Why I Support School Uniforms
After a quick doze between a 5 a.m. feeding and a 7 a.m. alarm, I groggily stumbled down the hallway to my kids' rooms. My 7-year-old daughter pulled out her favorite bright pink leggings and began a frustrated hunt to find something to match them. After I rejected four of her choices and she rejected my one choice, she angrily grabbed a pair of blue jeans instead.
Because my 5-year-old, who is at a different school, had a school spirit week, she had the option not to wear one of her school uniform outfits. She felt shy about dressing in anything unusual, however, so she opted to go with her usual attire: navy pants and a white top. She has two bins separate from the rest of her clothes, one that holds her white tops and one for navy bottoms, both skirts and pants. Every morning, she happily chooses one item for herself from each bin, with little to no input from me.
Next to get dressed was my 3-year-old son. In my mind, he should be the easiest of them all. Don't boys just open the drawer and pull out whatever is on top? Apparently my son hasn't gotten that memo because, some days, he is the most opinionated of all my kids about what he wants to wear. Thankfully Dad took over the dressing responsibilities. At least, that's what I thought. I came back in the room to discover that my son, though dressed, did not like anything he was wearing. Dad left in frustration while I started the process over again from the top.
With another baby girl soon to start expressing her clothing desires, I hereby declare my support of school uniforms. I am thankful that my daughter's school has not gone so far as to require clothes that only come from a certain store. We have found our uniform options at Old Navy, Target, K-mart and the thrift store. My daughter loves the freedom that comes from being able to pick out whatever she wants to wear each day, without receiving a veto from me for something not matching. She doesn't have to worry (too much) about not fitting in with the other girls, because they will all be wearing the same color clothing.
I think that kids these days have enough to worry about while they are at school. Why not remove one concern from their list and have them all dress similarly? I know that kids will still find reasons to declare someone's clothing options unacceptable, but this certainly does something at least to get closer to a level playing field. My daughter still finds plenty of alternate ways to express her creativity and individuality. In fact, I can see how taking away the clothing concern has actually given her more freedom and confidence to think and act creatively.
In our house, trying to get four kids dressed, fed and out the door by 8 a.m. is enough of a headache for me. I don't need any additional battles to face that early in the morning. As we continue to weigh the pros and cons of our school options, school uniforms are definitely going in the "plus" column.
Now if we could just come up with a uniform for the weekend...
This is an original post to Chicago Moms Blog. You can see some of the crazy wardrobe choices her kids make when left to their own devices on her blog, tales from the crib. She bemoans their insistence on fashion disasters on Twitter (@mmmyatt). She also writes for Blissfully Domestic.