I never thought I'd become the mom who allowed her children to look like ragamuffins. But, much to my chagrin, I am that mother. I try not to be obsessive over what the kids wear (aside from cleanliness, my primary stipulation is simply that the top and bottom pieces don't clash), but I admit that it's sometimes hard for me to swallow the kids' chosen ensembles.
The practical side of me won't spend much on my boys' clothing, either, for it is usually stained, torn, or destroyed in some other manner before it is outgrown. Zachary, for instance, once took a pair of scissors to the cuffs of the shirt he is wearing today. I have sewn up the slices with matching thread and the damage isn't super noticeable to the casual observer, but I'm still not sure whether to pass down the Frankenstein-seams shirt to Tyler when the time comes. Poor Tyler is already afflicted with the curse of perpetual hand-me-downs, so putting super-sad items into the box of his future seems to add insult to injury.
One thing I have completely stopped saving is shoes. After age four or so, daily wear and tear renders them pretty tattered and pathetic. Tyler is wearing the last pair of shoes I saved in the hand-me-down box. He's only worn them a couple of months, but they are completely falling apart.
Zachary has worn these shoes since September. The Velcro won't stay closed, traction is nonexistent, and holes are sprouting.
A couple of weeks ago, the boys and I visited an outlet mall in Castle Rock. Our objective (besides browsing the girly sections of all the baby clothing stores) was to buy Zachary a pair of running shoes. He joined a running club at school and we felt that dedicated footwear would serve him best. We came home with this bargain pair (a size four if you can believe it).
As excited as Zach was about his new footwear, both he and Tyler were pretty upset that they didn't get new everyday shoes that day. After seeing the photos above, can you blame them?
Here's my reasoning. Their current shoes, though very sad indeed, still fit. In a couple of months, summer weather will move us into sandals 24/7. I'd rather wait until August to buy new sneakers for the school year. Am I crazy? Mean? A slave to frugality? Perhaps all of the above. But until someone bolsters my checking account, it's ragamuffins all around.