Sunday, September 15, 2013

Whose Shoes?

My children have too many pairs of shoes.

When I was growing up, I typically had three pairs of shoes at any given time. I had school shoes, play shoes, and church shoes. During summer, I might have four pairs of shoes - sandals. Sometimes my play shoes and sandals were one and the same.

It was easy for my parents to tell when I needed a new pair of shoes. One Sunday, my church shoes would feel too tight. That week, we'd buy another pair. If I didn't outgrow my Sunday shoes mid year, I'd get a new pair for Easter.

Same with school shoes. I got new school shoes in September. They almost always lasted all year. To date, I have no idea how my parents accomplished this. I didn't wear tight shoes to school, ever. Were my feet trained to only grow in summer? Did my mother sprinkle something into my food? It was a little bit magical, if I think about it. Maybe she prayed over my feet while I was sleeping.

My kids, though? My daughter has about eight pairs of shoes. My son, maybe six. I'm probably low balling their shoe count, since their shoes tend to hang out in various areas of the house and I don't feel like going on a hunt to count them.

And that's part of the problem. The sheer volume of their shoes, combined with some being downstairs by the door and some being upstairs in the bedrooms and some just being in some wacky place because we're too lazy to organize them... these things make putting on shoes the most stressful part of getting my kids dressed in the morning.

Shoes always go on last. First, we have to go through the motions of collectively deciding that the shoes we can see are adequate choices. At least once a week, I'm asked to traipse through the house, looking for that one elusive pair of shoes that I personally haven't seen in two weeks. Sometimes I am victorious and find the shoes. More often, tears ensue after I either don't find the shoes or refuse to look for them altogether.

(And the above is never about the newest pair of shoes. My kids have no sense of newest equals best when it comes to shoes.)

Also as common: finding a pair of shoes at the last minute, with literally one minute left to get out the door, and realizing that they no longer fit. It is not possible to keep up with which pairs fit and which pairs do not without conducting a nightly fashion show. I decline to start that.

If I downgrade them to a pair of church shoes, school shoes, and play shoes, these things should get easier. I'll know when the school shoes are too small because they'll be wearing them every day. Sounds good to me.

(Of course, I am totally glossing over the guaranteed fail that will occur when the one pair of school shoes is lost in the house, we are in a hurry, and I have to send my kids off to school in patent leather on field day.)

There has to be a system out there that works better than this, and it probably starts somewhere with me taking responsibility and becoming a more organized parent.

Which means it'll be awhile before anything changes.

No comments: