Because I am becoming more enlightened by the day

Confession time.

Today, sadly, one of my children could be seen walking through the store with his/her coat on INSIDE OUT. And yes, I was aware of it. And no, I did not say a word to the child.

In my less enlightened days as a single person, or even in my control-freak days as a mother of two well-behaved-by-the-grace-of-God little girls, if I had seen a kid walking around like that I probably would have thought self-righteously that the child’s mother really should get her (kid’s) act together.

However, today I noticed the jacket with a bemused smile, bit my tongue, and LET. IT. GO. And I firmly believe that in that act lies proof that I am getting more sensible.

Because as my mom would say, it doesn’t affect my salvation.

I’m not saying I’m abdicating all responsibility. I probably will at some point clue the kid into the fact that this particular jacket is NOT reversible. But on this particular day that particular child did NOT need mom to rag on him/her for one more thing. And so I bit my tongue and held my head high.

And breathed a sigh of relief that I was wearing my adorable new green jacket, my best jeans, and my cutest black boots. And was having a good hair day. The theory, of course, being that people won’t judge me quite as harshly if I myself am well pulled together.

Guess I’m not fully enlightened yet.

Ah well. One baby step (or inside-out jacket) at a time.


  1. I wonder how many kids I’ll have to have before I stop fussing at them. It’s so hard!

    Speaking of hard, how on earth do you manage to look cute with 10 children? Amazing, I tell you.

  2. Ah, yes. Many a days I have ignored backwards shoes for much of the same reason.
    Some days we simply rejoice in the fact that they did it themselves.

  3. I feel the same way about it. My two oldest struggled for years with getting their shoes on the right feet. They are both dyslexic/dysgraphic and things like that are hard for them. Family, friends, and random strangers would often point it out. I let the girls do it for two reasons–they were frustrated enough with trying to figure it out while still wanting to do it themselves, also I figured that since both of them had feet that were slightly rotated and that since mine did that and I had to wear backwards shoes for 6 years it would probably be good for their feet in the long run and they wouldn’t do it forever. I was right. They no longer do AND it has given them more confidence in developing their own style. I seldom fuss when they wear several mismatched patterns or some other odd mix of clothes, trying instead to gently point out what does work about the outfit and make future suggestions–very seldom do I say no to an outfit –unless there is something about it that is immodest or inappropriate for the situation.

    However, I, like you, take comfort in my own put-together-ness, I figure if it is obvious that I am together then people will assume that their look is their own and compliment them instead of commenting to me. And that is exactly what happens.:)_

  4. Mary-
    I love this perspective…and marvel at your wisdom to see that particular child just needed to be cut some slack at that time. I hope that I become that wise! I laugh w/ my mother that (because of my two year old), I am becoming sanctified at a lightning-fast speed!! I am sure if I had 10 children, I would be almost perfect! haha

  5. Well, good for you, Mary. You do have numbers working for you, too. I mean, if you’re looking cute, and 9 of 10 kids have their coats on right-side-out, clearly it’s #10’s issue, not mom’s!

    momteacherfriend- I’m going to assume you mean shoes on the wrong feet. My first vision was of shoes literally on backwards. Ouch! Is that even possible?!

  6. I am so there as well. Some things are just not worth being bothered over.

  7. Years ago my husband was a stay-at-home Dad for one year and I went back to work to see if I had any brain cells left.

    The kids were little and still needed some help getting dressed. It took quite a bit of restraint for me not to pin a note to the my childrens’ shirts saying “Dressed by Daddy” or “This kid dressed himself.” It probably went without saying anyway 🙂

    More recently, one of my kids would always wear his shoes on the wrong feet. Well-meaning folks would always point it out to him (since I guess they figured I was oblivious). Without fail he would respond, “I know, I like them that way.” He was four:)

  8. Thanks Mary for sharing this.
    I’m making this my prayer for today. I’ve been over-reacting & under-graceful towards my kids lately.
    The balance is so shaky for me right now & I needed the reminder.
    You bless your readers.

  9. Hi– wanted to let you know I added you to my blogroll! That will help me to keep checking back here. I totally identified with this post, as I am the same way. The more kids I have, the less I care. I am in a moms group of mostly young moms. Once they all started talking about how particular they are about the way their kids look. As in, coordinating clothes and other such things. I just could not relate at all. My kids just need to be dressed with shoes and we are doing good! Teeth brushed and hair combed is a bonus!

  10. I’m such a control freak but I’m learning! Thankfully hubby’s good for me as he is as laid back as can be – in the fact the crazier the outfit the better for him (Arrggh!). But we balance each other out nicely and that’s truly a gift from God!

  11. How very sweet. If I had seen you out and about, I would have smiled. Now if your child’s shoes were on the wrong feet and she was limping along, I might be critical. (Shoes on the wrong feet are one I can’t let go.)

  12. Personally, as an educator and a mother, I love it when kids dress themselves. It shows independence and it shows parents who respect children and allow them to be themselves. Sometimes kids wear mismatched clothes or jackets inside out because they weren’t paying attention and sometimes because it is their preference. Either way, it shows a parent who pays attention to the important stuff–like knowing when a child just does not need to be ragged on, and not the unimportant stuff, like what someone wears.

    My favorites are when kids where jackets upside down with the hood by their bottom or when I say to child, wearing plaid top and striped pants “did you dress yourself today?” and they say “no, my daddy did.”

  13. Ha! So funny, my boys love to wear their jackets inside out. Really, even if its reversable, why would they want to wear the slick side in and the fuzzy side out? I let it go to. Hey if they want to look “cool” and freeze more power to them.

  14. My mom let me put my shoes on the wrong feet, but if I stepped onto the front stoop in stocking feet I got an earful. I think her rule was: if it hurt me I could do it, if it hurt the stuff she bought for me it was forbidden.

    Keep up the good posts. I am always pleased to see you in the Hot Posts. Much better content than 90 percent of the others.

  15. Thank you for this! I needed it today. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  16. I, too, am learning to bite my tongue and cut my kids some slack. At home, it is actually so liberating to me when I can hold my tongue and not be so picky about my kids doings or not doings. In public, I still have a ways to go. In church, last Sunday though, my youngest two, 3 and 5 years, were being real wiggle worms. Usually it makes me so tense. I said to myself, let it go. Now, they weren’t making any noise and probably weren’t bothering anyone else, but they couldn’t keep still. Parenthood, not only do we teach skills, but we get taught and learn new skills too.

  17. Oh yes… I remember taking my 4 year old son to the shops once when he was wearing his sister’s fairy wings over his pyjamas, and snow boots a couple of sizes too big on his feet, carrying his plastic bow and arrow….. It was summer. He was comfortable. He had his own style.

    Now? He is nearly 19, 6’4″ tall, and is writhing in delayed mortification as he reads this over my shoulder!

  18. So, do you give lessons on how to get to this level of insight?

    Tammy and Parker

  19. fabulous post! both a confirmation and reminder for me to let it go. several weeks ago i let my 4 year old walk around a couple stores with his jeans on backwards – knowing he did not need mama to be making a deal out of another thing that day. now reading your experience – i’m glad i did that.

  20. I wish I had pictures of my older girls when they were smaller, in some of their wacky outfits. My best friend still bugs me about the time my then-4-year-old wore a bathing suit, rubber boots and a fireman’s hat to church. Thankfully, I’m a little *less* relaxed now.

  21. Yeah, Bean likes to put her own shoes on and almost always gets them on the wrong feet. Sometimes, if we’re both in the right mood, I ask her to fix them. Other times, eh, let her have ’em the way she wants ’em for an hour or two. No big whoop. Soon enough she’ll be too old to make that mistake and won’t I be sad about that? I am certain I will be.

  22. Heehee.
    Yeh, the twins (#5 & #6) knocked the wind right out my, “must control every little thing” sails.

  23. my first was/is a kid with sensory issues and “rules”. I learned early to pick my battles! stripes with florals? OK. pj top with a skirt? fine. dress appropriately for the weather. turtleneck under a sundress, plus tights and winter boots? why not?

    my mom chooses to fight this battle with them. I fight the others.

  24. My kids dress themselvs. Sometimes they pull cool outfits together sometimes they don’t. latley I don’t say much to them. I am tired from nursing my six months old through out the night. I’ve started to carry extra clothes in the car in case they want to change or have diaper accidents.

  25. Oh smiles! Smiles! One day at a time progress— is the very best kind. Thanks for the inspiration to lighten up. And if you see me in the Walmart with a kid wearing a bathing suit in the dead of winter, just high five me and smile.

  26. It’s amazing to look back on the beautiful coordinated outfits my oldest always went out on… even the socks and hat matching her cute little dresses.

    Recently my sixth went to school with a striped leggings, plaid skirt and a flowered top… but hey, they were all varying shades of pink!

  27. You are a wise mama, indeed : )
    Thanks for this post. Made me feel better about the…. errr… many days my kids have done things like that. (And I only have five.) ; )

  28. Yeah, my 4year old wears his coat backwards at times, complete with the hood up over his face. Hey, it makes winter more fun! Or maybe I’m just not much of a control freak. I remember once when he was 3 he told his big sister, “don’t shwet the shmall stuffs.” But really, I should probably be a little more on the ball…