Mum confession: Here is why I'm happy there are NO uniforms in my children's school
Although we have enjoyed a sunny, warmer-than-usual autumn so far, we all know the weather is about to take a turn for the worse in the near future.
Winter is coming, and with it the cold. wind and rain.
Time to pull out the warm clothes.
Before going to bed at night, I usually check the weather app before I made swift decisions about what we all have to wear for the day tomorrow – with the most important factor when it comes to picking outfits being that we will all be warm, dry and cozy.
My children's school have no uniforms, meaning we have utter freedom when it comes to getting dressed – which, for most part, goes a little something like this: leggings, tees (long- or short sleeved depending) and a a cardigan or little hoodie for my little girl, and, for my little boy, jeans, chinos and tees (long-or short sleeved), with something a little warmer over if needed. Done.
Pulling out their clothes is something I usually do the night before, meaning when we all get up, getting dressed it easy, peasy and I know that I don't have to worry about having spesific things washed or dried, because they will always have something in their drawers to wear.
Sometimes they might request a swap – like my little fashion-forward girl might decide she would rather her rainbow t-shirt today, or my little boy will go hunting for his very favourite shorts that have a teeny tiny dinosaur on them – and as long as they don't make a total mess in their drawers while looking for these specidic items, I have no problem with this. In fact, I like that they want to express themselves and love how their little personalities get to shine through in whatever clothes they just love at that moment.
And while I am all about buying fewer and better clothes for myself, and hate the idea of fast fashion – when it comes to my children's wardrobe, the absolute vast majority of their clothes are from H&M, Zara and M&S. Children grow so fast and have a totally different level of wear and tear to their clothes than adults do. And hence, buying designer or very expensive childrens' clothes is pretty much the most idiotic thing I hear of – and, I would assume, is not in the slightest about the kids, but more about the parents needing to show off their ability to purchase these items.
(Image via H&M)
Growing up in Norway, I never wore a school uniform, as they are not really common there at all – in fact, I don't know of any schools that use them. And so when the time came for my own children to start school here in Ireland, I am delighted the school they started at don't use uniforms either. Mostly, I guess, because I don't really see the benefit.
I think, for starters, it all sounds rather stressful, the whole having to make sure everything is clean and ironed, and being limited to only wearing this one item day in and day out, with little or no freedom to dress according to season and weather. Also, the cost of buying the uniforms every year, especially the ones that need a crest and hence cost more – I would rather invest that money in clothing my children can also wear on their own time and that they actually like wearing.
In my opinion, childhood is far too fleeting as it is. And why should this beautiful, amazing time not be highlighted and celebrated – let them wear the rainbow sequins and the fireman t-shirt and the Batman shorts and ALL the colours – that what is so lovely about children, they really do make the world more colourful and fun and alive – so why the heck try to take all this away and dress them all in identical grey or navy (YAWN!) ill-fitting, dead-boring uniforms, with not a scrap of their personality or fun allowed to shine through?
In fact – in an era where diversity is on the rise and schools and society are attempting to teach tolerance and positive awareness of differences, does requiring schoolchildren to wear uniforms just work to emphasize sameness and conformity? To me, uniforms seem to encourages the idea that having independent thought is not a good thing, and sends the message that being the same is positive and something to be striven for, rather than a message that differences and independent thought and action should be valued.
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To be honest, when it comes to dressing my kids, my first and foremost concern has always been comfort – and practicality – which again, I guess, comes from my Scandi background, where children, both when they are in creche and school, spend a lot of time outdoors. Creches and schools have large and diverse playgrounds and outdoor areas, where kids are encouraged to run and climb and explore and have fun.
I would always rather that my kids are comfy, warm enough and have clothes that don't limit movement or adventure than that they look "pretty" or conformed. School days are long, and it is important to me to know that I am sending my kids to school in clothes that they are comfortable in, that they don't have to worry about getting dirty or ruined and that they feel happy and good in.
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Surely this can only be a positive thing for learning and their overall school life too?