My daughter has always had an opinion on what she wants to wear. I used to joke that she (and by she, I mean WE) couldn’t leave the house with any less than five pieces of flare. Currently, her almost 7-year-old self is known to wear Christmas socks in August, more hair clips than her wispy blond ponytail can substantially hold and a tiara just because it’s Tuesday. These are all things that come with the territory of allowing my daughter to dress herself. But why wouldn’t I allow my daughter to dress herself?
From the Beginning
By now, I’m used to people commenting on her style choices. Beginning when she was pretty young, my daughter chose to wear dresses most days. Often times these dresses weren’t your regular, run-of-the-mill sundresses. These dresses could have put even a Disney princess to shame. Her kindergarten teacher joked that she and another teacher always wondered what my daughter’s next dress of the day would be. When we were out running errands on the weekends, people would often ask if it was her birthday. My usual response with a smile was, “No, it’s just her normal Saturday attire.” In full disclosure, I will say this. If it’s a holiday, I am definitely not above a candy bribe. Other than that, as long as it’s weather/activity appropriate, almost anything goes.
Your True Self is Your Best Self
The most common comment now is something along the lines of “I just love that you let your daughter dress herself!” In my opinion, the alternative wouldn’t allow her to let her true colors shine. Is there a part of me that would love her to agree to have a perfectly coordinated outfit with a hair accessory to match every day? You bet! But does she have the rest of her life to be analyzing whether or not she’s wearing “too much pink” or if her dress is “too fancy”? Of course! As an adult woman, I am constantly exposed to the pressure society puts on me to look a certain way or to conform to the latest trend or what the masses seem to be doing. Daily life seems to be filled with “too” more often than I’d like to admit. I want my daughter to feel free to be who she is and dressing herself is just one small way she can express this.
Normal is Relative
My daughter recently received an award at her school in which part of the determining factor was that she always has her own unique style and way of doing things. It makes me so sad to think that one day she will likely be swayed to make choices towards what society labels as “normal.” The realistic part of me understands that wanting to fit in is just a part of the growing up process that most of us experience. At the same time, I want her to be the free-spirit that she is for as long as she can. This is one of the reasons I allow my daughter to dress herself. I’m hoping that by supporting her to be brave and bold in her choices now, it will allow her to have confidence in the future. As her mom, I have vowed to do my best to not dull her beautiful sparkle. Even if the world tries with all its might.