I Don’t Care What My Teens Look Like When They Are In Public

My daughter’s closet was stocked before she was born. By that I mean she had a pink fur coat, a matching hat, several pairs of shoes in every style, and a wardrobe that put mine to shame.

Yes, I know it was unnecessary but it was so fun for me I couldn’t stop myself. She would have been fine if I’d simply purchased a few packages of onesies for the first few months but I’d always wanted to be a stylist and having kids was the closest I was able to get to that dream.

My teens don’t want my opinion about what they wear. (Twenty20 @klovestorun)

I loved dressing up my kids when they were young

The fact that my kids were close in age made clothing them extra exciting for me. We had to have matching and coordinating outfits always, even if we were just staying home. 

I’ve always been a shopper and dressing my kids was one of my favorite hobbies. They even let me lay out their outfits for school when they were younger.

Now I have three teenagers who have their own style. They don’t want my opinion, they don’t want to shop with me, and if I come home with something I’ve picked out for them to wear without consulting them first, there’s a one-hundred percent chance they will leave it crumpled on their dirty floor.

The uniform for all three of them consists of a sweatshirt or t-shirt, and sweatpants. There are no jeans. There are slip-on shoes and socks only. They don’t care if their attire is stained, hanging off them or too short.

Now my teens have their own style

Comfort is key here and they aren’t trying to impress anyone–especially their mother. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been so into clothes and fashion it’s turned them off. But really, I think it’s because this is how they feel like their true selves.

This new stage of not letting mother get involved in their wardrobe decisions has been going on for a few years now. It used to really bother me.

I’d say things like,”Aren’t you going to wear a coat?” “Haven’t you been wearing that sweatshirt everyday this week,” and my favorite “There’s snow on the ground and you are wearing socks and flip-flops.”

Needless to say, I’ve never changed their mind. They aren’t going to put on a fashion show for me and I guess I have to give up the dream of having kids who dress for me because obviously those days are over. (Along with giving me a hug goodbye and not hating the sound of my chewing.)

I don’t say anything about what they are wearing

I don’t say a peep when they crawl in the car with a shirt covered in holes. The other day, my oldest got in the car with his shirt all the way unbuttoned, a winter beanie, and sweatpants that could literally walk on their own. In fact, I think I heard them crack a bit when he sat down. I didn’t say a word. I had to physically stop myself several times and felt like ants were crawling all over my body, but I still managed to do it.

I’ve realized my kids care about how they dress. And because they care, they want to do it their way in a style that’s comfortable to them. It’s their choice to look the way they want. I can be on the sideline to guide them if they decide to go to a job interview wearing an open shirt displaying chest hairs, but ultimately when it comes to the every day, why do I care?

It’s not a representation of anything except how they like to dress and I need to save my energy worrying about myself and the wrinkles and gray hairs that are sprouting by the second.

Instead of sitting in the doorway, or the car trying to get them to change before we go to the grocery store or as they are heading out with their friends, they are free to go and have fun without their mom trying to get them to look different. 

I mean, how annoying. When I’m in legging-and-messy bun-mode wearing a big sweatshirt to hide my free boobs when I go out in public, no one is judging me or trying to get me to put on a button down and skinny jeans and go curl my hair.

I need to let my kids make their own life decisions

They are my kids and I want them to live their best life. For a long time I thought that meant they had to take a certain path and look the part. I know now it doesn’t mean that at all. 

It means letting go enough to realize they are going to make certain choices that literally won’t have an affect on anyone. So, whether it’s how they dress, how they decide to do their hair, or how they want their rooms decorated, that’s up to them. Not me.

And honestly, there’s so much freedom in letting the little stuff go.

More to Read:

When I Ws Struggling With My Teens, This is What Helped

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

Read more posts by Katie

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.