You’ll often find my children in oddly matched clothing. And if I see you out somewhere, I might offer a hasty disclaimer, “He dressed himself!” (as if you couldn’t tell). My oldest has been known to wear shorts with socks pulled up to his knees, and cowboy boots. My youngest is a fan of the shorts and snow boots combo. I’ve even been known to show up at Awana with spider-man in tow.
Here is my youngest, sporting the plaid shorts + non-matching shirt and cowboy boots option.
So why do I allow this?
My boys are individuals
They are not an extension of myself, they are their own people. I want them to have confidence in who God created them to be rather than feeling forced to follow the status-quo. Doesn’t God’s word call us to be set apart? Why, then, would I want to teach them that the only right way to be or look is like everyone else? That is a dangerous path to follow. We don’t want them to look like everyone else on the inside, and the outside isn’t that important either. Who decided all the “rules” for fashion anyway?
I want them to have a healthy self-confidence. You know what kills self-confidence? Having someone constantly criticize and micro-manage your decisions.
We are training our boys to be self-sufficient and independent as much as possible. Not so that they will think they can “go it alone” but because we’ve heard of too many adults getting out into the world without being able to do basic things for themselves. Both of my children could independently select clothing and dress themselves at an early age, and have been doing so for years.
This is a huge help to me as a mom who struggles with debilitating chronic illness. Such a big help that I don’t mind if they don’t always match.
Because I want to be a “yes” mom as much as possible
Let’s face it. Parenting requires a lot of micromanaging, a lot of times when I have to step in and overrule their preferences and decisions.
Parenting requires a lot of no’s.
“No, you can’t drink the bathwater.”
“No, you can’t jump off the top bunk.”
“No, you can’t swing from the blind cords.”
“No, we can’t have cake for supper.”
At any rate, there are so many instances where I just have to say “no,” because it’s in their best interest. And there are other times when I have to say “no” because of my limitations and chronic illness. So when I can say yes, I want to as much as possible.
Their choice of clothing is an easy yes. In other words, pick your battles. In the scheme of things, it won’t matter that my son wore snow boots with shorts, except to look back and smile at the cuteness of it. Life is too short to make it an issue.
Because I really do believe it’s what’s inside that matters
To be honest, I’ve spent my whole life trying to match up head knowledge with heart knowledge on this one (and this is the same reason I don’t dye my gray hair). But God’s word says:
“The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
-1 Samuel 16:7b
I desperately want my boys to grasp this message inside and out—both toward themselves and toward others. I want them to know that the girl whose clothes don’t match or aren’t the right brands is just as important to God as the girl who always looks perfectly put together (and vice versa).
While we encourage neatness and require cleanliness, I want them to know inside and out—that their true worth has nothing to do with their outward appearance, clothing, or possessions.
When I tell them this, but then tell them that their clothes have to look “just so” before they can leave the house…aren’t I sending a mixed message?
A Note about Appropriate Attire
And, before someone says, “I can’t believe you let your boys wear inappropriate/stained/ill-fitting/dirty clothes,” I will add a few notes here.
- We don’t buy clothing that we deem inappropriate, so that’s not an option for them.
- We occasionally choose their clothing for a special event, and we have designated “church” clothes that are a bit nicer. They still may not match, but they are collared shirts especially for church.
- We eventually make them take off a particular clothing item for laundering. Yes, that has come up! They each have shirts they would wear everyday for a week if we would let them, but we don’t.
What about you? Do you pick out your children’s clothing, or are they likely to be found in completely random mismatched outfits every now and then?