Wednesday, July 26, 2006

School shopping and money

Our school system has mandated school uniforms this year. I think it's a good idea, and the uniform policy is pretty liberal. The kids can wear black, navy or khaki trousers, polo shirts of any color that don't have a logo, or a solid white button front shirt with sleeves. Shirts have to be tucked in, and pants with belt loops must be worn with a belt. Shoes can be athletic shoes or loafers, no sandals. No hoodies, no cargo pants, no bandannas, hats or sunglasses allowed. Girls are allowed to wear capri pants or skirts that reach the knees. There are no restrictions on jewelry other than no facial or tongue piercings.

If you've ever seen the maliciousness of some girls over wardrobe choices and the damage it causes, you can't help but think that uniforms are a good idea. I also love that they're not allowing cheerleaders to wear their uniforms to school on game days as has been traditionally done. Letter jackets are still okay, but football players can't wear their jerseys to school either. When the womanchild was in a Catholic school, one thing that truly surprised me was that despite the sea of plaid skirts and navy sweaters, I noticed the individuality of the kids more. Waiting in the pick up line in the afternoon, I'd wonder who was the cute blonde who couldn't stop using her hands when she talked. What was the guy like who always had his head tilted to one side and looking at the ground like plants were sprouting in rapid time? I still hope that when people have to look for things that make people stand out, they also find more of what they have in common.

However, I've traveled over two counties today and couldn't find a single pair of khakis to fit the womanchild. She is a power shopper who (thank God/dess) is quite thrifty. I hate shopping with the passion most people reserve for the opposite political party, getting a root canal or a rectal exam. I had no idea how hard it is to find polo shirts without logos, but the lack of khakis stunned me. The womanchild wore herself out, and I was transformed into a blob barely capable of muttering under my breath. Apparently navy pants are out of the question. I've been told that only the kids whose parents pick out their clothing will be wearing navy this year. We're stocked on black pants now, and tomorrow she's exchanging a couple of shirts because she found a better value at another store after she'd already made a purchase.

There is a real benefit that comes from making your kid handle the cash for her purchases. She decided what she absolutely had to have and what would just be nice before we left. She added up her purchases and made decisions like one pair of pair of pants that she really liked just wasn't worth the difference in price between it and her second choice. I helped her figure taxes, and after we were finished, she still had a few dollars left for her personal use.

I may err too much in making her see financial responsibilities, but she's appreciative of what she has, and she knows when she's being pampered and indulged. I knew next to nothing about money management until I was on my own and have made more mistakes than I can count. I want her to be better prepared and have less anxiety over finances than I do, regardless of the income she will eventually make. However, I wanted to teach her to love and accept herself in the body she had, but my body image and food anxieties contributed to her developing an eating disorder. I have to remember that what I've taught her and how she saw me working on my own problems have contributed to her recovery. As a parent, I'm destined to mess up something in raising a child to adulthood. I'm not a perfect person, and I'm not raising a perfect person. Both of us, however, are still pretty darn good, and if she keeps up this early thriftiness, she'll be able to afford her therapy bills later on.



7 Comments:

Blogger Jod{i} said...

Oh Cynthia I am so with you on this...We had a meeting two years ago and I just could not believe my ears...

Parents feel it takes away the kids individuality...And of course I spoke up..That if anything, it gives them the 'power' to be MORE individual..Without having to hide behind material items and the status quo..Teach these kids its about who not what...

Sigh...It got shot down. I wish, more so now that all 4 are going in school this year, we had uniforms or a uniform look...

Old Navy has GREAT khaki's...
Sears too!

July 26, 2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

I'm with you on the uniforms. I've always thought it was great idea.

July 26, 2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger Shelina said...

You're such a good mom teaching her money management at this age. I like uniforms too, although I think the school has too many dress down days. Our school allows navy and tan khakhis, and when I went to a store and asked for their navy pants, they said they don't sell any! Apparently they are not in style. We found plenty in my daughter's hard to fit size at sears.com. The school uniform place was much more expensive.

July 26, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Okay...I had to laugh at your last line...

Key issue here: You are not perfect, you know it, and you allow your womanchild to not be perfect. That is key. That is the type of mother I hope I would have been had I had children.

Try shopping online for uniforms. You can find zillions of non-logo polo shirts, for as cheap as $10 apiece...

July 26, 2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger V said...

.... Both of us, however, are still pretty darn good, and if she keeps up this early thriftiness, she'll be able to afford her therapy bills later on......

Now that`s both truthful & funny!
V

July 27, 2006 5:06 PM  
Anonymous postmodernpetah said...

"I also love that they're not allowing cheerleaders to wear their uniforms to school on game days as has been traditionally done. Letter jackets are still okay, but football players can't wear their jerseys to school either."
This I REALLY like.
-Suzanne

July 27, 2006 11:43 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

No uniforms here...but it would please me if we adopted them.

I don't know if it's possible to be too extreme in teaching money management. I have tried and (with Adrienne) it has not stuck. My middle one is much better, but in high school (with the fashion issues) she has not been as disciplined. It sounds like your daughter has learned the lesson well.

August 04, 2006 12:53 AM  

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