Do you spend more money on your kids’ clothes than you do on your own?

There is a saying I love, “A mother is someone who, upon seeing there are only 4 pieces of pie for 5 people, promptly announces, ‘I never did care much for pie.’” The selflessness of motherhood comes through in many ways, some good for us and for our families, and some unnecessary and ultimately damaging.

When one of my kids are cold, or need something soft to lay their head on for a nap on a road trip, I’ll hand over any article of clothing, even if it means being freezing or uncomfortable. I am sure this reminds them they are my priority, and I would gladly go without to make sure they have what they need. This makes them feel loved and safe.

On the flip side, I have given up many a moment to myself to literally jump up to take them somewhere they want to go. I cancel social plans of my own to accommodate their busy lifestyle. I am not sure the message this sends is a positive one. Might it be dangerous for them to think they are the center of the universe? The world will not cater to them as I do. And, every mother needs some down time, even if it means saying no.

A similar thing happens when I am shopping for clothes. I have a tendency to be frugal when it comes to my own attire, because I don’t want to waste the money on myself. Yet, when my girls need something new, I am always tempted, and often give in, to make sure they have the latest. All my kids had Uggs before me. I know I am not alone.

Why do moms do this?

–  Our children are a reflection of us. If they look good, maybe it makes us look better … without having to diet.

–  Adolescence is a difficult time. Maybe the right jeans or the right shoes will make it a little easier.

–  While the latest style may not look great on us, kids look adorable in anything.

–  We are still playing dress up. Only now, our dolls are living and breathing.

–  We don’t feel good about the way we look, but we all think our kids are the cutest thing since E.T.


While splurging on your kids is natural and often fun, remember there isn’t a prize for the one who sacrifices the most for her kids. Remember:

–  You deserve nice things too.

–  Clothes that cost a little more often fit better and last longer. Your kids will outgrow theirs. Yours can be part of your wardrobe for years.

–  Kids are happier when they are comfortable and can get a little dirty.

–  Even the best jeans won’t allow them to sail through middle school. Adolescence will always be hard, regardless of attire.

– Your children need to respect you as an individual with needs and desires. It is O.K. to buy something fabulous for yourself and say “No” to your kids once in a while.

Undeniably, your children reflect back on you, but it is critical to a healthy parent child relationship to maintain individuality. When I do for the kids and go without, my husband enjoys calling me Joan of Ark. Things didn’t turn out too great for Joan. Be careful about giving your children more because you are trapped in a martyrdom mode of thinking. Parenting is about love and respect. Save the sacrifice for when it is really necessary. Break out the hand me downs for the kids, and go buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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