I'm Done Making My Kids Wear A Coat

by Christine Organ
Originally Published: 
Christine Organ

‘Tis the season for hot chocolate and snuggling by the fire. For warm cookies and cozy sweaters and twinkly lights. And for my sons to dress like we’re in the midst of a heat wave in the tropics despite the near-freezing temps outside.

Folks, I do not get it. I have lived on this earth for more than 40 years now, been a mother for more than 11 of those, and I have resigned myself to the fact that there are certain things that I will just never understand. Quantum physics, for instance. Hell, I’ll probably never understand Common Core math for that matter. I’ll never understand why my kids enjoy watching YouTube videos of people literally doing nothing but opening packages of baseball cards or plastic-wrapped toys. I will never understand why staying an hour past their bedtime will make kids wake up two hours earlier than usual.

But perhaps the biggest mystery to me is why tween and teen boys insist on dressing like they’re heading to the swimming pool in July when it’s snowing in December. There might literally be snow on the ground, and you can see your breath, but my kids insist on wearing shorts and a T-shirt — sans coat, of course.

To my kids’ credit, I suppose, they rarely complain about being cold. They have learned, by now, that if they so much as shiver in my presence after I’ve reminded them of the frigid temps, they’ll feel the wrath of my wicked side-eye. Miss me with the “I’m cold” whining, fellas.

At this point, I’ve given up nagging them to dress appropriately for the weather. If they get cold, they’ll put on warmer clothes, right? Well, theoretically, I suppose. But these are headstrong and stubborn kids we’re talking about here, so they’d rather get frostbite than admit that their annoying ol’ mom was right about needing a hat and gloves.

Truthfully, though, it’s not even my kids’ attire that bothers me or any fear of them getting cold. What frustrates me the most is all the passive-aggressive comments I have to hear from the general public.

No, grocery store clerk, my son isn’t going to catch a cold because he’s not wearing a coat. Fake news. That’s not how any of this works. If he catches a cold, it’ll be because he sits in a petri dish classroom of germs all winter, that’s why.

Yes, Aunt Hilda, I do buy my kids things like coats and hats and gloves. They choose not to wear them. I choose to let them suffer the natural consequences (being cold as hell) and hope that it will motivate them to make better choices in the future.

No, Stranger on the Street, I can’t “make” my kids wear a coat or hat. My son is 11-years-old and nearly as big as me. I assure you — it would be physically impossible to push his arms into a coat, and even if I could, I wouldn’t. You know, body autonomy and all.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in parenting is that you have to pick your battles, and this is just not a hill I’m willing to die on. So here we are. Temps are in the mid-30s. There’s frost on the ground, and snow in the forecast. And my sons are wearing shorts and a T-shirt — while I resist the urge to tell them to put some damn clothes on.

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