Adjusting Expectations


A mom hugging her daughter.For many years, hand-me-downs were BIG in my house. My youngest daughter idolized her older sister, and she could not wait to wear her clothes and pajamas.  

However, that ended just after kindergarten began, and my youngest realized maybe these short, often tight, brightly colored clothes were not for her. She was discovering her style. She is much more into sports, competing on the playground, and comfort. She quickly began to have a say in how she left the house, what she wore for bed, and her overall style.  

At first, this looked like sporty girls’ clothing. We would scour her sister’s old clothes bins for acceptable items; comfortable, not too short, no dresses or skirts, no ruffles or bows. And absolutely no pink or purple! 

By second grade, we were running low on hand-me-down options. Even her sister’s athletic shorts were uncomfortable for my youngest daughter. She didn’t like how short the shorts were or how tight the leggings were.  

As the self-proclaimed stylist for my household and personal shopper for my children, I realized that I had to shift my ideas about how my daughter dressed. I had to let go of my expectations to ensure my youngest daughter was comfortable and carefree and had the space to embrace her own style.   

So, we headed to the boys’ section. Wow, did the options open up!  

The struggle to find just the right outfit lifted. Basketball shorts, cool t-shirts with shark designs, and loose-fitting sweatpants soon filled our shopping bags.  

I realized that now, my youngest felt like herself. She was comfortable in her clothing and in her skin.

I can’t say I don’t wish that getting “dressed up” sometimes included an actual dress, but, for now, I’m happy if it means a nice pair of athletic pants and a special t-shirt.  

As a mom, this has been a good lesson in the importance of embracing individuality. I’ve learned to accept that my expectations may need to shift on this journey of motherhood and that doing so will instill the confidence that my kids need to accept themselves and others just the way they are. 


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