I read this article on Wealthy Single Mommy about all the things she stopped caring about after she became a single mom. It made me think of the very recent experience of shopping for a homecoming dress with my daughter.
We spent four hours going through all the stores in the mall that had anything resembling a homecoming dress. Many of them looked like the dress Julia Roberts wore at the beginning of Pretty Woman. In the end, she went back to the first dress we found. The reason she didn’t just take it was because it was a “Nightmare Before Christmas” dress that had Jack the Pumpkin King all over it, and she wanted to look for something more neutral.
Something you need to understand is that my daughter loves “Nightmare Before Christmas”. Her boyfriend can sing all the songs to “Nightmare Before Christmas”, but she felt the need to look for a neutral dress. This external pressure to pick a dress that wasn’t specific to something she and her boyfriend loved may have come from me, at first. See, she saw the dress, she loved the dress, and she wanted the dress. Then, I asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to look for something that isn’t covered in Jack?” and she said, “I probably should.”
And so, we went on our four hour long trek through the mall… but she found nothing she liked more. There were a few cute dresses that she liked, but none of them made her face light up or her smile so bright as the dress from Hot Topic. So, we returned to Hot Topic and purchased the least expensive of all the dresses she had looked at and the one that made her grin from ear to ear. This dress, that most parents probably wouldn’t let their daughters wear to homecoming made my daughter’s day. Her boyfriend thought it was so cool, and she was the only one at homecoming wearing that dress.
As a mom, I want the best for my kids. I want them to know no heartache, no failure, and no negative reactions to anything they do, ever. Consequently, sometimes I cause my kids to doubt themselves when they shouldn’t. I know to pick my battles when it comes to fighting my kids decisions on things, but I sometimes forget to hold my tongue when my kids make decisions that would make them very happy but I think might get them mocked.
But my daughter has the most amazing reaction to people who want to say something negative about how she looks or chooses to dress. She’s what most people consider goth. She wears black lipstick, black eyeliner, and dyes her hair black. She also makes straight A’s and has three honors classes. She’s going to be able to do whatever she wants to do with her life, and I need to stop trying to protect her from those who would talk smack, because one of the most beautiful things about my kid is her ability to let all that negativity just slide off her back and she learned that skill from all the smack talk she’s had to deal with in the past.
It’s a whole lot easier for a kid to stand up for their own decision than for that of their parents.