I am a bad, bad mother…

But at least she has an excellent father!

So today my eldest child has gone for her taster day at “big school”. She had to get up at 6am, have breakfast at 6.30am and leave the house at 6.55am to catch the school bus at 7.15am.

All well and good. As I am currently recovering from minor “running repairs” surgery I was quite happy for Daddy to look after that part of the proceedings.

I am a bad mother because yesterday my lovely daughter was in tears because she had nothing to wear today!

You see, today she does not have to wear school uniform. All the other “Taster Day” children will (I imagine) be in their jeans and sweat-shirts, but not my daughter.

Being the child of an image consultant, she understands the language of clothes. She wants to present herself to her new teachers as somebody who is mature, hardworking, responsible and (in her words) “comes from a good family” (bless her!). The problem was that she did not have the necessary vocabulary in her wardrobe to do that. She knew that jeans and sweatshirt would not say what she wanted to and that she needed something else. (Actually, even in jeans and fleece she looks neat, tidy, responsible and hard-working, but she really wanted to underline the message).

She had a pretty skirt, a good quality cardigan to go with it (a jacket would be too formal) – but no plain top! All her tops have patterns or pictures on them which would just create a mess with that skirt. They would be great with jeans or a plain skirt, but not with a pattern of pink roses.

My fault. I had not gone through her clothes with her to make sure she actually has that essential capsule wardrobe.

Which is where her fabulous father re-enters the picture.

When faced with a sobbing 11 year old girl, nearly hysterical because she doesn’t have the right clothes to wear, many men would tell her not to be so silly, that nobody will care what she’s wearing, to stop crying and if she’s so bothered then just wear her jeans, or a picture tee-shirt back to front.

Not my wonderful husband. He shot a look at his watch, calculated that they had enough time before we had to leave for a family  birthday celebration and whisked her off into town to buy a couple of tops. Thank Goodness for Sunday shopping (which is something I never thought I’d be saying).

And because she knows her colours and the styles that suit her, those tops were bought at top speed (pun intended) and they had time to look at trainers and sports shoes too!

But it made me think that I ought to go through my children’s wardrobe (and even – whisper it – my husband’s wardrobe) and make sure they’re covered for every occasion.

  • School Uniform
  • Sports/out of school activities
  • Play clothes
  • Scruffs for really messy play
  • Formal (family celebration/wedding) clothes
  • Smart casual (more difficult for children than for us, give it some thought)
  • Party clothes (a disco party needs different clothes from a kid’s prom)
  • Don’t forget shoes!

My children at 8 and 11  have already worked out that clothes from John Lewis, Boden and Monsoon seem to look better for longer than the ones from Tesco and Primark. And that the nice hand-me-downs have the more up-market labels. They are happy for their play clothes to be budget buys, but when it comes to their Great-uncle’s 70th birthday party, could they have something nicer please?

It makes organising your children’s wardrobes much easier if you know their colouring. They will have their own views on style (which may or not be correct – outside influences kick in at a very young age), but if a little forethought and preparation can deliver you from the trauma we went through yesterday, then I’d encourage you to just take a look at what your family have to wear. Yesterday might well have ended a lot less happily than it did and fathers like the one my daughter has are rare, very rare.

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