Getting the kids to wear put-together outfits was difficult before a global pandemic, but now that we have nowhere to go and no one to see, they have taken quite a few liberties with what would be considered socially acceptable style choices.
Polka dots with camouflage, monochromatic ensembles with colors so loud your eyes sting — these are just some of the fashion-daring outfits my 8-year-old daughter, Mara, has donned during our lock-in. My 10-year-old son’s choices aren’t much better.
Declan’s favorite pants as of late are Chicago Bears-themed zebra striped Zubaz lounge pants I got him (and a matching pair for my husband) a few Christmases ago. It was meant as a joke, of course, but I suppose the joke is on me now that they’re his go-to bottoms. The only saving grace is that his school Zoom classes are usually framed up from his chest.
My children have completely embraced the stay-at-home wardrobe. It’s a problem.
I used to police — to a certain degree — what clothes the kids pieced together for themselves to wear out into the world. But when you delete “out into the world” from the equation, what’s the point? I mean, really? Adults have been doing it, so why not the kids?
A recent look at retail trends showed that spending choices of Americans from March to April shifted, according to Adobe Analytics. When pajama sales jump 143% and pant purchases are down 13%, I think it’s safe to say that we — as a nation — are wholeheartedly giving ourselves over to the leisurely, stay-at-home aesthetic.
I’m no paragon of fashion, but even I have a threshold on what I consider “home” vs. “public” clothes. However, when the world shifts to staying home all the time, it’s hard to argue with an 8-year-old that a too-small butterfly sweatshirt doesn’t pair well with plaid leggings.
And shoes? Declan has taken a real shine to his rain boots. Yep, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. If he puts on shoes, they’re boots. I’m putting stress on the “if.” Another casualty of being home forever is footwear. Declan has found he really enjoys playing in the backyard in bare feet.
At this point, it feels like the inmates are running the asylum. But after nearly 60 days locked up together I’ve lost my will to protest.
But let me say that there’s one sticking point from which I refuse to cede any ground: regular bathing. The kids are still young enough to not be naturally stinky, but personal hygiene is mandatory. I don’t care how long we stay socially distant from our family and friends, baths are not — and never will be — optional.
But for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I need to pick and choose my battles. I am, after all, balancing being a parent and a teacher while working from home for the past nine weeks. So if all of the school work is getting done, vegetables are being eaten and baths are regularly taken, I figure I can turn a blind eye to some of the stranger wardrobe choices the kids are making.
Hey, at least they’re wearing clothes, right?
Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.