Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Usually when I have to go back to school shopping, I try to take one kid at a time, but now that we’ve moved to AZ, and we have no one else around to watch the other kids, we’ve been hitting the stores together, all four of us. I’m trying to make it as fun as possible, but we know how much boys like to shop, right? NOT AT ALL! Although now that Ajers is almost 13, he enjoys oogling the girls while we are shopping, so that’s a plus! At least I don’t have to drag him out of the house anymore. He jumps when I tell him it’s time to go shopping!

I have found that there is a completely different mindset when it comes to boys and girls and shopping and trying on clothes, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s a perfect example of what happened while shopping the other day with Ajers. First, he couldn't find the fitting room even though I pointed it out to him. "Mom, that's the ladies fitting room." Apparently, he could only look to his right because oh boy, look to his left and there you have it, the men's fitting room! I asked him to try on some stuff. He comes out with a pair of shorts on.

"Those look nice. What about the shirt?"

"Uh … I'll go try one on."

Why don't boys try on a WHOLE outfit at once when trying clothes on? Meanwhile, Tukey is frustrated because, at almost nine, and with a new nickname of “The Beast,” he is just big enough that he no longer fits into the XL in the kid section but the Men's Small are just too big for him, so he's not finding anything. There's a mope fest going on.

And Diva, who is the epitome of “Tween Angel” at eleven, just wants expensive stuff now. And with the way she is oogling the latest hot styles, and how her eyes bulge out any time we're near a shoe department (where the heck did she get this shoe fetish, and how are we now practically the SAME SHOE SIZE?), I've also got to get a budget in place!

I want a latte; or better yet, a nice glass of chardonnay and a personal shopper to do this for me!

These are some of the challenges that I’m now facing as a mom to three kids who all need clothes for school! We’re all looking for something more in our shopping excursions, and it's time that I branch out a bit, so I've got to seriously enlist my shopping strategies!

Here's the MaNiC list of musts and must nots:

~The kids MUST try on the clothes I am buying for them. I'm not lugging everything home only to find out that nothing fits and we have to do this all over again.

~We MUST agree on what's appropriate clothing. Yes, I want them to define their personalities, but No, I'm not going to let them wear some crazy Goth psycho stuff. A skull here and there in good taste is fine (yes, it's POSSIBLE to find tastefully designed skull clothing, I swear!), but no head-to-toe black skull and crossbones!). And ONE Jacob t-shirt is OK, even though I'd much prefer an Edward t-shirt -- but it's NOT me going back to school now, is it?

~We MUST not throw a fit if I say no to something. If we do, we're outta there and they can wear what they wore last year. Besides, we just moved here. No one is going to know that they're wearing last year's clothing anyway. My kids know we have to compromise on what we're buying, and they also know I'm NOT going to give in.

~We MUST NEVER BUY FULL PRICE. Sorry, but I refuse to do this. I'm not a crazy sale shopper, but come on! It's NOT necessary to purchase anything full price. In fact, this brings me to my next tip ...

~We MUST explore whatever is ON SALE. You can get about 75 percent more items by scouring those sales racks. Mr. Manic has shopped with Ajers and Tukey on like two occasions (because I won't let him take them anymore!), and while he thinks he comes home with some good sale items, he still pays TOO much for stuff that doesn't last the boys very long. HE DOESN'T SHOP VERY WELL!

~We MUST withhold our need to buy items because “everyone else is wearing it too Mom!” I really want to instill in my kids that they’ve got their own fashion-sense and they don’t need to follow the pack in order to fit in.

~ We MUST not go crazy over shoes. None of the kids can EVER have shoes that cost more than mine do. And I don't think I've ever spent more than $40 on a pair of shoes. Not lying here. Told you I'm not a shoe freak.

~ We MUST show a little bit of our personalities, and have fun while shopping, because if you're not having fun, and if you're not comfortable in what you wear, and if you don't exude your personality in your clothing, then what's the point? And on that note, here are a couple of Diva's latest finds ... think she'll win 'em over at her new school?

People, it’s really all about balance. Remember growing up and DYING for that Levi’s jean jacket that EVERYONE owned, or begging your parents for the pair of $54 Jordache jeans? Well, I never got THAT pair of jeans, but I did end up with a very nice pair of Gloria Vanderbilts, the next best thing (well, maybe that pair wasn’t THE very next best thing, but somehow, my mom had convinced me that it was. And I survived!) -- BARELY!
If you want more tips than what MaNiC MoMMy has to offer, then check out this No Tears Shopping Guide!

Want to get in on a Community Discussion? Clothes Wars 2010

And here are 10 Things a Teacher Wants You to Know! Cuz, yeah, they don't call 'em teachers for nuthin!


Heidi @ Decor & More said...

Well said! Wait until they're all teenagers-- it just about breaks the bank to get them all outfitted and I am a bargain shopper extraordinaire!! Look on the bright side, though-- no need for wool sweaters and winter coats this year!

csobie said...

What color were your Gloria Vanderbilts? I hope the new school year brings the Manic family much relief and happiness!! xoxo

Shelley said...

I have trained my two teenage girls to automatically head for the back of any store in the mall, where the clearance racks are. I agree, paying full price is for suckers! (And those of us who are independently wealthy, which I am not.)

Melissa said...

Thanks for the tips. I am just happy shopping at the thrift store for my kids who are almost 5 and 2 1/2 (next month for both). :) I'm sure I'll be in your shoes soon enough though.

Making It Work Mom said...

I am taking my three shopping on Friday (10 and 4 are girls and 8 is a boy). I will keep your Manic list in mind while we are out.
I also have one more rule - we do very limited shopping before school. I will buy them a more extensive winter wardrobe in mid October when they have finished all growth spurts and when they have a good idea of what they really want to wear this year!!

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I took the kids out today for shoes and tried to remain calm as Ajers and Tukey got a little out of hand making fart noises and being a bit obnoxious, and focused on my list. Csobie--my Glorias were plain blue--BORING!

Making it work mom--I agree--don't by the hard-hitting stuff til later, when the weather changes; although I don't know how much winter gear I will ever need now!

ALSO, I am fearing the new shoes for Tukey might have already given him a blister--SHOPPING FAIL!

eatmisery said...

Great article on "10 Things a Teacher Wants You to Know." I linked to it on Facebook. I'm a teacher and I couldn't agree more!

Unknown said...

Okay so you know how back to school shopping its TONS of fun when they are little and its new...(Luckily I am still in the fun stage, but friends of mine are not...) They are still just as opinionated but its cute right?? Then we get older, they get older and inevitably you have to survive it rather than enjoy it... except that shopping is ALWAYS fun for me, unless I dont' find anything to buy! haha so anyhow... my daughters school had to actually call parents because kids didn't show up. The parents were all "what? school started! You're joking, it hasn't started.." I was floored when I found this out.. I mean HOW DO YOU MISS BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING? I do not understand... Do you live in a cave? Do you not get mail telling you about the bus routes? Imagine the back to school shopping then... when there is nothing left, as it has all been picked over? YIKES... haha had to share!

Linda said...

It can DEFINITELY be challenging to go shopping with the kids! It wasn't always possible to shop with the girls individually, but when I could, that was the best and least stressful way to go. They've always had very different shopping styles and needs. But as a working mom, we often had to shop as a group. I quickly learned to take breaks before the burnout started and to stop shopping if anyone was getting cranky. I also knew that there would be times that I would disagree on what was flattering, but that it was important to gently voice my opinion and then drop it if they didn't agree. I knew my days of selecting their clothes and dressing them were long gone. The girls knew that I loved finding a bargain and using my coupons even more. As a result, they are both very savvy shoppers and have over the years figured out what looks good on them and are not slaves to the latest fashion trends. Mostly, the memories of shopping together are good ones...the walking, talking and wandering.