|I just thought he was hot!
In December I shared my first lesson of parenting – and there are many many lessons to share – but one I’ve dealt with quite extensively in recent years is “Don’t Fight the Fashion Wars.” This lesson came to light recently when a Dad I know and love was dealing with his little lady insisting on wearing her plastic Disney heels everywhere. He wasn’t happy.
My journey down this path started when Lex was three. One day, he decided he wanted to wear his pyjamas ALL the time. To start with I said no mate, time to get dressed. But that determined look I know was all over his little face and so I said, sure, you’re not hurting anyone, why not. His Dad wasn’t as understanding as me initially. The reality is I saw it as Lex expressing his individuality and trying to take control over an aspect of his life – a first conscious step towards independence I’d say. I wasn’t happy about him traipsing around town in his PJs but I decided to respect his decision. Yeah I know, one of those new-age Mums, maybe?
Within a week, Lex no longer wanted to wear his PJs and that particular battle was over. Since then, there are certainly occasions when Lex insists on selecting his outfits, but in the majority of cases he’s happy for me to choose as well – as long as some red is in the mix. He knows his mind and is very conscious of how he looks – a quality I love in both of my boys – but by not reacting too strongly and trying to force our ideas on him, we seemed to have ridden that storm successfully.
Jax is almost four and he too is a fashion conscious little man. The challenge with Jax is he’s not consistent. Lex loves red, Jax likes green and blue and orange and red and pink and well, you name it. As such I have not been able to successfully offer him clothing options he is happy with. This can be extremely frustrating because it adds a lot of time to the getting-out-the-bloody-door process – a process I do not enjoy. The additional challenge with the Jaxmeister is he isn’t just fussy about clothes, he’s also fussy about his underwear and shoes, and if we’re swimming, he’s fussy about what bathing suit to wear. When we’re in a rush, it can be tedious, but again, by not fighting the war and taking the time to make sure he’s happy, it is much more peaceful in the house.
Like I said, I really do like the fact that my boys care about how they look – it’s something I want them to take into adulthood, and the best way to encourage this is to give them the time and patience to choose whatever they want to wear – even if sometimes it looks bloody horrible. But that’s rare.
The best bit – by giving into their need for a little piece of independence, I believe we’re helping them to grow and create some identity at the same time. However, we’re also saving our energy for the times when things really do matter. How they dress is not important and it gives them a victory in their primary growing years. The best bit about the victory? Once they’ve won, they don’t care anymore, so we all win.
It’s worked for me. With that I ask – what fight have you decided to give up on?
Yours, without the bollocks
PS: I ain’t a rabid Twitter user yet, but if you’re interested, you can follow me on Twitter @withoutbollocks