I’ve been pretty confident in my parenting choices and style, but every now and then I feel guilty for not keeping up with “Mrs. Jones.” You know her: Her children are dressed in matching monogrammed clothing with perfect hair posed in front of an amazing backdrop. She can be a full-time working mom or a SAHM; either way, she’s the kind of mom who reminds me of a sitcom character, making all the other moms envious of her family’s appearance.
I, on the other hand, had nothing monogrammed before Gray was born — I didn’t know her gender and hadn’t decided on her name.
Even after birth, I realized I favored gender-neutral and boy clothes over big bows and pink matching outfits. Some of you may be thinking, “But I see Gray in that stuff a lot on social media?” Correct. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law love all things monogrammed, pink, matching, girly, and smocked. That’s fine with me. It’s their love language to spoil Gray in gifts and outfits, especially those she can wear in a Pinterest-inspired photo shoot.
After having Gray I quickly realized, thanks to social media, that I was more concerned with figuring out breastfeeding and how to keep a brand new baby alive than in dressing her up and keeping up with the latest baby boutique trends. Even now that Gray is 18 months, it’s a good day when I can comb the tangles out of her hair and find a matching bow to keep her long hair our of her eyes. The evil of comparison begins to lurk when I realize that friends and acquaintances post pictures with similarly aged children who look much more put together and stylish than Gray ever does.
My thoughts start to churn and I wonder how they can afford all of that, how are they able to keep them so clean, and why is it such a big deal!?
It’s at those times that I take a step back, mentally and figuratively, and try to understand why it matters to me so much.
Maybe these moms spend money on their children’s clothes rather than their own because it’s what makes them happy. Maybe they feel the need to keep up with all the other moms to feel included and accepted. Maybe they work a side hustle just to provide their children with everything they want. Either way, their decisions do not affect me or Gray one bit.