Mothers of Tweens UniteBy Maureen Hardegree
I like to think I’m a reasonable person, and most people will tell you I’m pretty level-headed except perhaps when it comes to neighbors’ dogs pooping in my yard (If you’re interested in that rant; it’s in the WNP blog archives). But a couple of days ago, I took my soon-to-be sixth-grade daughter shopping for shorts. She grew several inches this year, so last year’s shorts didn’t fit. She didn’t want Bermudas or anything that looked like something I or her grandmother would wear. I didn’t take offense. She has capris that do fit, and she informed me they weren’t shorts. Apparently, when you’re close to twelve, you must explain the obvious to your mother because, as we all know, mothers become brainless wonders who understand nothing until their daughters become mothers. But I digress.
In the car we agreed that a mid-thigh length short was acceptable. I thought we might actually have a frustration free shopping excursion. After all, we weren’t looking for bathing suits. The problem, you ask? The shorts in the Juniors’ departments throughout the mall were either Bermuda length or far, far shorter. I’m sorry, but shorts that start three inches BELOW my daughter’s navel and require a Brazilian wax aren’t what MOTHERS of Tweens (who pay for those shorts, might I remind you) are looking for. And if the extremely low waist band wasn’t enough to give me a brain hemorrhage, the way these denim shorts barely came past her butt cheeks certainly were. I don’t want my daughter to look sexy. I even said it out loud, so loud that the salesclerk and several other shoppers looked at me as my daughter and I returned the shorts to the display rack.
I don’t understand the disconnect. Why don’t clothing manufacturers and buyers for department stores understand that many children today go through puberty at earlier ages than their parents did? These Tweens cannot fit into children’s clothes, but the Juniors’ departments’ clothes are often much too sexy for girls aged eleven to fourteen. Some of what I saw I wouldn’t even want my daughter to wear at twenty-one! I want her to look fashionable, but I refuse to buy supershort shorts. Do you hear me? Give me modesty, or give me a sewing machine! I don’t want to resort to sewing my daughter’s shorts, but I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it.
My on-the-spot solution for the day—athletic clothing. The shorts were an agreeable mid-thigh length. They covered all parts that should be covered. They were comfortable. And she liked them even if they weren’t on the cutting edge of fashion. So mothers of Tweens unite. Refuse to buy “bootylicious” shorts for your daughters this summer. Let your voices be heard.