Because I Am Your Mom And I Said So

Written by Anne Sawan

Recently there have been several viral news items about teenagers being called out for wearing “inappropriate” clothes to school. Typically the student is called into a private meeting, becomes insulted when the principal points out the obvious (that their nips are visible or their butt cheeks are hanging out) and then the parents get involved, going ballistic and all social media because “Who do you think you are telling my child what to wear! MY child can wear whatever they want, whenever they want, no matter what!”

Huh? What happened to parents not sticking up for their child in the face of idiocy? What happened to telling your child when they are making poor choices instead of supporting the bad ones? What happened to “There is no way in hell you are leaving this house looking like that!” What happened to, “Because I’m your mom and I said so.” #80’sparent

I grew up in the age of Madonna and had a friend that regularly went to school sporting half shirts, micro minis, torn fishnet stockings and heels. I thought she was the coolest girl ever… My mother thought she looked like a hooker. Before school I would sneak behind the garage and change out of my boring jeans into my own hooker/Madonna outfit, until one day I forgot to change back. I think I am still grounded.

What happened to a time and a place? What happened to having rules? What happened to saying, “Listen Honey, I know this may be hard to believe but there are times when some clothing adjustments might need to be made for two simple reasons: common sense and respect. It’s easy really, just think to yourself before you leave the house, where am I going? Am I headed to church? School? Grampy’s 80th birthday party? A job interview? Is it at Hooters or the White House?

I am not conservative (although as I get older and spend more time dealing with adolescents I do wonder about this) or a misogynist and I am looking forward to the first female president however if she shows up to a NATO conference sporting Daisy Dukes and a tube top I will need to question her judgment. Going to the beach? Want to wear a thong? Ok, wear a thong (Wish I could). Want to wear your teeny bikini to school, no. Want to go out clubbing with your besties and wear a miniskirt so short others can admire your grooming practices? Go for it. Want to wear that outfit while you are living under my roof? Hell no.

Why?

Because.

Because I am your mom and I said so.

Don’t worry, I am all for equal rights and believe me if your brother swaggers downstairs wearing low shorts with his derrière sticking out you can bet your free-showing ass I will say the same thing to him that I say to you, “Absolutely not. Over my dead body. Go change.”

I agree with you, my sweet think-you-know-everything-pushing-the-limits- adolescent-child that women should be able to wear whatever they choose without restrictions… except those imposed by their mothers and lucky you, you have me and I can tell you right now no child of mine is going to school with her cheeks sticking out of her shorts or her nipples showing through her shirt, not because of anything a teacher or principal might say, but because of what I, your mother, your parent, will say. Now go change.

About the author

Anne Sawan

Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, writer, runner, psychologist. Reluctant dog-cat-rabbit-chicken-fish owner. Believes in the power of the sun, love, and tequila. Anne's writing has appeared on Bluntmoms, Scary Mommy, Ten to Twenty, Brain-Child, Adoptive Families and Adoption Today. Her first picture book, "What Can Your Grandma Do?" is now available.

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5 Comments

  • Are you actually the parent of a teen? Because my 14yo daughter ( who is 5 foot 10 inches tall) has been pulled out of class for wearing shorts that completly cover her ass, but don’t reach her fingertips. She’s also been written up for wearing a tank top….with two inch straps and a jewel neckline. She’s never been into the Madonna hooker look, ever. So when I get that phone call, you can bet your sweet ass I’m going to have that conversation with the power tripping adult that finds my daughter so distracting that others learning is compromised. You’re clearly unaware of what happens when teachers and staff bring their own morality baggage to school. It’s always girls, and it’s always about power, not what is being worn.

    • This is an entirely different scenario, Jp, if your daughter is being pulled repeated from class there is more to it. THAT would be what I’d be looking at. Why her? What is it that makes her the one singled out? Is the teacher jealous? (i’ve literally said that to a person once who was snidely commenting on a young girls appearance. Is it a man? Is he becoming obbsessed? OR is your daughter a different person away from you? Does she cuff the shorts up until you get there? Is she sitting in her desk legs crossed with her hip cocked, her cheek hanging out? If your stance is its not her, then find out why its happening…..there is a reason, don’t assume she’s innocent until you prove she is….if you haven’t kept at it and brow beat the staff and your daughter then you have no room to complain and it still makes you part of the problem. Talk is just that, talk. Silence Is Consent…….consent for it to keep happening, consent for (whoever) to continue wrong behavior.

    • If there’s a published dress code at your kid’s school requiring shorts to be longer or prohibiting tank tops, and you bust into the school in support of your daughter’s choices which break published rules, then you are definitely THAT mom and are teaching your child that she is privileged and that rules don’t apply to her. (And there is most certainly a published dress coed in a school handbook which you and your daughter probably acknowledged having received in some beginning-of-the-year paperwork.)

  • The year before my daughter started high school, the then Principal tried to enforce a short-shorts dress code. He called no less than 300 girls into the office and would not let them go back to class until they had changed. Needless to say, many of them had no way to obtain a change of clothes so they sat there, missing classes. Parental backlash was ENORMOUS. They have never tried to do anything again. My daughter was terrified beginning her freshman year, not because she was starting high school but because she didn’t want to be busted for any wardrobe mistakes. She is 5’7″ and it was and is very hard to find shorts that don’t look to short on her, even though they aren’t. I was so pissed that my poor girl was afraid of going to school because of clothes!! Now, in college, she wears what she wants and some of the pictures I see I just want to scream “Put on a shirt!!” but she is finally comfortable in her own skin and clothes and for that, I am grateful.

  • Guess what? Rules are rules. If the damn dress code says something, follow it. I went to a school that didn’t allow shorts at all just because of this nonsense. Plenty of kids wear uniforms to school. They live. Wear what the hell you want on your own time but follow the dress code! You people are the exact people the article is about.