basic life skill

I Blame Crocs For My Kids’ Inability To Tie Their D*mn Shoes

And it’s all because of croclife.

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Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Crocs, Getty Images, Shutterstock,

It was in the middle of my 8-year-old’s basketball game when I first realized it. After springing up and down the court a few times the ref motioned to him, trying to get his attention and pointing to his foot. His left sneaker had come undone, and his shoelace was dangling on the court, just waiting to cause a collision or wipe out. His couch guided him quickly off the court and onto the bench, where he could tie his shoe before getting back in the game. But as I watched him flounder for a couple minutes, hunched over, laces in hands, attempting to create some kind of knot or tangle that would stay, I realized — sh*t! My kid can’t tie his own shoes.

Now, I know it sounds ridiculous to be having this realization for the first time in that moment, but hear me out. With four kids, getting out the door on time for just about anything, but especially sports, is usually chaotic and difficult. And it often eases the mayhem and quickens the process to tie their cleats and sneakers myself. So I do. But what about the non-game-day, everyday ties, you ask? Well, we don’t have them. Because while my childhood was filled with Converses and Keds, my kids are living the #croclife. So much so that they have missed out on a very essential and basic life skill. Oops!

I wasn’t sold on Crocs at first. In fact, I remember giving some mom-friends of mine a hard time when my oldest was little and their kids were running around in these oversized, duck foot-inspired shoes. I am pretty sure I even swore, in one of those big, emphatic new-mom statements, that I would never allow any of my kids to wear these ridiculous shoes.

Well, nine years and one Croc + Justin Bieber collaboration later, the fashion game has changed. The rubber-strapped clogs that once seemed so ridiculous are now crowding the school hallway floors. Now available in platform and fur-lines, tie-dyed and glitter-clad varieties, they can be spotted on everyone from first grade kids to college athletes. Paired typically with mid-length socks and decorated with jibbitz to fully express the wearer's personality, this light-weight, hole-covered footwear has totally taken over. And the consequence is, well, interesting.

Suddenly laces seem obsolete in kids’ shoewear, but most of them are still doing activities that require sneakers. I mean, basically anything that requires any kind of running or climbing should be done in a supportive, securely-tied shoe. And like most things in life, repetition and practice is the key to success. So while my son likely does know how to tie his shoe in theory, his lack of everyday practice is certainly what caused his mid-basketball game predicament.

Thankfully, his coach realized what was going on and tied his sneakers, saving him the embarrassment if I’d slithered down the sidelines to do it. But the situation really highlighted for me a potential generational problem, one that I definitely had not considered but am now determined to solve. Because although I have definitely been converted (mostly by Bieber) to #teamcroc, shoe tying is a skill set that I don’t think we can leave behind.

So here’s to sprinkling in a laced-shoe on my off-spring every couple of days. I am sure it will be met with backlash, but it seems necessary. And hey, maybe Croc will come up with a hybrid. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

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