Dear retailers, you will not steal my kid’s innocence

I don’t know how it happened but somehow it did, once again I made that “list” of notable mom bloggers, granted I still stand by my belief that I am not a mom blogger. I am just a blogger who also happens to be a mom. That said, I appreciate being recognized for this little space, it’s nice to know that someone other than my husband reads this blog.  However the timing is perfect since today I am wearing my mom hat in this space.

December is hands down the busiest and scariest time in my professional life; non-profits are all clamoring to raise year-end funds which is pretty much my chief job these days. It’s made scarier by the fact that dollars are becoming scarcer as people simply lack the means to help, yet more and more people are in need of help. Throw in the fact that the calendar says we are supposed to be happy and cheerful during the winter holiday season and it’s enough to drive anyone a little batty.

Then if life wasn’t already hectic for me as I strive to raise money at work and manufacture good cheer, add in the fact that my daughter has her annual holiday concert. In theory the holiday concert should be a source of joy after all my lovely kiddo gets to participate in the one extracurricular activity I can tolerate…singing.

In recent years we have tried a range of activities for the seven year back when I was caught up in the prevailing belief that kids need extracurricular activities since boredom is no longer considered a sufficient activity. Local dance classes make me ragey, since the end goal always seemed to be making the girls (always girls never any boys) look like future beauty pageant contestants. We tried drama but the drama program was interesting…. and I am pretty sure sports won’t ever be in our future since the level of parental involvement needed surpasses my parental patience level. So singing is a nice safe activity, right?

The local chorus is ran by a woman who knows her shit and is an activity I more or less can tolerate except for wondering do the people who choose the schedules ever hold outside jobs. 6pm class sessions seem to forget that parents hold jobs and the family likes to eat…whatever, now the kid gets a weekly dose of McDonald’s, so she is happy. A happy seven year old means a happy Mom, so it’s all good or not?

Well this Mama was real happy until last night when I went to get the seven year old a dress to wear to the holiday concert this weekend. It seems we are in the midst of a growth spurt and suddenly all her cute dress up clothes barely fit, so off we went  after a grueling day on the plantation…oops, my office to get a dress. A task that I figured would be quick and painless; little did I know the joke was on me.

My daughter has crossed over from a size 6x to a size 7-8 depending on the fit of the clothes but somehow along the way, the makers of girls clothing have decided that when a girl moves into a size 7, that clearly she is almost a grown up and should dress like one. I am sorry I have a huge problem with this.

Our first stop last night was Kohl’s, a nice inexpensive store that generally offers a good selection of clothing. Imagine my surprise when I found the size 7 and above and instead of being greeting with cute age appropriate clothes for my kiddo, I saw mini cocktail dresses that were quite clingy. What the hell?

See, that man’s face, he was not a happy camper.

The man unit and I went through all the racks and found not a single dress that we felt was age appropriate for the girl, the dresses were all sexualized and designed to show off non-existent curves and frankly just inappropriate as hell. The funny thing is we looked back at the 6x and under racks and saw clothing that seemed age appropriate. Did I miss the memo? Are 7 year olds considered teens? I think not.

Needless to say we left Kohl’s without buying anything. Next stop, TJ Maxx, and sadly the scene repeated itself, not a single solitary age appropriate holiday dress but plenty of clingy, sexy dresses for little girls. At this point the girl child was getting upset and so was I but for very different reasons.

Our last stop was Target and once again the scene repeated itself though I will say the size seven clothing at Target was a smidge less sexualized but still not age appropriate for a seven year old second grader. Instead the size sevens at Target looked more appropriate for a girl in junior high school again not a second grader.

Now there are some moms out there like the fabulous Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals who have spent plenty of time calling out those who attempt to steal our children’s youth and innocence, but I have never been one of those moms. But I have to say after last night’s eye opening (non) shopping experience, I may have to become more vocal on this issue.

I do know where I can find clothing that is age appropriate for my daughter but it hardly seems fair that I will have to spend more cash to get my kid dresses that are practical and age appropriate by using retailers such as Hanna Andersson. Why the rush to make kids especially girls grow up so damn fast? I know with my son, I never had these issues, I was the sole buyer of his clothes until he hit 8th grade and started making his own choices and not once did I come across age inappropriate clothing when he was 7.

Better yet what about folks who truly cannot access higher end retailers, do their girls have no choice but to look like mini teenagers? Sorry, I call bullshit and shame on retailers who traffic in stealing the youth and innocence of our kids, it will not be happening on my watch. In the meantime with a time limitation, I will be hitting the local second hand shops to find my girl a suitable dress for this weekend’s concert.