Let’s be completely honest with one another. Southern moms just know how to dress children. Boys and girls, Southern kids are generally the cutest kids on the block. Southern moms also know the power of classic smocked outfits and pinafore dresses. Outfitting a newborn for a first time mom is one of the sweetest ventures that one could undertake. When I found out my first child was going to be a girl I eagerly began the planning and plotting to make sure she was adorable and presentable.
As a child, I was never the best dressed. In all of my childhood photos I always appeared like I had just rolled out of bed with a bad hair cut and I truly wanted to avoid this with my own children.
I spent so many hours planning her coming home outfit, outfits for her first photos and of course they would have to have the matching bows. Most Southern moms would agree that they have spent most of their hard-earned paychecks to buy the biggest bows that their child’s head can support without regard to the possibility of future chiropractic care.
I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion, especially when I only had one daughter to dress. One of the best compliments I ever received was from a neighbor who told me she could always spot Meredith down the street because she was the only child who matched. That still makes me smile to this day. My child matched….
However, having a stylish child was all thrown out of the window when my second daughter came along. Yes, Kathryn wore smocked dresses but would only wear Crocs with them. Yes, she wore bows but she was also known to throw them out of the car window when no one was looking or simply place them in the trash. No, she did not match and had no desire to wear anything that I put on her body. She had an affection for wearing fake high heels with her soccer uniform and everything that was glittery, gaudy and sequined to the hilt.
If she didn’t look so much like me I would have sworn that I brought home Dolly Parton’s child.
Somewhere along the way I merely gave up and let her dress herself. Since I was an older mom and more confident in my mothering skills, I did not even apologize for her appearance or her lack of bows and smocking. It was truly painless, I just let her dress herself and my house was much more peaceful and my budget applauded what it saw.
Although I had a new found freedom in caring less about what my daughter is wearing it does not stop me from trying to micromanage her style from time to time. This summer while on our way home from vacation we stopped for coffee and gas and I noticed that Kathryn was wearing bright pink shorts, turquoise Jesus sandals with socks, and a tourist t-shirt she found in one of the shops in downtown Jackson Hole. To top it off, literally, she had shimmery tinsel from Amazon that was weaved into her hair.
I mildly scoffed at her outfit under my breath and laughingly told her she looked like Rainbow Brite. She was not phased, she said she felt beautiful.
As we were leaving a lady walked up to Kathryn and said, “I am loving so much about your outfit right now….the bright colors, the shoes, the hair….who did your hair? I would love some of that in my hair”
After Kathryn gave me an “I told you so” glance they then began a ten minute long discussion about the proper way to care for the shimmery tinsel once it was weaved into place. As I watched them converse about style I could only think about the hours upon hours of time that women spend worrying about their clothes, hair, makeup and just their appearance in general.
We have multibillion dollar industries designed to cater to women and their insecurities about the way they dress or look. So much wasted time worrying about our outer appearances when all of this is just a distraction from what is really going on in our souls.
Worrying about what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear does not even register on the radar of worries in the Kingdom of God. But yet it was addressed for us in Mathew 6:28. It tells us to consider the lilies of field…how they grow and how they toil not. They do not worry about a thing, they know God will take care of them. God is not concerned about our fashion choices, he is more concerned about whether his children live with him in eternity.
“Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or in what shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom, and his righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.” – Mathew 6:31-33
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