Chicago mom: Winning the daily clothes battle with toddlers

I am a closet fashionista. I don’t have the funds (or closet space) to be a true fashionista. So I play one on Pinterest and I fantasize about walk-in closets the size of my bedroom.

When I had my first girl I was excited to have someone to dress, to ooh and ahh over. I dreamed of the day she would be old enough to play with fashion plates like I did growing up. I was not prepared for her to develop such a strong opinion of what she would/wouldn’t wear at the mere age of 9 months.

We had taken her to the kiddie shoe store to get her pre-walkers. She was pulling up and cruising so we knew walking was imminent. After getting measured we learned they didn’t have any of the shoes we wanted in her size. On the sales rack I noticed some cute brown gym shoes. They were obviously boy’s shoes but they were the right size and, like I said, they were cute. I would wear them.

We put one on her foot. She started fussing and fighting. She got away and crawled over to her pink Robeez and started banging them on her foot. She was furiously trying to get that pink shoe on her foot.

Fast forward four years to daughter number two. She was more agreeable about clothes and, as long as she can move (no jeans mom!), she is a happy clam. In the shoe department, however, she is apparently just as particular as her sister. One time a friend brought us a bag of hand-me-down shoes from her daughter, including the most adorable pair of pink TOMs.

For days she would crawl around carrying that shoe.

From their babyhood affection for shoes I thought we were clearly raising future fashioniatas. I was looking forward to the day we would all be wearing the same size shoes and shopping in each other’s closets. Sadly, I think my child’s fashion sense stayed in the crib.

My 3-year-old only wants to wear dresses and/or tutus. We have near daily meltdowns when the weather or activities necessitate that she wear something else. My oldest, on the other hand, has an affinity for jeggings and leggings and longs for tummy-baring shirts (that she’s not allowed to wear). Frequent morning battles with her require reviewing the lesson – tights are not pants and if you wear leggings as pants your shirt should cover your butt.

While I sound less than amused I must admit that the daily display of what they will, or won’t, be wearing is one of my favorite parts of the day. If it’s not a school or church day, as long as it’s appropriate and all the important parts are covered, I let the 3-year-old wear what she wants. It’s always fun to see what she will pair with an American Flag skirt (a tied dyed T-shirt) or what season she will dress for (whatever one it’s not). When my oldest one shows up in the kitchen in shiny metallic pants, a sequin tank and a navy and orange (Go Bears!) tutu, I will gently suggest we try changing out one of the clashing (the pants) items.

I grew up with a mom that constantly wanted me to change my clothes. I was always hearing “what will they think of me when they see you looking like that!” While it makes my husband crazy sometimes, I don’t want to be that mom. I choose to pick my battles over more important things (tights are not pants, midriffs are not appropriate ever). I assume most people will look at me (either in workout gear or relatively put together) and figure either I can’t dress them or they dress themselves. Either way, who cares? It’s just clothes and if mismatched socks and tutus make them happy, so be it.

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