The Distress of the Dress

play clothes


It is so easy to say I don’t care about my daughters’ clothes when their preferences match my ideas of what is important.


Unfettered play, climbing trees, and canals built in the sand or mud is how I dreamt of my children playing. And they do. They do play that way, I just never imagined Greysen would prefer to do it in dresses.


Dresses?!? Dresses and fancy shoes. Not the running through the grass barefoot, holes in the her jeans kiddo I had imagined.


After really watching her play, I came to see that clothing did not impact her play in any way. She plays and is just as focused and unconcerned about her clothing as she ever has been – as long as she is wearing a dress.


So, if it doesn’t hamper her play then why does it matter that she wants to wear a dress? I’d prefer that she didn’t care about her clothing. I wish she didn’t insist on wearing a dress every day, especially since she only has a couple.


More watching, more conversations led to more understanding. I’m learning that her preference for dresses is not exactly a reflection of her values. Nor does it seem to define how she defines beauty which was a concern because she had once cried out that she wasn’t beautiful if she wasn’t wearing a dress.


Allowing my daughter to be whom she wants to be and like what she wants to like when it in opposition to things I value has been difficult for me to support.



Ultimately, if I really don’t care about her clothing then I shouldn’t care that she does. This disparity between our appreciation for clothing feels like the firstĀ  significant difference in our priorities and I think will be a landmark in her becoming her own person. Thus, I will learn to embrace the dress because most importantly I want to embrace my daughter.

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