Recently my husband and I took the girls back to school clothes shopping. There are many reasons to hate back to school clothes shopping: the prices, the crowds, the god awful styles that are pushed onto teenagers. While that might be the exact reason why my husband hates B.T.S clothes shopping there are a few other sentiments that B.T.S. clothes shopping brings up for me: dread, resentment, and remorse. I sound like a miserable mom, right? Right? I know, it sounds like a pretty bad day at my house, but allow me to explain.
I don’t dread taking the girls shopping. Actually I have always loved buying things for other people, so I enjoy witnessing the reckless spending spree that the girls get to have. But the dread comes from the painful and restrictive attitude we as parents have to take to reign in that spree into something more controlled that meets our budget. Because of those prices being what they are, we can budget in what seems like a fortune, but in reality, $500 barely buys a weeks worth of new clothes for two teenagers. Spread that out over the remainder of summer, drag it into fall and winter, and, well… let’s just say we will have to buy more clothes because we walked away with two pairs of jeans, a pair of shoes, three or four shirts and that’s it, per kid. Fortunately the girls like resale shops, but that is a hit and miss shopping day in our little town. What I dread is not the outing itself, rather I dread the impact on my checkbook.
Resentment comes from seeing my hard earned money be spent on someone other than me. I know it’s childish and not at all maternal but I want new clothes! I want to spend my money on me. Not all the time, but specifically I feel that way at the cash register. Hey, don’t judge me… I never said my reasons weren’t selfish, but they are my reasons and if you feel at all the same, it’s okay! You’re human, and that is why teens get jobs, so that you can buy yourself a shirt if you want to. By the way, I usually sneak in a pair of shoes for myself. It doesn’t always stifle my frustration, but it helps.
But the remorse, oh the remorse is the worst part. The remorse comes from balancing the checkbook;writing in those receipts after the fact… adding it all up and fighting the urge to return it all. Weighing the value of the jeans against the amount of my 401K contributions, the balance sheet of my B.T.S clothes shopping excursion turns into a reminder at just how much more work my husband and I have to put into planning ahead. And it makes me sad. It really does. It makes me sad that we live in a society where shoes that cost $5 to produce can be $45 and still be butt ugly. Sad that you can pay $25 (which is a steal by the way) for jeans that have holes in them. Holes! We are now paying for pants that are already falling apart. It just makes me sad, and a little scared, and then it makes me realize that I better start saving for Christmas.
In the end, the girls will look fantastic, my credit card company is a little happier with me, and I am gonna wear the hell out of those shoes until next time. The moral of today’s message is that you’re allowed to feel whatever you want during this time of year, but try not to let it break you (or your bank book).
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