Back-to-School Shopping Blues
By Patricia Chadwick
Well, it's that time of year again...time for back-to-school shopping.
For a parent of teens, this can be a very time consuming, as well as
expensive, task. I've got three teenagers and sometimes the thought of
this annual event can make me cringe!
Actually, my boys are relatively easy to shop for. My oldest will even
trust me to pick out certain items for him.if they are from the right
store! My youngest, who is now 15, is a clothes-horse, but he's still
pretty easy to please. When I head to Wal-Mart or the mall with these
guys, I know that I can hit a few stores and be home in a few hours.
My daughter is another story. Shopping with her is, well, umm, let's
say it is an adventure. From the time she was a child she was very
particular about her clothes. Things had to fit "just right" and many
items (especially socks and stockings) were often faulted as being
"itchy". And as for shopping for blue jeans, well, lets say that I'd
rather visit the dentist for a root canal. We could spend a whole day
looking for the allusive jeans with just the right "feel". By the end
of the day I'm likely to be wearing a very frazzled look with a temper
to match. "That 100th pair of jeans look PERFECT on you.. buy them or
Now, let's talk stores. Since she was a pre-teen clothes had to be
bought at certain stores or they wouldn't be worn. My daughter soon
learned that if she wouldn't get clothes from Wal-Mart, she had better
save her own money - and look for bargains in the Mall stores if she
were to have any new school clothes for the year.
At first it used to bug me that she would spend $20 on a plain shirt
with some designers name sprawled across it. She'd even spend $25 -
$30 on a pair of jeans - geesh - that's my whole winter wardrobe! But
I came to realize that if she wanted to save her money to buy these
more expensive items, it was really her choice. Every year I give her
a certain amount of money for school clothes that fits our family
budget and anything above that she has to come up with.
At first she would moan and groan about how unfair it was that she had
such a small amount of money to work with when OTHER parents bought
their kids whatever they wanted. *tear*. Soon she learned that she had
to suck it up and deal with it. Either she saved her own money to add
to the school clothes budget, settled for shopping at the local
department stores, or she started school with a pair of designer
jeans, two shirts, and a pair of sneakers.
Over the years, I must admit that my daughter has become and expert
bargain shopper. She still shops at the Mall, but now she shops the
sales and clearance rack. I've even seen her pass by a "must-have"
item because she couldn't justify spending that much of HER money on
one piece of clothing!
Well, time is running out and I've planned our annual event. I have
been practicing my breathing exercises meant for keeping my blood
pressure from rising as I wait patiently for my kids to get the "right
look". My daughter has been working this summer and saved her money to
add to her allotted funds and I've even budgeted money for lunch! I
plan on making this day and "event". And you know what the icing on
the cake is? My daughter ALREADY found her blue jeans! Ahhhhh..life is
good isn't it?
Patti Chadwick is the creator of
Family Tymes. She is also the creator of
History’s Women, an online
magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women throughout
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