Tina gives the final interview on the topic of Clothing Children.
1. As a woman and a mum you fill a variety of roles everyday. Can you describe some of those roles?
I am a stay at home mum to 3 boys. I do the housework, care for the boys, homeschool the older two, cook meals, do the shopping. I also help out at our church in a couple of roles and teach bible in schools once a week at our local school.
2. Who is in your family?
My husband, Chris, my three boys, William 6, Samuel 5 and Benjamin 3 and I.
3. What is important to you about the clothes your children wear? Does your philosophy, approach to life or ethical choices affect your children's clothing?
I grew up in a home where money was tight and we never ever got to have the trendy clothes or the latest brand that everyone else was wearing and it never really bothered me. While our family is financially ok it continues to be a value for me that having the latest brand item is not important. While from time to time we have bought the boys items with favourite disney characters, we have not bought anything that is brand fancy just because that is what others are all wearing. I realise this is easier to achieve in one sense at this age as the boys are not yet aware of brands but it can be consuming for a mother to have her kids wearing the latest trend and I have done my best to stay away from that kind of spending on clothes.
I love hand me downs and make the most of those. Every 6 months as a new season begins we go through our clothes and sort them by fit, if a pair of trousers no longer fits the oldest it goes to the next boy and so on. Then clothes no longer needed get passed on. We share with my sister's family and she with us. I rarely buy new items, though we are given new items by my husband's mum quite often. I don't like the idea of buying expensive clothes and avoid it but I also want to know where the clothes are made and what the worker's conditions are. However I find that at the end of the day that is one really difficult issue that I have not come close to solving.
4. How do you approach the following factors when making decisions in clothing your children? * when to replace clothing * where you go to find or buy clothes * how much money to spend * issues to checkout while choosing their clothes * what the child wants and like * your own personal taste * any other factors.
I replace clothing when it has holes in it, is badly stained or no longer fits. I mostly go to friend's for hand me downs to replace or I go to sales at Farmers or the warehouse usually if I must buy something. I only buy when items are on sale, so at this age things between $10 and $20 I guess. I choose clothes for practicality and use as well as size. The boys might get to choose colour between similar items they are trying on when we are buying new. It gives them some pride in the item because they chose it and they don't make any fuss about what to wear that way. I probably choose styles and colours that are to my taste as well but try to let the boys be themselves as well. For example my oldest chose a pair of sneakers that are bright orange, not my style but he loves them! I don't buy or take any clothes that have certain characters or images on them, ones I don't think are appropriate for children this age, like Ben 10 monsters, or adult themed ones.
5. From your experience, what tips would you give a mum grappling with clothing her children?
Relax. As children get older, past toddler, the wear and tear on clothing is quite high so don't overspend. Accept hand-me-downs wherever possible and make the most of them. Shop second hand where possible and look out for sales.