Mom Defends Decision To Send Kid To School In Clean But Stained Clothing, Splits The Internet

Mom Defends Decision To Send Kid To School In Clean But Stained Clothing, Splits The Internet

Raising kids can be expensive. Research from LendingTree shows that the cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 18 is around $240,000. Daycare, after-school clubs, transportation, food – the expenses are endless. Clothes also fall into this category, as kids don’t really have that much discipline for not being messy, so they might need new ones more often than adults do.

That’s why one mom says she simply can’t afford to buy her preschool daughter new clothes every time she stains them. The mom, Marla Branyan, shared her opinion on why it’s okay if your kid goes to school with a stained wardrobe. Stained does not equal dirty, she says. However, she got mixed reactions from people, as some disagreed.

Bored Panda reached out to Marla and she was kind enough to tell us more about her video. She says she did expect her opinion to strike a chord with parents, but she didn’t think it would get so much attention online and become so viral. Read our conversation with her below!

Kids can be messy: they eat, they paint, they sometimes play in the mud, and their clothes get stained

One mom explained that she doesn’t think sending kids to school in stained clothes is such a bad thing

“This is your reminder that it’s okay to send your kids to school in clean, stained clothes.”

“I have a three-and-a-half-year-old. She goes to preschool. She stained these while at preschool. Why would I not send her to school in the stained clothes that she stained at school?”

“I’m not sending my kids to any type of school, no matter what age, in their Sunday best. It’s just not happening. Unless they are naturally a less of a messy kid than my precious little three-and-a-half-year-old baby girl.”

“She is messy. She’s living her best life, and I will continue sending her in the stained clothes because I can’t afford to keep replacing these pants every single week. Okay, I can’t.”

“And Goodwill only has a variety of patterns. They don’t have plain stuff.”

Her video went viral and now has over 1.2 million views

She explained her rationale in a follow-up video

The mom in the video, Marla Branyan, is a firm believer that we should allow kids to be messy

Although the attention online for Marla is somewhat overwhelming, she says it’s nice to know many commenters agree with her. “Even though that does make me feel good, I’m even more happy that so many kids have parents who allow them opportunities to be messy and have fun instead of worrying about their clothes at such a young age!” she tells Bored Panda.

This mom is a firm believer that kids should make a mess when they play and not worry about it. “Mess is a byproduct of the kinds of activities needed for kids to develop certain skills,” she says. “So much of what kids are doing in daycare and preschool is working on gross motor and fine motor skills. Working on these skills requires kids to use their brain and hands together.”

“In order to work on those gross and fine motor skills, kids need [hands-on] activities like cutting with scissors, playing with playdough, holding things like big crayons and paintbrushes, running, climbing, the list goes on. Fun, engaging, and even intentionally messy activities help make learning fun!”

“Preschool and daycare [are] all about making learning fun, playing with others, and becoming familiar with learning. The last thing a kid needs in an environment like this is to be worried about getting messy because mommy or daddy is going to be upset they ruined something,” Branyan says. “Are there times when kids need to ‘try’ to stay clean, like at a wedding or church? Absolutely! Daycare and preschool [are] not one of those times,” she says firmly.

She says that realizing there’s nothing wrong in sending kids back to school in the clothes they stained there gave her a huge sense of relief

Branyan says no teacher or daycare provider ever showed concern about her kids’ clothes. “I can confidently say that ALL of the preschool teachers and daycare providers in the comments section of my video were in 100% agreement with sending kids in clean stained clothes,” she emphasizes.

“Most of them said it actually takes [the] pressure off them to keep kids clean in an environment that’s [set up] to play, paint, and inevitably get messy. Many said they actually tell parents to send kids IN play clothes in hopes of avoiding an upset [parent] because something got ruined.”

Branyan says that she wanted “to remove a lot of the added stress we as parents put on our own shoulders.” She’s no stranger to feeling like her kids need to look perfect at school and daycare. “When I finally had the realization or ‘lightbulb moment’ that most of the stains were coming from preschool, therefore, it should be okay to send them back to school in those clothes, I felt a HUGE sense of freedom.”

“I just want other parents to have that freedom I feel,” she gets honest. “I also wanted parents who struggle with sending their kids in clean, stained clothes to reflect and find out why that is! Our intentions [matter], and it’s really beneficial to ask ourselves why we do what we do so we can make sure we’re not projecting our own adult insecurities onto our kids.”

Messy play for kids is totally normal

Many parents know the struggle when you pick up your kid from daycare and see a new stain on their clothes. Whether it’s grass, paint, or some mystery pink blob, kids aren’t known for thinking about their clothes when playing.

And many experts say that it’s okay. Apparently, getting dirty while playing is important and can even benefit kids. According to Schoolhouse Daycare, it allows children to explore, fostering their curiosity and imagination. Playing with sand, water, chalk, or paint allows kids to better understand their senses – they touch, smell, and taste these things. That’s how they get to know the world around them.

Research shows that toddlers who use all their senses while playing learn “physical principles” more quickly. By letting our children explore by themselves, we’re fostering their independence as well. That way, they grow up to be more independent and have better self-esteem as adults.

If a kid is getting messy while playing with other children, like in daycare, that helps them improve their communication skills. Almost any time kids interact with each other, it’s an opportunity to learn more about sharing and negotiating.

And those parents who’ve seen their kids engage in messy play can probably attest that there’s almost nothing that kids love more than some fun times in a puddle or making a mud pie. That’s because it’s a way for them to de-stress while being immersed in nature.

So the comments under Marla’s video that said “Let them be kids!” were probably right. Children don’t need to be as put-together and tidy as adults are. Even if that would make the lives of parents much easier, getting dirty is beneficial for a kid’s development.

The mom got mixed reactions from people: some agreed with her

Others had a different opinion