”. Simple statement. Her response floored me. “I would like either a Bench* sweater or maybe a Burton* one…I don’t want to shop at (insert children’s clothing store name here) anymore. It’s not good enough. People will laugh at me”. I swear I almost died. She’s 9. NINE YEARS OLD. My face went pale….it must have cause she noticed. She asked me if I was sick. I was sick. I looked at her outfit and noticed the Aeropostale* sweater she was wearing over her Roxy* Tee shirt…then glanced at her brother wearing a DC* hoodie over his Levi* jeans and FILA* teeshirt…and realized I broke my kids. I played into the game the a said from the start I wouldn’t play into. “If it’s not brand name: it’s not good enough”.
I always made/make an effort to be sure that my kids are well dressed….comfortable with the clothes they wear to school. I have always allowed their input (within reason) on the clothes we buy them and let them pick out their own clothes for school so that they were wearing what fit their own unique style (the results when they were younger were sometimes hilarious but gave them confidence in their choices…yay me!). Sure sometimes the things they wanted were brand name and I was alright with that because the fact is in some cases brand name stuff does last longer. My mistake is this: More and more I used that fact to rationalize my purchases. If I buy this *Brand Name* coat for her it will last for a few years. If I buy these *Brand Name* shoes for him they will last longer. And since I am already at the *Brand Name* store…wouldn’t it just make more sense to buy all of their clothes here?? They sure didn’t have a problem with that. I totally just asked them if their friends ever comment on their clothes and they both just told me the same thing…my friends tell me I am lucky cause their Moms just buy them whatever will fit! Shit..I have turned my children into *Brand Name* junkies without even meaning to.
So…am I going to fix it?? You bet your $60.00 pair of jeans I will! (And here is where I will come off sounding selfish too!) I sometimes (very rarely) wear *Brand Name* clothing. I will most likely not stop buying *Brand Name* clothing and shoes for myself. Why? Because…when I buy a pair of shoes they bloody well last me for 5 years. I don’t grow out of my clothes. I don’t wear out my clothes. I am however, not a walking billboard for *Brand Name* clothing. I don’t buy sweaters and tee-shirts specifically because they have a logo in the front screaming at everyone “HEY!!! I SPENT $90.00 ON THIS SWEATER Y’ALL!” I do not however, have an issue spending that amount on an item of clothing if I know it’s not going to fall apart after a few washes and it’s something I will wear often. And when it comes to shoes (I work a job that requires me to be on my feel for 9+ hours a day) I will not cheap out on good shoes…I need my feet and back to be happy! More often than not though my clothing is coming from the *No-Name Brand* store and more often than not….those clothes last just as long and I have always had issues spending money on me. I don’t think that is something thats going to change anytime soon!
My children however both grow out of and wear out their clothing still. Truth be told, I have never had an issue spending money on them…I have never once probably even thought about the amount I spend on their “stuff” (not that they have ever complained). Now, I meant what said before that certain clothing items *Brand Name* is best: winter coats and shoes/boots especially (I am all about them being warm and having proper supportive foot wear).But when it comes to the rest…it really doesn’t matter much does it? The answer is absolutely NOT. It doesn’t matter. I doubt they would have ever even noticed if I avoided *Brand Name* clothing their whole lives. I am so sad that in her little mind Ryleigh thinks that it does. I hope that her though process isn’t that way because of an error on my part. It’s certainly not because she has seem that behaviour from us. (I literally just checked all of our grown up clothes and there are very few “logo” sweaters and tee shirts in our wardrobes). I am going to try very hard going forward to not allow them (Ryleigh especially) to feel that the name on the tag of their clothing somehow defines their worth in this world. I need my kids to understand quality makes the difference not the price. I need my kids to know that the tag on their sweater or pair of jeans does not make them better. The amount we spend on their clothes doesn’t somehow equal what we or others think of them. That if someone thinks less of them because they aren’t wearing something from *Brand Name Clothing Co.* there is something wrong with that person deep down inside that a brand name tag can’t fix. I don’t want my kids to feel the need to be the billboard for *Brand Name Clothing Co.*”. I don’t want my kids response to someone saying I like your shirt! to be :”Thanks…it’s *Brand Name*” or even worse “Thanks! It’s cost $XX.XX”! (unless that amount is $9.99!! What a DEAL!) I have made a mistake and let my kids become walking talking advertisements for *Brand Name Clothing Co.” and I have to do my best to stop it. Does this mean I am going to never buy them anything from *Brand Name Clothing Co.* again? Of course not. It just means that from now on we are going to be far more choosey about the things we buy and there will be many more discussions on my part as to the reasons WHY I should buy certain item for them that will most likely end in me saying “If you want it…save your money up for it!” (which happens to be the response I would have gotten as a kid.
*Brand Name Company please don’t sue me…I am just trying to make a point!