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Am I spending too much on my kid's appearance?

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

You guys, I think I'm making a huge mistake with my 4-year-old daughter.

I'm pretty sure I'm spending way too much time, money and attention on my daughter's appearance and I think it might not be the best thing for her. But not for the reasons you might imagine.

Let me explain.

While other girls are getting a normal Macy's Easter dress, this is the one I asked my mother to buy for my daughter. It looks simple and it is, but an $88 Kate Spade dress is ridiculous for a toddler in my world.

The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

Image: Kate Spade

My daughter doesn't know Kate Spade from a hole in the ground and just wants to wear the same stuff as her friends. She doesn't care. I do. Dressing up my daughter is my fun, my hobby. For birthdays I get Baby Gap gift cards. Grooming and dressing my beautiful girl is my greatest joy. But I think I might need a new hobby. Here’s why...

Let me preface all this by telling you my mother buys most of the big-ticket items. She has one granddaughter and she’s not afraid to swipe her credit card ‘til it smokes to give her grandbaby the very best. So it's not like I'm funding this whole fashion show, by any stretch of the imagination.

But aside from the ridiculous cost of buying Mini Boden cashmere sweaters and Dr. Martens for preschool, I think it's giving her teachers the wrong idea.

The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

Image: Alexa and Alexa

I walked up to the school to pick up my daughter one day and the teacher’s aides were taking pictures of my daughter's new pink Birkenstocks to send to their friends. And at that moment it struck me, do I really want my kid's teachers paying attention to her shoes? Nope. I'd really like them to focus on her reading and counting and learning to play with others. Not set her apart for something she has absolutely zero control over — her stupid shoes.

The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

Image: Alexa and Alexa

The clothes, although fun for me, are a distraction from what’s really important, the girl inside them.

Also, I'm starting to notice that because I’m drawing so much attention to my daughter’s exterior, I'm sending the unintentional message that we’re obsessed with the exterior. And so, out of kindness and appreciation, my daughter constantly hears a chant from everyone she meets of, "You’re so pretty!" or "Look at your beautiful dress!"

I’m trying to raise a girl who knows the value of her character and her mind and her heart, not the value of a Stella McCartney romper. This is her childhood I’m trying to put together here, not some elaborate game of dress up, right?

The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

Image: Nordstrom

So now, I've decided: I'm going to spend a little less time (and money) dressing up my daughter like a life-sized doll. They say dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Do you think they make judge's robes in 5T?

The problem with spending too much time and money dressing and grooming your kids

Image: Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr

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