Thank you for joining us for Views on Back-to-School! VolunteerSpot is honored to be featuring guest posts from our favorite bloggers about back-to-school. Today, please welcome Ciaran Blumenfeld, author of the blog Momfluential where she writes about her insights into parenting, pop culture, recipes, crafts, and more. This Tuesday, Ciaran discusses the ritual of the "first day of school" outfit and it's transformational powers. Thanks Ciaran!
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A Fresh Start
By Ciaran Blumenfeld
Did your parents take you shopping for a new outfit for the first day of school?
In my house the first day of school outfit was practically a religious ritual. Head to toe newness. No compromises. No wearing the shoes the week before to break them in. Perhaps this is why I still associate blisters with the first day of school. Small price to pay however, for the thrill of making yourself over on a yearly basis.
The outfit was more than just clothing. It was representative of who you were going to be that year. It was your one chance to break out of the mold, reset the clock, emerge fresh and anew as a preppie, a punk or a bohemian free spirit. Even if you’d been a card carrying member of the geek club for the last three years.
So much happens over the summer. New kids move to town. Growth spurts change you from pudgy to lanky. Braces are put on, or removed. You go to camp. You dance with a boy. You discover eyeshadow. You cannot remain unchanged.
A new school year is a blank notebook, a fresh start. The new outfit therefore, made perfect sense. The first day of school, as they say in reality TV talk, was the “Big Reveal”.
My own girls love to shop for their mom-mandated outfits but it’s not quite the same as when I was their age. Constant connectivity via computers and cell phones have made the shopping experience more of a group exercise, rather than one you’d share with your mom and a close friend or two. The reinvention of self loses some of it’s impact when a few hundred of your friends all see your outfit choices on Facebook and place their votes on punk vs retro before you’ve even left the dressing room. This is where too much information is not necessarily a good thing!
I’m a little nostalgic for that fresh sense of possibility that existed for me as a kid each new school year, which is why I’m urging my kids to stay offline a little bit more than usual at the end of summer. Start the year fresh that way, I say. Give yourself a little space to surprise your friends.
Who knows, you may just surprise yourself as well!
Question for Parents: Do you sometimes feel the New Year, New You phenomenon hit you with the new school year, even though you’re not the one going back to school? Is this the year you become the room mom? The class photographer? The party mom who bakes the cupcakes? It’s never too late to reinvent yourself, is it?