Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Project Chicken

The other day my teenage daughter and I were out together. She apparently saw a girl that she deemed somewhat of a fashion victim. She turned to me and said: “You’d think that girl’s mom would tell her that what she’s wearing looks horrible. You’d tell me wouldn’t you?”


More silence.

I finally replied: “Well, honey, it’s a tricky thing because, as you know, I know absolutely nothing about fashion and therefore really wouldn’t be qualified to say what looks good or horrible.” And as I said this, I bit my several places.

I then continued: “You see, many kids don’t want to hear, or don’t care about their parents’ opinion of their clothing choices. It’s a very touchy subject.” I proceeded to look around for the bullet I just dodged.

I think she understood, but I also think I did a really good job of selling her on my response. I don’t always like what she wears, but, according to her, I have absolutely no business saying what does or doesn’t look good. I do draw the line at inappropriate, but beyond that, I gotta tell you, it’s a very, very grey area. Who am I to say that wearing more than one t-shirt seems, well, excessive? And giant sunglasses? Sure, they make girls look like bugs, but hey, they’re hot! Um, OK.

According to a recent AP Poll, 65% of those surveyed said that it is at least sometimes OK to lie when trying to protect someone’s feelings. And folks, I may not know fashion, but I do know that parenting a teenage girl is all about the feelings. Good. Bad. Sad. Happy. You name a feeling and it will fly through your household during the teen years. And if you have a choice, I strongly recommend staying away from the bad and the sad ones, but that’s up to you.

I'm also a big believer in picking and choosing my battles. Hanging around losers and druggies? Big battle. Fashion? A battle I can afford to lose.

When parents talk about whether or not they’re the “mean parent” or the “nice parent,” I always think of myself as the “chicken parent.” Sure, I’m there day after day, and of course I’ll be right there whenever they truly need me, but if there is a sure-fire exit to conflict avoidance, I’m taking it.

So when it comes to matters of couture, you can be sure that the closest I’ll come to commenting is which contestant I prefer on “Project Runway.” Cluck, cluck, cluck.


At 6:42 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

Well said. Bullets dodged. Just take lots and lots of pictures, you know, to help her remember years from now!

At 7:55 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

I never knew you were so adept at skating. Seriously, you navigated that one like a virtuoso. Balance is a concept that works well in interviews, writing, and, as you've shown us here, parenthood.

Our eight-year-old daughter is already showing advanced signs of fashion plate-hood. Her mornings are a flurry of choices, followed by mind-changes, long sessions in front of the mirror, then more trips back to the drawer, the cupboard, or anywhere else she can find fashion inspiration.

I try to be supportive. But what does Old Dad know, right?

I'll keep reading your perspectives. You seem to have just the right approach.

At 9:51 AM , Blogger srp said...

Oh for a handheld tape recorder when you need one!!!!! If only you could have captured that "one time only" question of hers on tape, then when she's ready to leave the house in that "what red light district street corner are you planning to stake out" outfit and you tell her so, you can play her question back to her. No, that would make parenting too easy.

All I can say is..."Thank you God for school uniforms." No designer branding pressure, no unbelievably difficult choices to make and no rib cages showing.

But then those last two years at the math and science high school, living in a dorm, dress codes essentially out the window..... well, let's just say that she was fully clothed, but in pj's with a sweatshirt on top. I think it would have passed if she had left the fuzzy slippers in the dorm room. Sigh!

BTW, my Nyssa has made it past the teenage years.... and I hate to break it to you but so far her taste in clothing hasn't gotten any better.

At 4:27 PM , Blogger Normalcy Overrated said...

I'm with you, I look for that chicken exit whenever I am with my soon-to-be teenage daughters also. I also think that a little fib, to protect your kids is just a-okay.

I like your writing!

At 9:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw that AP Poll this morning and just knew there was a story in there must have been the mom and daughter in the dressing room to next to ours when we went on our "perfect 4th of July shirt" clothing hunt :)

At 8:48 AM , Anonymous Deana said...

I love those big sunglasses myself but my husband swears I look like Charles Nelson Riley! Of course I have a big head so I find them

I think you did a great job with your come back.

Michele says hi. Have a nice weekend.

At 8:48 AM , Blogger Ravvy said...

you know i totally agree - i was a HORROR for my mum, and i look back at pictures where i thought i looked 'cool' and now im like 'if only i wore that hypercoloured t-shirt instead of the full length floral designed catsuit type thing'- well not to those extremes but you know what i mean!
PS - thanks for dropping by and visiting my blog, and for the NICEST comment - did you see the other cute pics i had on their?

PS - via Micheles on my reply - but i was coming anyway :D

At 10:15 AM , Blogger Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Hello Michele sent me.

I agree, picking our battles is wise.

At 10:59 AM , Blogger queen of light and joy said...

I was a "creative kid" to say the least and now i often wonder what my Mom thought about my clothing habits. Although I did live in a house full of kids, I think she was just happy we were dressed when we left the house every morning. heehe
p.s-Michele sent me

At 11:22 AM , Anonymous kontan said...

I have a totally different idea of fashion when compared to my oldest...telling her what doesn't look good, doesn't work.

At 4:49 PM , Blogger mar said...

Via Michele's this time but it is always a treat to visit your blog. Amen. I agree with you . I have a teenager son and I don't say a word about clothing...

At 6:35 PM , Blogger MJ said...

Hanging around druggies vs. fashion is a great way to put it all into perspective... besides, with most teenagers, when a parent says their clothing looks innapropriate, it just encourages them to do it *more*! Sounds like you know how to have real conversations with her instead of "becasue I said so". Very cool. (Hi from Micheles!)

At 7:33 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

You skated well around a sensitive issue, Criticism won't help at all.

Michele sent me here.

At 7:39 AM , Blogger Ravvy said...

i still agree with my post that i wrote up a bit... so i'll just say that once again, here i am from Michele's - and i had a lovely chuckle, yes thanks very much for asking :D

At 2:01 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

Wow. You have great willpower. I would have been doubled over in laughter.

I know I looked ridiculous in high school. But, that was sort of my goal. I was fully aware, at the time, that my parents didn't enjoy my taste in clothing.

But, my Mom did not and still does not seem to know much about fashion. She'd be the last person I'd ask for tips in that department. Although, she never kept her opinion to herself about it like you apparently are able to do.

I still remember when I walked into the room with a baseball cap on backwards and my father asked jokingly "oh, are you catching today?" Implying that only catchers wear their hats backwards to facilitate their mask...

He also still refers to my Doc Martens as "those shoes the retarded kids wear..."

At 2:44 PM , Blogger Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Here from michele's for your brownie recipe.

Pretty please?????

(Was that nice enough?)

At 5:15 PM , Blogger KaraMia said...

a very, very good response I

At 5:41 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, it's all so very personal anyway, BUT, especially with Teenagers, don't you think? Peer pressure and all that? And the fashion of the day will no doubt be our of fashion tomorrow! (lol)

BTW: I was over at Michele's and noticed your Food Recipe--KILLER BROWNIES! Yum! I would love to have that recipe, dear Karen....I LOVE Brownies! Especially ones that have the word KILLER, in front of it! (lol)
Would you? Could you? Share?
My email is: Myrtillo1984 at Yahoo Dot Com! I look very much forward to this major Yum Yum!

At 1:46 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm so glad I visited, too! I have to put you on my blogroll...! I have been really slow about so many peolle on there...I will do it right now!

At 11:17 AM , Blogger Blog This! said...

My mom had only one rule for how I looked in middle school and high school, my bangs had to be less than 4 inches in height. You know, back then the style was bangs that were curled up high on the top of our head. So, my mom had a ruler that she kept near the front door to measure my bangs on my way out to the bus stop. I looked ridiculous. She never told me how awful it looked at the time. I guess she just figured she would control the length and extent of the ridiculousness a bit. LOL. I second taking LOTS of pictures.

At 5:52 AM , Blogger Catherine said...

Yes, let them wear what they want, better to battle only over what is illegal or immoral (or potentially so)
Michele sent me.

At 3:36 PM , Blogger David said...

three or more shirts equals - - - MORE laundry! here from michele


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