a Cruel Parenting Fatwah

>Do you remember the items your parents denied you? That toy or clothing item that your parents didn’t understand you simply had to have to be in with the cool kids? For me, it was a second CB jacket, a red one with white stripes, significantly different than my teal one. My mother simply could not understand that it was completely uncool to have the same winter coat two years in a row. My tears and pleas could not sway her. The coat still fit and there was no need to spend another $125 for a new one. Oh, how I hated that once beloved teal CB jacket that second year!

Having put my own kids through two moves in two years and consequently three different schools, I’ve tried to be sensitive to their demands for stuff. When Bella came crying home from second grade because she was made to play Ugly Doll tag with a blade of grass, I ran out to buy her a ridiculously expensive Ugly Doll. I’m the first in line when Justice has a sale, silently grateful that Bella hasn’t gotten the Abercrombie memo yet. Within weeks of moving to Chicago, both Jack and Bella were sporting Cubs sweatshirts. And don’t even get me started on how many packages of Silly Bandz I ran out to buy when my connection at Hallmark called. I want to ease their social transition as much as possible, and if the right possessions will make them more popular on the playground, then I’m happy to spoil them a bit. Within reason.

Moms have to pick their battles, and for some reason, I always take a stand about shoes. My French-American heritage influences me in the most random ways, in this case, giving me the conviction to forbid children’s plastic shoes. No Crocs have ever been worn by my kids, and not for lack of begging. Not only do I find them unattractive, but I also think they don’t provide children with enough support. It took my kids years to accept my No Crocs Fatwah.

The latest shoe showdown was over another must have plastic shoe trend, this time by a French manufacturer. It seems every kid in town this summer is sporting Adidas flip flops. I heard about them for weeks from Bella before finally taking her to Dick’s to buy what I thought would be a branded version of regular flip flops. I should have googled them. When I saw her eagerly grab a pair of what looked like men’s shower shoes, I didn’t think twice before shaking my head categorically and expanding my Crocs band to include Adidas plastic footwear.

Bella’s face quickly went through a number of emotions. Shock led to anger before finally settling on tears, torrential tears. I was accused of being the cruellest mother in the world, but I didn’t budge.

I rebutted each of her pleas:

  • “You’ll drag your feet.”
  • “They’re ugly.”
  • “They’ll make you sweat.”
  • “They won’t be comfortable.”
  • “We might as well stop talking about this, I will not change my mind. Discussion closed.”

I was unmoved that my daughter, or at the very least her feet, might become a social outcasts this summer. History was repeating itself. I was proudly, unhesitatingly, becoming my mother.
Sometimes a mom has to take a stand.

5 Responses to a Cruel Parenting Fatwah

  1. >This post reminded me of when, in high school, my boyfriend's mom pointed to my beloved Doc Martens that I had saved my allowance for six months to buy, and said: "If my mom had made me wear those shoes when I was your age, I'd cry myself to sleep every night." ZING!

    I admit I caved to Crocs, only because I was tired of washing my daughter's sneakers. The child loves mud.

  2. >My mom wouldn't buy me Tretorns because I already had a pair of Nikes. The first pair of tennis shoes I bought my Freshman year in college? Yep! Tretorns.

    I have to say that my Crocs flip flops are the most supportive sandal I have. I wear orthotics in my other shoes and find that my Crocs are just as supportive.

  3. >I'm sympathetic to kids not getting the things other kids have; certainly, I have "horror" stories from my childhood. But there's also something to be said for teaching them about thrift and, perhaps, to be less consumer oriented. When my kids want something that everybody else has, they wait for their birthdays or Christmas, or they help pay for it. (My son's entering high school this year and for his fall birthday is getting texting for his cell phone, something the other kids have had since grade school.) Running out to satisfy their every whim is not going to serve them well down the road. The kids I know who have been granted their every wish never seem satisfied.

  4. >@CondoBlues, Lisa, I am amazed that your crocs provide such good support! Just don't tell my kids. 🙂

    @Jude – I so agree with you, after the tears usually come a slightly relieved smile. Kids like boundaries. That said, we definitely relaxed and gave in to a lot of demands to ease the adjustment to our moves. Now that we're settled, the Fatwah returns.

  5. >I also said no to Crocs for a long, long time – until my kids started swimming year round. Crocs were perfect for the pool deck just like those lovely Adidas flops. My son needed something to wear on the pool deck and he is not a traditional flip flop kind of kid – so the Adidas pair it was.

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