Mother and Son Relationship Punctuation Point #126: Fashion A La Mode

Is there anything more special than a mother/son or a father/ daughter bond? The Almighty has surely blessed me because I have experienced both. One as an offspring, the other as a parent.

As most of you know, I am the proud mother of two sons. It’s an amazing experience to be the centre of a child’s world, even knowing that the centre of that world is only leased to you for a short period of time. As a parent, knowing when to edge more towards the circumference of that world is the key to surviving your offspring’s adolescence.

Every mother/son relationship is filled with punctuation points. Those milestones that signify sometimes subtle, sometimes sledgehammer-like changes in the relationship. The points at which there is no returning to what was. I admit I look forward to these punctuation points because, at least in experience, they have generally been positive or have led to something positive. They are also confirmation that as a parent, one is doing one’s job.

Punctuation point #126 is one of these milestones. It’s the point at which a son develops a taste for fashion and a mother’s role as stylist comes to an end. This point is not necessarily marked by a sudden desire in your son to accessorize or colour co-ordinate or emulate a GQ magazine cover, but rather it means that it’s time to leave little boys clothes behind and become the master of one’s own fashion destiny.

David Beckham

In my experience, point #126 is reached somewhere when your son is between the ages of 12 and 15. Of course, there is always the odd would-be David Beckham prodigy who has the metrosexual thing happening at the age of 8, but they grow up to be Justin Bieber and well, let’s not go there shall we?

The thing is, you never really know the relationship has reached point #126 until you have passed it. You will blissfully be buying packets of 15 assorted colour jockeys as you have done many times in the past because your son needs them only to have them shoved at the back of the drawer with him continuing to wear the worn out underwear with the skull motiff that Aunt Clarice gave him as a Christmas present 3 years ago. The jockeys no longer work because point #126 has unknowingly been reached and because he’s your son and you are his mother, he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. He doesn’t know how to break the news to you.

boys underwearRemember how simple life was when your son was 6 years old and you could go out with utter confidence and buy your child’s outfit? How he loathed shoe and clothes shopping and it was all you could do to get him to the mall to try on a pair of shoes. Remember how you used to go out of your way to never buy your son outfits with “skull stuff” on them? Seriously, when my kids were under ten it was an impossible task to find a piece of clothing without a skull or other gruesome Halloween creature on it. Why clothing manufacturers, why? Why do you want a 6 year old to channel their inner Hulk?

Somehow we got through the horror clothing era, testosterone intact and without either of my boys having dewingined any butterflies or ripped anyone’s arms off to arrive at point #126.

Yes folks, we are now at point #126 with my youngest. And true to form, I only know this because we just passed it with an incident involving socks, a T-shirt and a pencil case.

Him: “Just get me a plain blue pencil case, Mum”

Me: ” I thought your older brother’s advice was to stick the one pen you use for school in your pocket”

Him: “Yeah, that didn’t work. I’ve actually got four pens and a calculator”

Me: “Better that then three weddings and a funeral!”

Him: “Huh? Anyway, just don’t get me anything fancy, Mum. I don’t want any stars, skulls [!!!!! – my emphasis] or anything”

So, as part of the MO code and my service to mothers of adolescents everywhere, here are some of the signs that your son is approaching point #126:

  • he starts wanting to shower everyday
  • he starts taking a major interest in deodorant
  • he spends copious time in front of the mirror
  • he wears the same two T-shirts all week, because he now doesn’t like the rest in his drawer
  • he doesn’t have the usual hangdog expression when he receives clothing as a gift
  • he realises that blue and green are not the same after all
  • he knows the difference between coral and pink

clothes colour chart

He can’t quite articulate what type of clothing he likes until sometime after point #126 is reached. The fashion vocabulary and conceptualizing have not yet fully developed. It takes a mother’s keen power of observation, intuition, planning, mastery and all of your five senses to keep ahead of the fashion game during the transition period which ends when your feldging fashion plate is confident enough to fully develop his own sense of style.

One final word of advice, when your mother/son relationship arrives at point #126, it marks the stage at which mothers have to learn to SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! Trust me, voicing your opinion at his choice of grey school socks with white sneakers teamed with camouflage coloured pair of shorts only leads to bad juju. There can be no winners in that contest.

Congratulations, you have now made the move from wardrobe stylist to wardrobe consultant. May the Zoolander be with you!

Have you had the same experience with point #126?Is there a similar point with daughters? What is the most outlandish outfit your child has chosen to wear?

Should Hedonism Be The New Black?

I read a terrific article on the weekend in our local newspaper – yes of the paper variety, remember paper fibre? – entitled “Days of Decadence”. It centered around the question of whether indulging in pleasure for pleasure’s sake can be good for you.

It opened up with the statement that fun is what you do when you are in your twenties and that traditionally hedonistic behaviour – long lunches, late nights, drinking too much, taking drugs and sex – is not considered healthy. The article further states that whilst hedonism, defined in the Oxford Dictionary as the “pursuit of pleasure: sensual self-indulgence”, tends to be frowned upon and signifies a lack of self discipline, its pursuit may just have its place.

I am here to advocate for a little hedonism for those of us in midlife and to make it the new midlife black. Like that little black dress in the back of the closet that you put on every once in a while and which makes you feel like a million bucks when you wear it. The secret of course is to not wear it every day, but as a wonderful indulgence, even when there is no special occasion.

I absolutely refuse to concede that having fun is what you do only in your twenties. Fun is not the sole province of youth, fun is ageless and timeless and more importantly, it is a state of mind, much like age. Most things can be fun and pleasurable if you approach it with the right attitude (OK maybe not root canal or certain medical procedures, except if you are a health professional). Personally, my sense of fun has increased with age and probably has a lot to do with increased confidence and wisdom, loosening up, mellowing out and emerging from that intense stage of having young dependant children. The promise of new, exciting and challenging experiences is heady and every day has the possibility of adventure. There will be plenty of time to lie down when I am six feet under.

Does this mean I am not self disciplined? I am not buying that puppy. Hedonism does not need to be unplanned or extreme. It can be as simple as having a long lunch in the sun, swimming, eating at a fine restaurant, blogging, travelling to new destinations, dancing, listening to music, sleeping in or reading in bed. It is about a little piece of personal freedom and doing the things you love. I advocate ethical hedonism, hedonism without living a harmful life. The key as always is balance and common sense.

I always feel a little bemused when people make comments like “I wasted half a day, I didn’t get out of bed until midday.” To which my response is: “And the problem is……?” Fair enough, if you don’t get out of bed before midday as means of regularly shirking responsibility or avoiding reality. But really, what’s wrong with getting out of bed at midday on a weekend morning, particularly when it’s cold, dark and raining outside after you have been working all week or even if it’s not? What’s wrong with sitting around talking, sharing, reading and laughing whilst the dirty dishes from last night’s dinner are sitting in the sink? That hour or two of bonding is enough to keep you going for weeks and give you plenty of energy and motivation to tackle any amount of dirty dishes, dirty laundry and other associated housework. Why are we conditioned to think that every activity must produce a tangible, positive result or be progress towards a goal?

Engaging in ethical hedonism is not only permitted, but I suggest, should be mandatory. Those who think that life is solely about obligations and achievement are missing out. Life is also about pleasure, the dolce vita and we should not feel guilty about the occasional indulgence. Mothers please take note, you owe it to yourselves and those around you to indulge just a little.

Let us not wake up one morning and think that today is going to be THE day only to discover our health and abilities compromised. Tomorrow may never come and those of us at midlife need to balance out living for tomorrow with our capabilities of today. So come and join me and practice a little ethical hedonism every now and again. You never know, it may even give you a longer, happier life.

Viva La Ethical Hedonism Revolution!

Do you have any little indulgences that keep you going? Is blogging one of them? If so, please share them with us. Do you agree that a little ethical hedonism is essential to a happy life?