Rushing them to the van, I explained that this time Mommy really needed to be on time. They walked slowly, grabbing their old shoes along the way. You know the shoes with the worn toes, the ones that have been ran around in all summer and from our house, the ones with maybe just a little chicken poop. You know, the shoes that belong in the backyard.
As they loaded in, I told this particular child that he had to go put those shoes back and grab his nicer “new” shoes. He doesn’t do well with being rushed and my comment about putting his shoes away and grabbing the nicer ones just about sent him into tears.
At the moment, I stuck to what I’d said and very reluctantly, he put his favorite, well loved and worn out shoes back. As he pulled on the newer ones, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was making something into an issue that wasn’t really a big deal. Who cares if he was passionate about wearing the old shoes? Who cares if he wants to wear T-Ball pants, when it’s not T-Ball season. And who cares if he wants to wear a superhero shirt everyday?
The truth is, the reason I cared is because I was worried about what people would think of ME. Would they feel sorry for us? Would they think that my children don’t even have a nice pair of shoes? If we’re being honest here, I wonder how many decisions we as Moms make, that are fear and judgement based. Far too often, I wonder what other Moms will think about me.
God gifted me with 3 free-spirited, dirt-magnet children. My kids don’t fit into a mold and, most of the time, I’m thankful for their creativity. The way they value outside play and seek out adventure thrills me. Some of my most favorite moments with them are when they’re wearing their crazy outfits and they’re playing some wild game that involves sticks, rocks, shovels, binoculars and pretend maps. When my son’s hair is long, curly and wild, it’s my favorite. When my daughter wears 15 pieces of jewelry all at once, I think she’s never been more perfect.
As a Mama, I value creativity and self expression so deeply. Everyday I tell them that they’re UNIQUELY and wonderfully made so, why do I try to tone it down when we leave the house?
In a day, there are only so many conversations that we can have with our kids and only so many opportunities that we’re given to really grab the attention of their hearts.
We need more conversations about kindness, generosity, thankfulness and how to love one another well and less about things that don’t really matter.
It takes courage to let them be different. We’ll get smiles in the grocery store when we’re in full costume in February. I might wash the same shirt multiple times in the same week, but they weren’t born to be the same as everyone else.
Someday I hope they’ll be able to say that their Mama let them wear what they wanted, but when it came to being kind, there was no option.
Angela can be found blogging on allmomdoes every Monday. Read more!