Before getting into this month’s column, it is impossible for me to continue without pointing out the imminent arrival of Multiples Illuminated. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, one deserving of even the smallest of spotlights. Megan and Alison put an idea into action, creating a heartfelt journey of a read. Kudos to them and everyone involved, this has been an absolute fantastic honor to be a part of.
This month, I want to get into what is, in my opinion, the great debate of parents with multiples.
Dressing them. Not whether or not to dress them, obviously, but whether to dress them in matching outfits. Nine out of 10 times that my children are in matching outfits is because we just picked them up from grandma’s house. Of the one time they were wearing the same getup and grandma didn’t dress them, it is because I think toddlers in Hawaiian t-shirts are crazy adorable.
The personal verdict on matching my children’s clothing?
I am not vehemently against it. Like previously stated, if I find something like Hawaiian shirts I need them to wear for photos to show their future life partner, I will match them. Before my children were born, though, my wife and I laid down the ground rules. We weren’t going to dress them the same.
One thing I find important is a sense of individuality. I want my twins not to be seen as a single unit, but as the two growing young boys who happen to have been birthed two minutes apart. To me, when putting them in the same shirt or whatnot, it takes away from who they are apart from each other.
In my household, celebrating the unique differences between my sons is something we continually try to do. One is more athletic, enjoying physical activity, whereas his brother seems to have a knack for more artistic endeavors. Sure, we will all play soccer together in the backyard, but I notice one will drift away as his brother remains focused on the sport. And vice versa. My son Nicolas can draw all afternoon. His brother will draw for a half hour or so before moving on to something else.
We encourage them to seek out things to be passionate about, even at their young age. If I have an artist and an athlete, I double the chances of a nice elderly home down the line by working the spread.
But, we were talking about clothes, weren’t we? How does clothing play into their individualism? Well, in my humble opinion, it affects it a lot. The day is started with them being a single entity. Their identity when dressed the same is not separate. They are “The Twins” matching in everything from facial features to sneakers. Self-identity is a huge aspect of everyone’s journey through life. With multiples, I worry matching immediately impedes the journey.
Does matching your children’s clothing cause a major impact on their self-identity? I don’t know; I am not a psychologist. But, if you do find yourself in the mood to look into the major complexity that is twins and self-identity, a simple Google search yields a treasure trove of information on the subject.
Simply Google, ‘twins and self-identity’.
One such article had a line resonating with me.
“One of the most important things our parents ever did, was instill into our minds that while we are twins, it should not be what defines us.” (Scientific American)
It’s important as parents of multiples to foster and grow the unique individuals that are our children. With twins, this can come from not matching them to putting them in separate classes. Something to allow them to step out of what society often views as a single unit. For me, dressing my children differently in the morning is the first step in attempting to let them breathe in their skin, away from one another, as their own people.
Unless it’s Hawaiian shirts. Exceptions to every rule, am I right?
How do you feel about matching outfits? Have you pre-ordered the book? I am excited; I hope you are too! Let’s talk about it in the comments section!
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at his kids’ beck and call, he likes to escape to his Facebook page or website. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition—another boy. He also would like the world to know he has a beautiful wife because the couch isn’t that comfy.