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, although here he’s the one in cowboy boots.
So why do I allow this?
1. My kids 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?
I want them to have self-confidence. You know what kills self-confidence? Having someone constantly criticize and micro-manage your decisions. We encourage a healthy sense of independence in our boys, and I don’t want to damage that by harping on their choice of outfit.
2. 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.”
Can you tell I have BOYS?!? At any rate, there are so many instances where I just have to say “no,” because it’s in their best interest. So, for me, clothing becomes an easy yes. 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.
3. 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. 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). I want them to know inside and out—that their true worth has nothing to do with their outward appearance, clothing, or possessions.
So, in a nutshell, that’s why I let my boys choose their own clothing, even when it’s not what I would have chosen for them to wear.
And, before someone says, “I can’t believe you let your boys wear inappropriate/stained/ill-fitting/dirty clothes,” I will add a few exceptions. We don’t buy clothing that we deem inappropriate, so that’s not an option for them. We also occasionally choose their clothing for a special event, and we don’t let them wear clothes that are already dirty. Yes, that has come up! My 3-year-old would probably wear the same shirt for a week if we let him, 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?