What Not to Wear or When Not to Care

One of the first things I did after hearing “It’s a girl” was to go shopping for clothes, of course! Being a girl mom often means having to stop yourself from buying ALL. THE. THINGS. And there are so many fabulous things. Living in the South only amplifies the need desire to have a picture perfect, smocked and bonneted little girl. But at some point in the terrific 2s, many of those sweet little girls develop opinions and want to pick their own clothes.  At which point we moms have a decision to make: Set the standard from the start that mom picks the clothes or make like Elsa and “let it go”.

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I decided early that this was a battle I didn’t have the energy to pick.  Our mornings are hectic enough without the added stress of trying to rationalize to a preschooler that just because the shirt and pants are both pink doesn’t mean they coordinate. My daughter has always been incredibly determined and strong-willed.  If she puts her mind to something, it takes an act of Congress to get her to change it.  So, I don’t.

Of course, easier mornings aren’t the only reason for letting Etta Mae make her own wardrobe decisions. I’ve always been a fan of parenting styles that favor giving kids autonomy over as many areas of their own lives as possible. She may be little, but she’s a person with feelings and opinions. Letting her dress herself is an easy way to show her that I respect her decisions.  It supports her individuality, creativity and independence. Some days, it teaches her that her mother might know a thing or two when she suggests wearing socks in the winter.

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Don’t get me wrong.  There are days when I wish she would just take a suggestion.  Days when I wish she would wear that precious outfit I picked without putting up a fight. Days when we’re going somewhere nice and I hope she’ll be a proper Southern girl. But it’s those days when I also admire her and pray she’ll hold onto that innocence as long as possible. She’s still too young to realize that she lives in a world that judges us based on our clothes and our bodies more than our hearts and minds. It’s those days that I realize that she’s actually teaching me that beauty is about much more than than wearing boutique brands with matching bows.

So if you see me at Target with a Disney princess or a super hero or a ballerina in rain boots, don’t pity me. Smile and wave and tell that little girl that she’s perfect just the way she is.

Ashley grew up in Joplin, Missouri and attended the University of Arkansas where she earned a degree in Finance and Insurance. She met her husband, Jason, in Fayetteville and they have one daughter, Etta Mae. They moved to Baton Rouge in 2013 for Jason's job with the LSU Tigers. Ashley is an extroverted introvert who loves Ted Talks, following politics on Twitter, and figuring out how to get the best deals on everything without paying shipping. If it were up to her, she would get paid to read books and take every college class so that she could learn everything about everything, but instead she pays the bills by working in recruiting for a multinational tech company. Ashley is blessed to have a daughter who is at least as stubborn as she is and a husband who is laid back enough to put up with both of them.

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