Do y’all remember when you used to be really concerned about what other people think of your appearance?
You still are? Dang. I knew I was doing something wrong. I mean, I care a little. Just not enough to actually do a lot about it.
Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to be a little more sympathetic to that need in the near future as Lu is getting ever closer to the adolescent years. We got a little sneak peak of the pre-teen life when preparing for Halloween.
While I think you could guess that I am not a Pinterest mom ( I call Pinterest “the devil’s website”), I do go all crafty clever mom for Halloween. Since Bug could walk, we have had handmade, coordinating costumes- all five of us! Hubby and I are part of the 1%. Not rich people, but parents who actually dress up with our children.
Our first themed Halloween was five years ago, when at Lu’s request, we were a family of “ghost-es.” Since then, we have been pirates (with infant Dude as our parrot), The Wizard of Oz and superhero kids with villain parents. This year’s theme is the animals from the movie “Madagascar”.
Lu chose to be the newspaper-reading monkey with a British accent (she has the best British accent of any 9-year-old, hands down.) She has been very excited about this costume for at least a month, and has been watching the movie and practicing her accent. (“Well of course we’re going to throw poo at him!”)
When the time came to put on costumes for our church’s fall festival on Sunday, she refused to get dressed, saying she was worried that people would make fun of her costume because she “looks silly.”
Being the loving and caring parent that I am, I responded with “That’s the entire point of Halloween! Put on the costume and let’s go!” Apparently the delicate pre-adolescent psyche requires a little more compassion?
I finally asked her why she changed her tune — did someone say something that morning at church? Nope. She was just feeling a little insecure about the costume, probably because all of her peers are dressing up in “cooler” costumes, whatever that means.
I am sure that I was very concerned about what other kids thought of me at her age, but it has been so many years that I’m having a hard time putting myself in her shoes. Even when I was 24 and cute and all my peers were dressing as sexy-something-or-others, I put on glasses, men’s clothing seven sizes too big and carried a sandwich around. I was Jared from Subway (before the creepy pervert stuff came out.) Looking silly is clearly the last of my concerns, especially on Halloween.
So now I enter the dreaded frontier of children who care very much about fitting in and being liked, when I have reached the height of ambivalence about it. I may need some sort of hypnotherapy to help me be understanding of the need for conformity, while still letting my precious little individuals know that they are amazing and unique.
What I want people to notice about me is that I’m kind and smart and funny, not that I can go buy the same outfit that all the cool moms wear (I’m looking at you, $100 workout pants.) If you are into fashion and that’s your thing, rock on, sister — you’re beautiful. But I really could not care less, and I feel pretty good in my $7.49 Old Navy clearance pants.
If my kids are into fashion because that’s their expression of who they are, then I am ON. BOARD. I hope they have the confidence to shop and dress in ways that make them feel happy and beautiful. I hope their sweet, one-of-a-kind personalities show through anything they put on their bodies.
But if I have to buy expensive and ridiculous clothes (have y’all seen some of the stuff kids are wearing?!?!) just so they fit in, I’m gonna need some coaching and possibly a personality transplant.
Overheard at the Salon: “Why are her pants that big? She could fit three more butts in there!”