My 3 year-old has a very unique sense of style. Her outfit choices very daily. And sometimes hourly. In fact, I don’t even think she knows what she likes.
I mean, of course, she doesn’t know what she likes. She’s 3. Or as I like to call kids at this age, threenagers. They are little people reflecting what they will be like as teenagers. And it’s scary as hell.
Getting her dressed daily is one of the biggest hurdles I have to leap each day. She would prefer to stay in her nightgown all day. And who can blame her? If we aren’t leaving the house, and she’s being indignant, I don’t fight it. If we are leaving the house, I do my best to convince her to get dressed, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’ve let her leave the house in her jammies many, many times. I just can’t fight about everything.
This morning Kate happily put her Belle dress (a yellow dress with Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast on the chest) on as we got dressed to go to church. It was the exact same dress she wore last week, but I didn’t care. She hadn’t dug it out of the hamper (which she does frequently) and it was clean.
Then five minutes before we were getting ready to get in the car, she takes off her dress and insists she wants to wear her “running outfit.” This is an old gymnastics leotard her sister used to wear she recently discovered. She had been randomly putting it on during the day and wearing it to run around the house. Often she changes back after she finishes.
My husband is pleading with her to put her Belle dress back on. I’m encouraging her to compromise. We can put her running outfit on AFTER church because we don’t run at church, silly girl.
But she isn’t having it.
This isn’t a minor set back in her life.
This is her real life drama happening now.
She’s screaming and crying.
She’s stomping her feet.
My husband continues to beg her to change.
I’m looking at the clock realizing we should have left 5 minutes ago.
I kneel down to her level and very lovingly ask her what she wants to wear.
She says her running outfit.
I smile sweetly and explain I know how important this outfit is to her.
I see her soften slightly. I wipe her tears and snot.
I tell her she is a great runner. She agrees again. But we need to put the Belle dress back on for church and as soon as we come home, she can take it off.
We’re now 10 minutes behind schedule.
We’re about to get Apocalyptic Kate and I know if we go there, we’re not going to make it to church.
So I tell my husband to put the running outfit on. He does and then tries to get her into some shorts or a skirt. We begin to teeter on AK level territory. I announce we’re getting in the car as is and it’s time to go.
The hubs and I are defeated.
Kate is elated.
We walk into church and my dad laughs and asks, “what kind of parent lets their child come to church in a bathing suit?!” I explain it’s a leotard. He says I’m mincing words.
But I rolled my eyes and ignored it. Because here’s the deal. A priest once told me, “God doesn’t care what you wear. He only cares that you came.”
So what does my daughter’s outfit choice say about my parenting? Absolutely nothing.
You have to pick your battles. That’s not to say I let her run wild, but you can’t attend every fight you’re invited.
If there are any parents out there who know the struggle we endured today, raise your hand (or a glass!) and know you’re not alone. ✋🏻🍷