Scenes From A Preschool Hallway

Dear fellow mom at preschool,

Please explain to me why your three-year old daughter is wearing earrings and a training bra? Why does she show up at school with lipstick smeared on her lips, teetering in shoes with chunky high heels?  She loves the sparkle, the attention, the girlieness of it all.  But you strapped her into her car seat, all dolled up, and left the house like that?

The teacher and I exchange questioning glances.  This sweet little girl can barely speak in full sentences, still carries a stutter from toddlerhood, yet here she is in platform shoes. Another day, she’s in a yellow sundress with tiny high heel shoes.  I’m at a loss.  Is this some sort of new trend I missed?  I find it alarming and off-putting.  What kind of message are we sending our children when we dress them like tiny women?

My own daughters run and play and dig and explore.  They don’t wear makeup or training bras or high-heeled anything.  They go barefoot. They get dirty.  They are innocent, not well versed in the ways a woman must work and conform to be accepted by society.  I plan to keep that door closed to them as long as I’m able.

There is plenty of time for pierced ears and eye shadow, push-up bras and teetering shoes.  Not now.  Now is the time to be a kid, to look for tadpoles, to swing and make sand castles and jump rope. To learn about constellations and outer space and wishing on a star.  To scribble and draw, glue and tape, paint and sew.  To get lost in a book, laugh at a cartoon, bake zucchini bread with their mama, be sung to sleep, rocked quietly at night and cuddled after a fall.

There will be plenty of time to be a grown up, to get serious, to pay the bills and feed the cat.  But that time is not now.  Not today.  Not just yet…




  1. The practical side of me wonders if this was the easiest way to get the child out the door. There was a time when getting out of the house was a big deal if I had to negotiate wearing regular clothes vs. the Spiderman costume.

    The one thing I on which I wouldn’t compromise, if I was the other mom, is the shoes. High heels really aren’t good for anyone in the long term. I wouldn’t want to ruin my child’s legs while she’s still developing.

    1. I totally agree. My girls have left the house in dress-up clothes or pajamas. We all have those days. What really threw me was the training bra and heels. And it wasn’t a one time occurrence. It was every day. But I try to remind myself we all have our own unique struggles. After I posted this I wondered if this mom had other things going on behind the scenes. It’s easy to judge, yet difficult to imagine what’s going on behind closed doors. I’m waiting for the day my son leaves the house dressed as a super hero. It’s around the corner! 🙂

      1. Oh, my. All I can think with regards to the training bra is my older sister looking at my 11-year-old self in confusion and saying, “But you don’t need one!” I didn’t understand that it was supposed to serve a purpose, which makes me feel kind of sad for the little girl you mention.

        Maybe she thinks that wearing a bra – even a training bra – made her more grown up. Personally, I would have used that as a teaching moment, because I worry about the messages girls get regarding their image. It seems more insidious than what boys deal with.

        Superhero costumes are awesome, though. Sometimes, people gave us strange looks and I just laughed and admitted, “I’m a little jealous, actually! When he does it, it’s all in fun. If I do it, people wonder if I have a few screws loose!”

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