Monday, 21 July 2014

It's all in the socks

My name is Catherine and my children don't wear matching socks.

There I have said it.

This is mostly because I am too lazy to match their socks. Life is too short. This is my excuse and I am sticking to it. This does not affect my life, but it does surprise me that other people find this so traumatising.

I am not against matching socks. My socks always match. I  don't like wearing mismatching socks, they feel funny. But if the girls can't be bothered wearing matching socks, that is their choice. Unless it is ANZAC Day (or other important Guide occasion), or school photo day then I do insist on them. Ok there may be a few other times, but I can't think of any at the moment.

This has had some side effects:
  1. They also don't wear matching ear-rings (this is a plus: lost ear-rings don't matter in our house unless they are mine. I get upset);
  2. The Pixie has argued with Guide leaders about whether it meets uniform standards if both socks were white but clearly not matching (it wasn't an important occasion);
  3. When I do want them to wear matching socks I pretty much always have to buy more socks; and
  4. The Pixie once got a 'Shining Star' certificate because it was the first time the teacher had seen her wearing matching socks (she told me afterwards they weren't actually matching but she didn't want to disappoint him).
An occasion where the girls were all randomly wearing matching socks.
They insisted I took a photo.
This post was inspired by an awesome article I read the other day about a Dad's point of view on his son wearing dresses. To me, this is parenting at its finest. He thinks about what he wants to teach his kids, and overcomes his own discomfort about the judgment from people who don't matter anyway. (Some of the comments by readers distressed me from the point of view that we still have so far to go in equal treatment of the sexes, but that is a whole other post).

My girls have dressed themselves, and picked their own clothes, from the time they were tiny. There were rules. It had to be weather appropriate. Some days Mummy got a say so if you wanted that top it meant one of these bottoms and vice versa. Some days what Mummy said wasn't negotiable, but most days they got to pick their own. This meant that when I did want a final say there was very little argument, because it wasn't normally an issue.

Buglet was given two silky nighties for her second birthday. Buglet loved silky things. She was particularly impressed by this present. So impressed that she insisted on wearing one of them pretty much every day over her clothes. Some people were horrified. I still don't get it.

Once Tink decided to dress herself she decided she was going to do it well. Properly meant as many clothes as was deemed appropriate by Tink. She did not consider herself properly dressed unless she was wearing leggings, skirt, t-shirt, dress and a jumper (for example, but always something along those lines). When you are good at something, you should do it to the best of your ability. Tink was about 20 months when she mastered this skill.

A little bit later Tink developed her own theories on what "matched". There was one particular occasion where she was wearing a pink and purple stripy top, black and white stripy leggings, and two different stripy socks. Tink's version was that they clearly went together because they were all stripy.

Tink's school photo from Kindy features her with her hair ribbons undone. I had gone out and bought the girls new ribbons for their school photos. Tink was adamant that they were prettier undone flowing with her pig-tails. That was 9 years ago and I still smile every time I look at that photo. It is a real snap shot of my Tink.

Why does this matter? Honestly, despite what some people think, it doesn't. If it makes you and your family happy, and it isn't hurting anyone, it is the right decision for you. This goes for either point of view.

For me, I think that giving the girls the freedom to express themselves (with some guidance) when they were little, has given them confidence to express themselves now. Even now, I bite my tongue (most times) if they are wearing something that I just don't like. What it has also meant is that if I say they are not to wear something because I think it is inappropriate, they mostly listen. I am a little bit proud of myself for having a 15 year old who accepts my "rules" when it comes to some types of clothing and will get changed if I tell her to. I am more proud of the fact that most of the time they dress appropriately for their age and for the occasion. I am super proud of them for dressing to please themselves and in what makes them comfortable. Confidence in themselves and comfortable with how they look, isn't that what we want for our children?

  1. The big two might actually wear matching socks more often than not now, I haven't noticed for a while.
  2. I am actually wearing one pink and one purple bed sock. I bought a set of two pairs, but I can only find one of each colour. I blame the children.

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