My Daughter, Evangeline, was just barely 2 when she began dressing herself, and I spent most mornings trying to persuade her to wear the outfit I had picked out instead of the mismatched, pattern-on-pattern outfit she preferred. After many frustrating mornings, I gave up.
After all, why should I teach my daughter that she has to conform to society’s idea of what is fashionable? And, really, what is so wrong with wearing leopard leggings if “they are so beautiful” with a pink butterfly shirt if you “just love butterflies”? So now I let her wear whatever she wants as long as the outfit is weather appropriate (“Sorry, honey, shorts are not warm enough for sledding”) and decent (“No, sweetie, tights are not pants”).
Since I gave my daughter the freedom to choose her outfits, mornings have become easy. She gets up, picks out her clothes, and dresses herself while I relax on the couch with my coffee and wait for her to emerge at the top of the stairs and proudly display her outfit for the day. I’ve come to realize that her choices are a representation of her personality, and by trying to force her into a mold that she didn’t fit, I was stifling her creativity and keeping her from expressing herself.
I admit, this is not how I envisioned myself as a mother. I expected to always dress my children in perfectly paired, trendy outfits from popular brands. But now my daughter goes everywhere dressed in whatever makes her happy. She gets to wear something she loves, and I get to catch a glimpse of her unique personality. I’ve learned to appreciate that even though she rarely matches, she is always 100 percent Evangeline.