About three weeks ago I did something revolutionary. Something so far out of my comfort zone I still get the sweats when I have to deal with it. Yet, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made...
I quit the fashion police.
Three weeks ago, my voice hoarse from yelling at the little humans in my house to get ready for school, I realized that we were fighting over the most bullshit of reasons. We were yelling and crying and throwing jeans in the air, because we couldn't agree on what to wear to school. Lame. One hundred and ten percent LAME.
I stopped and asked myself a few questions:
1 - Will mixing patterns really kill anyone? Will they spread disease? Will they bother anyone else in the world except me, the mother?
2- Do I really care what other parents think of me when my kids wear stained clothes? Will I really be offended if they think we are slobs and never do laundry since my daughter has decided to wear the same t-shirt to school for three days in a row?
3 - Will I be inconvenienced if my daughter wears sweats to school when the forecast says it will be ninety degrees? And conversely, will it bother me if she wears shorts in the rain?
4 - Is anyone dying? Bleeding?
My answers astonished me. No one was bleeding or dying. Mixing patterns was only hurting me. And who the hell cares if the parents at school stare at me. They stare at me all the time, usually because I'm not wearing any makeup and my hair is two days past a wash. I finally realized that fighting about clothes was a mom made disaster. I was creating this shit storm myself. So they want to wear shorts in the rain? Let them. They will learn that lesson the hard way. Caitlin wants to wear stripes and hearts and a leopard print sweater... Let her. I had to let all that InStyle Magazine bullshit I'd been reading for years go. Who am I? Not Anna Wintour. Will the school call if Mackenzie is wearing that same faded dress she just can't quit? No. They could give a shit. So why do I?
I care because I really thought I was going to be the editor of Vogue when I became an adult. I had big plans to move to New York and be a fashion designer slash fashion magazine editor. I have been following trends since I noticed Mr. Blackwell's list in People Magazine when I was seven. Ask my mother and she will tell you that I had to have a white plush robe at age nine after I saw Sally wearing one in When Harry Met Sally. Then I asked for espadrilles for my twelfth birthday after I saw Princess Diana wearing them in an US Weekly. So as I've become an adult, I've favored the latest fashions. You can't tell now, since I've become a mom a lot of the fashionable stuff has gone out the window, but back in the day? I used every single penny to buy clothes.
That's why I have the hardest time when the girls "don't match". When they wear colors that don't compliment. When they mix patterns, my anxiety gets the best of me. When they can't figure out what to wear on their own, but then refuse what I pick, I lose my mind. Then our morning turns upside down when everyone yells and cries and any ability to "even" is lost.
So three weeks ago, I threw my hands in the air and said, "wear whatever you want, as long as your butt is covered". I forced myself to bite my tongue and look the other way. Sweats were worn with sandals. Shorts and long sleeved shirts with kitten heeled slingbacks. Knee high socks and shorts with over sized sweatshirts. Faded shirts with faded leggings and Ugg style boots in eighty degrees.
But I said nothing. I am still saying nothing. The rule remains, butts and boobies covered. Can it really be that easy? Can I really throw out all I've learned from all those magazines? I have to. Giving up my patrol on the fashion police has made for some really pleasant mornings. We are happier people, and they are happy with their own interpretation of fashion. Fine, good, great! All great artists have to start somewhere, right?
I still have my moments. I still yell, because for some reason we can't get that "covered butt" rule down some days. And we still have the same arguments over shoes and why we can't wear wedge slingbacks on PE day. All that aside, I don't want to be bad cop anymore. Bad cop is no fun. Bad cop goes to work with mascara streaks and stress eats potato chips.
I quit the fashion police. My children are happier, I'm happier, and our mornings are so much brighter. Although that may have something to do with the neon shirts that are being paired with the leopard print shorts.