Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Children's Lifestyle

So yesterday was Eli's birthday. In preparation for his party I did a little work on the internets looking for a ideas for decorating and games. After about ten minutes of searching around my head started hurting. Not only had I not found anything useful at all but it seemed to me that the only ideas out there were published by crazy people. And by that I mean people (parents) (mothers) who insist on spending dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars planning and executing birthday parties for their poor children who really would have just been happy with Pin the Tail on the Donkey and a little crepe paper.

In the end I opted for the party decor section at Walmart, spent very little, and Eli had a fantastically fun party jamming with a few friends and making a ruckus. I didn't spend hours gluing pinwheels together or hand-dipping confectionary wonders for the party guests. I didn't hand-make anything really. I just decided it was Eli's party and the focus was supposed to be on him and having fun. So that's what we did.

This brings me to a bigger issues: the so-called "children's lifestyle" craze that's going around. You know what I mean; photo shoot after photo shoot of babies in wicker baskets. Birthday parties that are so precious I bet the poor birthday child didn't even get a say in what he or she wanted. Baby fashion that is absolutely over-the-top absurd (we'll talk about that one more in a sec) and a general ambience in the parenting community that every detail of our child's life has to be Etsy inspired, Pintrest worthy, and vintage approved.

Stop. It. Just stop. Because here's the big secret: the poor little kids who's mother's make them live like that are miserable. I guarantee it. As a (sort of) young mom I totally get it though. There is all this pressure to make everything perfect looking when it comes to our children and their lives. This is why places like Baby Gap exist; they sell a lifestyle, not clothes.

This is mainly why I don't use Pintrest. I went on there once and was flooded with Precious Children's Lifestyle ideas. I couldn't take it. Also, I've been trying to cut down on my internet time and this was the one to go. (Couldn't part with my Instagram, Reader and Facebook...) I read a few design blogs for home stuff, a few trusted sites for kids ideas, and I try to steer clear of the "this is vintage and precious and your kids and your house need if for reals" type of blogs. I don't want to get stuck thinking that if my house and my kids don't look exactly like every other house and kids out there that somehow I've failed.

Ok, now to bring it home...kid's fashion. Double and triple Stop. It. Seriously. If I have to see a link on Facebook one more time to some amazing new hip clothing designer for kids or see $50 pairs of baby shoes advertised any more I may lose it. Again...our kids don't CARE. Eli could care less if he is dressed hip and cool. Sammy cares not at all. So who does care then? The parents. And that's all good and fine until you find yourself spending ridiculous amounts on clothes that your kids will grow out of in a day and Don't Care About.

For my boys I make sure they are dressed clean, conservative, and cartoon character -free (don't love me the Walmart Cars shirts). Other than that if it fits, it goes on. There's nothing wrong with having a few cute outfits that your kids can wear for church and pics. I'm talking about the poor little guys whose moms won't let them out of the house without skinny jeans, moccasins, bomber jackets and all that jazz. I'll admit...Eli has a few pairs of skinnies and I love them. I also paid less than $5 a pair for them at D.I. I don't buy anything for him that cost more than I'm willing to invest in for 6 months tops.

In the end, I guess what this muddled rant is getting at is that we need to stop, as parents, and take a minute to remember what is most important for our kids. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on clothes they don't care about, buy a season pass to a museum or indoor play area. Instead of creating the perfect party, perfect play-date, perfect perfect just let them have fun and make messes. In the end we'll all have much happier kids. And if you think about you really want to raise kids who are obsessed with clothes?


  1. I also wonder what the child who's mother just spend 40 hours working on custom, designer party decorations thought when mommy kept insisting, "Leave me alone right now Jimmy. Mommy can't play with you/read to you/cuddle you/make you dinner/listen to you because mommy is working on your birthday!" I've come to realize how important I am to my little boy. I don't think I'm all that grand, but my son thinks I'm the coolest chick around! Whatever project I take on in his behalf, I realize it isn't worth it to him if I have to ignore him in the process. -Shay Dye

  2. Great post! I think some people have a natural talent for those things. I definitely like to pin and craft and make things for my daughter, but I include her when I do, and it's pretty rare since we're so busy. But I dream that someday I'll have the speed, desire, and time to do more.

    I made her some oreo treats that looked like turkeys to take to her preschool class before thanksgiving and she was SO excited and proud to show them off. It made me so hapy. Even though they were no where as cute as they were in the photo/tutorial. Haha. But good enough for me, and her :)

    As for clothes, I LOVE kid fashion, but I'm a thrifty shopper. I like to make her stuff, or get things on sale. I let her pick what she wants to wear too and she loves dresses that are over the top or "sunday-like". But I would never spend $50 on a pair of shoes for her. In fact, just yesterday I got her some pink sparkly shoes I knew she'd love from walmart for under $10 and she doesn't want to take them off!

    I don't get how people have time to do all the over the top stuff. I like to think if I didn't work I'd have more time for it but in acutality that would only be if I was ignoring her while I was at home. Lately I've bene pinning a lot of holiday crafts we can do together and I'm so excited to shop and execute with her. Otherwise I have to wait until she goes to bed so we're not fighting over my attention.

  3. Thanks Jen! I should have put a big *** next to the section on fashion with a note that said "All this goes out the window if I have a girl" :)

  4. Robynn, thanks for this! I feel the SAME way. Well, you know how we Harmons were raised: hand-me-down or second-hand clothes, fun at-home birthday parties with simple home-made cakes and no stress. My parents never let us forget what they thought was really important: the Gospel and Education. If we spend all of our time and energy getting everything to look perfect, we are sending the wrong message to our children.

  5. I love every word of this, and I don't even have kids yet.