Fashionably Stubborn


Today was crazy sock day at my son’s school. He used one sock each from two pairs of my husband’s more colorful dress socks, cut holes in them, and wove different crayons through each.

I did what I have learned to do when he is in creation mode – stay out of the way. This kid gets a vision, knows what he wants to create, and finds a way to make it happen.

With this vision also comes a level of stubbornness. Once he is determined, there is no stopping him.

Before the temperatures even hit below 70 degrees this fall, the battle of the pants was already brewing. My son was very stern about the fact that he was not going to be wearing pants to school this winter, no matter how cold it got. Last year, we let it slide a bit and then regretted it when he was outside waiting for the bus, wearing shorts in 30-degree weather with snow on the ground, clearly freezing but sticking to his guns.

This year, I tried to get ahead of it by declaring an under-40-degree rule. He had to wear pants if it was under 40 degrees at 8 a.m. when we were going out for the bus. We went back and forth about it, and I ordered a bunch of different styles of pants, hoping to find a style he loved with little success.

Finally, we reached a compromise – athletic tights and shorts! He felt heard and liked the look, and all I cared about was that his legs were covered, so we were both happy.

I felt relieved but also wondered why this must be so hard. Why can’t he conform and wear regular pants like every other kid we know? Why is he so stubborn?

Then, I was driving one day, and it hit me. It was one of those moments when I had to look in the mirror.

When I was four, my mom had me select my outfits the night before preschool because I insisted on choosing my own and would take more time doing it than the morning allowed.

When I was the Christmas Fairy in my fifth grade play I had a very specific vision of the white leotard and full crinoline skirt I wanted to wear and my mom brought me to the fabric store, and with her sewing machine, brought my vision to life.

Even now when I walk into a store and a salesperson asks if they can assist me I quickly and politely decline because I need no help deciding what I like and what I don’t.

You will never hear me ask someone what I should wear or which shoe works best with this dress because I already know inside.

And just as I was given that grace by my parents, who let me choose and gave me the freedom to create and express my own style, I too can extend this to my son, as exhausting as it may be at times.

There is nothing more I want for my kids than to be their most authentic selves, keep that inner knowing about who they are and what they like, and not be afraid to express it, even if it means standing out.

Authenticity is always in style.

So, next time I feel frustrated or exhausted with a certain trait of my child’s, I know it might be time to look in the mirror and not just check out my outfit.


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