Public School Mama In A Sea Of Plaid :: Embracing The Catholic School Uniform Culture
Sea of Plaid
As the summer is coming to an end, the anticipation of a new school year is giving me all the nostalgic feels. My son is certainly not feeling the vibe (he’s only four, so he really has no clue what’s about to happen), but I am having fun reliving all the giddiness of school supply shopping, labeling everything (and I mean everything – I may have started labeling things that don’t intend leaving the house), and reading and re-reading the “Welcome to Catholic School” packet sent by his new teacher.
But there is one very distinct difference that this public school mama alum has never experienced – uniforms.
Fashion Freedom to Uniform Rules
As I devoured the school handbook and made note of all the school closings (this is NOT a daycare schedule), I got to the dress code page. A whole chart of acceptable colors and styles, down to the shoelaces. I looked over the boys’ uniform policy as visions of morning meltdowns filled my head.
This kid hasn’t worn a collared shirt since Easter. His daily uniform for basically two years has been stained dinosaur t-shirts and whatever pair of shorts fit and are (hopefully) clean. Tucked-in heather grey polos will be a “fun” challenge.
After 10 months of socks and crocs, I finally got him to wear a real pair of tennis shoes on the condition they were the color blue he wanted. And unfortunately, it’s not a school-approved blue.
And I have no idea how I will convince him to wear pants on Mass day. He prefers “comfy” pants.
And then I glanced at the girls’ uniform policy. While I have two years for my daughter to start Catholic school, I feel like I may need that time to wrap my head around all the things she can’t wear. How she won’t be able to wear her colorful stack of bracelets, paint her nails, or wear her favorite pink Hey Dudes.
It’s not like wearing a uniform was a surprise – I just pictured more of a Gossip Girl type vibe. I went to public school before uniforms were implemented statewide, so in my day (ahem), school was show-and-tell for your favorite outfit and the newest trends. It was a place to show off your individuality and uniqueness. Sure, they had a “guideline” of what they didn’t want you to wear, and of course, as a rebellious and often outspoken kid, I complained about the dictatorial length of my shorts or flip-flops being unacceptable.
Mad for Plaid
My Catholic alum friends say how great it was not to have to think about what to wear to school (blasphemy, if you ask me) and how easy uniforms are for their Catholic school-going kids now. Two weeks out from sending my kid off into the sea of plaid, I’m still not convinced, but hoping to find peace in the conformity and routine.
As this is only a preview of how Catholic school will be, I’m sure more Catholic vs. public school idiosyncrasies will pop up that I will have to get used to. Stay tuned.