Friday, November 5, 2010

Tie Dyed in a Mud Puddle

The other day when I was dropping my son off at nursery school I noticed something that I found to be a total contradiction.

A little girl in my son's class had on a light pink winter coat and it was very dirty- there was brown dirt all over it. Then I looked at her mother and she looked very put together and had on brand new looking (and very expensive) Ugg boots. I do not begrudge anyone who has nice clothes and expensive shoes- I love nice clothes and expensive shoes (though you may not be able to tel that by how I dress)- but what was such a contradiction was that the mother obviously put time into her appearance but didn't do the same for her daughter.

Yes, I know how kids can be when it comes to dressing them. My son has days (maybe I should say it's everyday) where he is on board the defiance train and will not do anything I ask until he has a tantrum and I have to put him in his room until he changes his mind. But, with a little (tons and tons and tons) of effort I get him to do what he needs to do, including putting on clean clothing. It is important to me that he learns that he needs to look presentable to the world. I am not saying he wears a three piece suit with a tie when we leave the house- I don't care if you are wearing Walmart clothing or Gap clothing, but what ever you are wearing should be clean and wrinkle free (okay, okay- at least mostly wrinkle free, we all have days where there is no time to iron and the least wrinkled pants will have to do).

When I was growing up we didn't have a lot of money to buy nice clothing but my mom would have no sooner shaved her head than let us leave the house in dirty or wrinkled clothing- we had cheap clothes but my mom took pride in making sure that we still looked nice. We also lived in not super nice rental houses growing up and my mom kept them spotless- just because we were barely making ends meet didn't mean that we had to look dumpy or live in a dump. My husband and I are better off than I was when I was young but those values still resonate with me to this day- though I think my mom did a much better job keeping her house clean...

I also believe that if a parent is going to put time into their appearance that they should do the same for their children. How does it feel right to get yourself all dolled up and to take time to make sure your clothes are clean but then you send your child to school in a dirty coat? You can make time for yourself to make yourself feel good but then say "oh well" and put the dirty coat on your child and expect them to feel good about themselves when they look like they tie dyed their clothing in a mud puddle? It all comes down to showing the same respect to your children that you show to yourself and to not be so selfish with your time that you can't teach them to look as presentable as you do.

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