“I look UGLY! I don’t even match!”, my nine-year old daughter hurls at me as she mopes to the bus this windy, rainy morning.
“Stop it! You look fine. Now GO have a good day!”, I say back to her.
She stomps off, her six-year old brother splashing ahead of her, oblivious to the pre-pre-teen drama that is RAIN BOOTS.
Remember those days? When your mom would make you wear obviously hideous rain boots (because, really, any rain boot is a hideous rain boot) and jacket on a rainy day? Or…wait for it…SNOW PANTS and a HAT forgodssake in -40°C blizzard conditions?!! The nerve! What was she thinking?
Well, if I had to guess, as a mom, she was probably thinking the same things I was today:
- that it’s raining and I don’t want you to get your feet wet or catch cold as a result;
- that I bought the ‘cool’ rain boots and so you’d better wear them;
- that I don’t want you to ruin your ‘cool’ running shoes in the rain and mud;
- that my mom made me do it and now so do you;
- that none of that even matters because I’m the mom and I said so.
That’s right. ‘Cause I said so. (Oh, puh-leeze, like you haven’t pulled out that one-liner before.)
That being said I still grapple with the idea that maybe I’m stuck in the past. I like to think that I’m a modern gal and down with times, yet I find myself making a lot of the same decisions for my children as my mom did for us. And, whoa, how did that happen because obviously I am way cooler than she was. And while I know I am making sound judgements, I can’t help thinking that the reactions I had as a teenager are surfacing at a much younger age with my daughter. I totally knew these battles were coming, I just thought I had a few more years to prepare.
My daughter, this bright, confident girl, constantly throws me for a loop. While on the one hand she is content to crust in the same yoga pants and t-shirt for three days in a row, she will spaz out if her sweater and socks don’t match. I am thankful she has not (yet) caught on to name brand labels but, by the same token, she has a meltdown when her footwear doesn’t match her outfit. Well, gee, I’m sorry, Imelda, but you don’t get a different pair of shoes for each day of the week! And though she has not come right out and said the shoesbootsjacket are not ‘cool’ she has said, “But how come I’m the only one that has to…?”
I sympathize with her. I really do. I totally remember those feelings of desperately wanting to go with the flow. So, do I step out of the past and let her decide what is appropriate outdoor wear just as I always wished my mom had allowed me to do? Or do I tell her to suck it up? Because, after all, she’s still only a child of nine. Or maybe none of that even matters because, after all, I’m the mom and I said so.