Thursday, January 3, 2013

I probably shouldn't be a mom, part 2

I was thinking about baby clothes. Sure, they're cute. Endless onesies that say clever things that kids don't understand (because they are babies) seem awesome, but let's do some math:

A 5- pack of plain onesies from Gerber is $10.99. Let's say you go through 3 a day (what the fuck do I know about kids?) and you do laundry once a week. That's $44 for a week's worth of clothes. But that little fucker is going to grow.

Let's say 4 packs of newborn clothing ($44), 4 of 0-3 months ($44), 4 of 3-6 months ($44), and 4 for 6-9 months ($44). That's $176 in the first year alone (not including 9-12 months), and that's if you go with bog-standard plain onesies. But people don't. They spend endless money on clothes that the child will wear once or twice. Then they freak out when the kid gets it dirty.

Kids are fuckin' filthy. 

In a previous post, I talked about how I wouldn't buy my kid many toys because they won't end up playing with most of them. And I'm still not kidding. The same goes for clothes, too.

Gender roles aside, buying a little girl a dress that can cost upwards of $70 is completely insane to me. If my little girl wants to look like a princess, that's fine. Let her run around in a tutu or some wings or something. Later on in life, if she "needs" a pair of jeans or shoes that will make her more awesome in her social group, meh. I can't rule out anything except that I cannot make peace with paying money for tons of clothes that the kid is almost immediately going to grow out of.

Sarah commented on the previously mentioned post, saying that her kids will never be cold or hungry, nor will they be bored, because only boring people get bored. Kids are far from boring. They are always wanting to do something fun, something cool, something completely new to them. As adults, we can take for granted the things the kids are seeing for the first time because it's not new to us.

My SIL was talking about her daughter, my niece, D. Apparently D is really interested in bugs and outdoorsy things. From what little time I have been able to spend with her, it seems that she is not interested in being a princess, or crazy clothes, or playing dress-up. I am not saying these things are bad for children. I am only stating that they are learned behaviors. If we tell our kids that material things are the most important things in life, they will continue to think that forever.

Back to clothes, who really looks at a kid's clothing anyway? Yeah, if they are dirty or unkempt, someone is going to notice. Teachers have a keen eye too. If a student shows up in the same shirt (it's easier to tell with shirts for various obvious reasons) constantly, one might be inclined to think that the child's home situation is not ideal, OR, crazily enough, the kid might really like that shirt. We might think, "That kid might not have much to choose from at home" but that's usually our own predetermined assumptions taking hold.

Really though, when it comes down to it, who is to say that lack of a huge wardrobe for a kid is a bad thing? Let's assume the clothes are clean, they fit the child, and they are appropriate to the season and climate. Social protocol dictates that you can and cannot do certain things when it comes to fashion.

We wear pink on Wednesdays.

Recently, actress Jada Pinkett Smith was criticized for allowing her daughter complete reign over her style choices: everything from her hair, to her clothing. The kid is 12. Does she know what's best for her? No. But Pinkett Smith hits on a very valuable lesson:  

"The question why I would let Willow cut her hair. First the 'let' must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain."

The idea of a parent controlling a child's actions are understandable. But at some point, you have to let go. "Allowing" a child to do something is one thing. I will allow my kid to get their ears pierced if they want. I will allow them to borrow the car. But at some point, parents start to make decisions for kids. This could go into a whole big thing about body image and good parenting and all that jazz.

I'm not going to go into that. No, I don't know you or your special circumstance. But I do know that any parent worth their salt is willing to go to the end of the Earth to make their child happy and healthy. However, I plan on taking a step back from what exactly is best for my future child. If that means depriving the kid from a unique outfit for every day of the week, so be it. 


  1. I completely agree! Kids' clothes are OUTRAGEOUS!!! Luckily, as with toys, people love buying baby clothes for other people's babies. Other than that consignment shops, garage sales, and hand-me-downs are absolutely the way to go because, as you pointed out, they outgrow their clothes long before they wear them out (barring the ocassional non-salvageable poop explosion outfit).

    1. That's one of the reasons I say I won't buy my kid anything--so many other people will. I don't necessarily want to depend on the kindness of others, but it makes sense in my head.
      I suppose I should have added on the stipulation that I will gladly go to second hand stores for clothes and toys.