“Are you ready yet? We need to go!” I shouted from the bottom of the stairs to my 10-year old daughter who was upstairs getting ready to visit a friend.
No answer. I tried again.
“It’s time to go now!”
Still no answer. Bloody hell. I haven’t got all day.
“I’m leaving now, with or without you!”
Moments later I heard a door open and slam shut and my daughter flung down the stairs.
“I was just brushing my hair,” she said apologetically.
I only had to look at her knotty bird’s nest of hair to realise that was not what she’d been up to but since it wasn’t a school day, I decided that the state of her hair wasn’t a fight worth having.
Besides I was more concerned about what she was wearing: ripped school tights under flimsy cotton shorts.
“You can’t go out in those tights…” I said. “They’ve got holes all over.”
“Obviously! That’s how they’re meant to be. It’s the fashion, you know.”
I sighed deeply. I didn’t have a clue about fashion when I was ten years old. My go-to attire back then was corduroy trousers and a Mickey Mouse sweater. I was such a geek.
My daughter has her own style and who am I to knock that? She’s no slave to fashion but creates her own – literally, as she loves sewing clothes.
In the end, I let her go to her friend’s house in those ripped tights because I realised that they were a statement of her growing independence and sense of self.
My objection to her fashion choice, I had to admit, was largely rooted in my own insecurity about what others might think, and that’s certainly not something I want to pass on to my child.
So, if she’s happy leaving the house with ripped tights and a bird’s nest on her head, then I’m happy too.
If there’s a golden rule of mothering it is this: never judge or criticise your child.