To pay or not to pay
I have introduced Zara to my son and that's all she wrote. He walks around telling people how much he loves European cut clothing. He recently asked if we could go to Zara so that he could shop. Immediately I knew this meant he shops and I pay, or so I thought. While shifting through all the items he had thrown in my arms, he blurts out, "I know that I have to pay for my clothes, but can you at least purchase my school pants?"
I thought, What?! Is he talking to me? I never told him that he had to purchase his own clothing. I know parents that have made his friends pay for clothes, however, I have never requested this of him. In the moment, I wasn't sure how to respond. Do I consent to it or intervene with my own money? What if he thinks it's too expensive? He has to stick with this style. I have only required of him to put money in savings, give to the church and replenish supplies for his cleaning business. The rest of the money is for him to blow. I look at clothes as a necessity, so why would I let him pay for them? As we approached the counter, he shuffled through the merchandise to finalize his choices. I whispered, "Do you have enough?". He nodded and smiled. I watched him pay for his clothes and smile from ear to ear as the cashier complimented him on his taste in fashion. I felt proud in that moment.
Later that night, I expressed to him my internal conflict. My big boy replied with a smirk and said that he loves not having a need and knowing that I always think of his wants. Being able to make his own purchases for things that express his personal style and identity boosted his self esteem. I had to ask myself why I thought I needed to control his store and garment choices to put value on his appearance. Ultimately, did I want to control his appearance? Uhh.. yea! I needed him to fit in a social square that I thought would bring value to him. As long as I pay for the clothes, then I control the appearance which in turn controls the stereotype and the narrative. Oh no! Did I just confuse hygiene and neatness with stereotyping & profiling? Of course we all want our children to maintain their health and be clean, but this wasn't that. I was actually afraid that allowing him to dress how he chooses and find his own style would make him target practice for someone in this ever changing society. This wasn't about him at all. I needed to give him options of what he wanted to experience, and not always chose the experience. I had allowed fear to once again dictate the way I am suppose to be parenting out of freedom. Aside from who pays, he has recently branched off to Century 21, Banana Republic and a place called Rave. I guess we will see where the style/ identity journey goes.
Fatima started FLM after her face was paralyzed during the summer of 2015. Spending much time in silence & looking at magazines, she realized that none of the images seemed to reflect moms that encouraged her, (in her current state). She began collaborating to find a formula for a magazine that would inspire fellow mom & womenprenuer camaraderie.
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