The staple in my 8-year-old daughter’s wardrobe is a graphic tee, accompanied by basketball shorts and tennis shoes, naturally. She doesn’t care for dresses, bows or even wearing her hair down.
She has a very distinct vision when it comes to what she feels like is “her.”
My vision for her is very different.
I would love to see her in everything she grumbles about. A dress that spins when she twirls, a bow that sits at the top of her bouncy pony tail, shoes that have straps and buckles instead of Nike swooshes.
That’s what I grew up willingly, and happily, wearing.
My daughter isn’t me though. She’s also not a tomboy or a girly girl. She’s just her.
Recently, I was looking back at a photo in which she was wearing an outfit that wasn’t something she would have chosen for herself. Yes, it was a dress…with a sweater. You could tell that she looked uncomfortable.
If we think about ourselves as women, we want to feel good about what we’re wearing whatever it is. It can even affect our mood, at least it does me.
I want to dress my daughter in so many things, but I also want her to feel good about what she’s wearing.
So rather than forcing her into an outfit or bringing one home that never sees the light of day, we do her shopping together and we talk about it. I will point things out, as does she, and we discuss the options. Usually if the options I present fit her requirements, I can apply some gentle guidance. Sometimes the guidance isn’t quite as gentle, though, because I draw a line at shirts featuring SpongeBob SquarePants or with sayings like “I eat awesomeness for breakfast.”
The collaborative shopping works well for us because it gives her a sense of freedom while working within the guidelines of what I’ve defined for her as appropriate clothing. I’ve accepted that at this point in her life, she isn’t going to get excited about jumping into a dress.
And that’s okay.
Maybe that will change one day, maybe it won’t. If I’m happy about what she’s wearing, and she’s happy about what she’s wearing, it’s win-win.