If I had to select one feat that has made me a great parent over these couple last years, it is this: my son has never worn a pair of pants without an elastic waist band. Since the day we brought him home from the hospital, he has only worn sweatpants, "jeggings," or leggings. Because those are the pants that are comfortable.
Have you taken a stroll from the girl section of Gap to the boy section? One minute you're in an elastic heaven of soft-touch cottons and fun colorways, and the next you're stuck in a golf-resort boutique by a wall of thick roll-neck cardigans and stiff trousers with trucks on the knees. I mean, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say leggings are generally found in the little girls’ section of a store. Once your son ages out of the baby section, the leggings simply disappear. Not a lot of little boys run around in soft, form-fitting pants that hold tight to the ankle for some reason. But I do not give a damn. Because my son does not need to be held to some (let's be honest: fugly) societal norms about gender and clothing. My son’s only job at this point in life is to grow and move and learn. And he can do that best in polkadot leggings.
I couldn’t imagine sliding soft little baby legs into hard fabrics, with hardware.
Most of the clothes we have for our son are hand-me-downs. Some were free, passed down from family. Many we bought from a friend’s garage sale — we plopped down like 50 bucks for multiple garbage bags filled with baby to toddler-sized clothing. We figured there would be enough in there to outfit our child for a few years. We were right. We sat down and combed through the newborn and early months’ clothing and pulled out things we liked, things we loved, and things that just didn’t seem right. I tossed aside every pair of pants that had a starchy feel — almost all of these also had a button. I couldn’t imagine sliding soft little baby legs into hard fabrics, with hardware. It just didn’t seem right. How would he flip over, and then and crawl, and then run free? Isn't dressing more like a baby Lenny Kravitz more conducive to learning movement?
If you decide to reject the "baby-management-consultant clothing industrial complex" you wind up passing over button-up shirts and miniature cargo pants (why so many pockets, Carters?) for something that inevitably looks like jammies. His clothing is so cozy that we can put him right to bed without always changing him. Sometimes I just straight-up let my son wear his pajamas out.
I had a strong vision of the style I was going to persuade my future daughter to conform to — a mash-up of Pippi Longstocking, Gwen Stefani, and Matilda.
I can admit that even though I actively do not want to give into societal gender norms/constructs, I, of course, do to some extent. Before I knew the sex of my child, I was beyond excited at the thought of dressing a little girl. I had plans to go crazy with her wardrobe. I had a strong vision of the style I was going to persuade my future daughter to conform to — a mash-up of Pippi Longstocking, Gwen Stefani, and Matilda. She would be my fashion plate, and onto her, I would force all the things I had always wanted to wear.
Then, I found out I was having a boy and I threw all my baby fashion dreams into the dump. I decided not to care how he looked. I would choose function over fashion, and comfort over cuteness every day of his life. I would let him be who whoever he wanted to be.
It goes without saying that, since he is still just 2, he hasn’t decided who he will be. He hasn’t even decided he likes sweatpants, jeggings or leggings. He gets placed in the outfits I choose every day; nothing is up to him.
But I am prepared for that to change. He is getting to the point in which he has strong opinions about everything, including the things he wears. I plan to pull out the next set of age-corresponding clothing from the garage sale haul and let him choose the things he wants. I want him to be able to express himself, just like I like to do for myself. And if that turns out to be only pairs of pants with deep creases and metal buttons — and he never pulls on a pair of jeggings again — then so be it.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.