| Musings |

The Clothing Contract

Did my girls love their exclusive European dresses I spent hours looking for? Of course not!

It’s good to have friends in high places. My friend is a stylist for several children’s lines. When she sent me photos of a recent shoot, I quickly responded. Gorgeous! I’ll take everything.

Talk about efficiency. My children’s summer wardrobes were done before February.

Moments later she apologized; she couldn’t actually get me the clothing, she was just showing me what was coming in.

Couldn’t she just nab a couple of those stunning blue dresses for me? No, not even if I paid double. Turns out I don’t have friends in such high places after all.

She did, however, tell me where and when I could get them. “Go! And go early because they sell out fast.”

“But I feel like a loser to run after those dresses!” I responded.

“If you get them, you’ll be a winner!” she rejoined.

I wasn’t convinced. But one morning I found myself on the other side of town for an important errand, and once I was there, I decided to stop in the children’s store and look for the blue dresses. According to my friend’s info, they should’ve just come in.

I confidently strolled into the shop and halted. The store was a madhouse. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with inside information.

When I finally made my way to the racks, there was one piece left in a size two. Women were balancing stacks of clothing in their hands, and the line snaked around the store. I wasn’t sure what was more maddening: The chaotic store, the dresses gone within 30 minutes of opening time, or the fact that I was standing there, part of it all. I quickly slipped out of the store empty-handed.

Do you believe in miracles? Two days later I went into another store to buy a baby gift. Someone had just completed a return, and right there, on the rack, were the blue dresses in exactly the sizes I needed.

But after the initial euphoria wore off, I remembered that the blue dresses still had to fit and that my girls had to like them. I’ve developed a simple mathematical equation over the years: Amount of money outfit costs x the amount that Mommy loves it = probability that opinionated kids will HATE it!

Case in point: I once spent the day trudging from store to store. We finally found beautiful dresses. The sticker shock came at the register. Oops. The dresses were European. Double oops that my foggy brain forgot to look at the price tags.

But there was a store full of people and a line behind me so I did what any self-respecting mom would do: I smiled and pulled out my credit card. Then I come home and pulled off the tags because what you don’t know, don’t hurt. (Men! They never understand the hard work that goes into the high credit card bills.)

Now, did my girls love their exclusive European dresses? Of course not! (See equation above.)

Some kids don’t care what they wear. But I happen to be raising leaders of tomorrow. They have opinions! So the fact that I’d miraculously found the blue dresses in exactly the right sizes didn’t mean that the cutie pies at home would like the dresses. But I came home and everything fit, and everyone liked them, and thank you Hashem!

Of course, said cutie pies could always change their minds a few weeks into the season. That’s a problem. So much so that I’ve considered drafting a contract for them.

I, the undersigned, hereby therewith attest to the fact that I like the (insert color, insert company name) dress / jumper / outfit that my mother bought me on this day of (date), and I will happily wear it until Succos 2022 and if not, I will go to the other side of the house and complain about it to Tatty!

Then I’ll find some old dress to wear that Mommy doesn’t like, BUT if there’s a simchah or certain intimidating sisters-in-law are coming over, I’ll wear this above-mentioned dress, match my sister, and keep the complaining to a minimum.

Signed: ______________          _________________

        Mother                                Offspring

I’ve worked on myself to ditch the contract and save the power struggles for more important things.

So at the next Shabbos sheva brachos we attend, my children may not be wearing the beautiful matching blue dresses. They may even be wearing random assortments of Floafers and Natives because stunning Shabbos shoes kill their feet.

Don’t judge me. I really tried.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 786)

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