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Shopping with My Daughter
Mom with a View

Shopping with My Daughter

God has a sense of humor. Why else would He give seven daughters to a woman who hates to go shopping?


I'm dreading this Sunday. Not for the usual reasons of too many errands and too much mess. But because I promised to take my daughter shopping.

I am living proof that God has a sense of humor. Otherwise why would He have given seven daughters to a woman who has never used a blow dryer or curling iron, bought her first mascara at age 25 and worst of all, hates to go shopping?

I actually got a break during the adolescent years where my taste was considered atrocious and I could send them without me. But as they get older, my taste seems to improve (shades of Mark Twain) and they beg me to come. I've resisted as long as possible but I'm losing the power to delay.

Some women might not consider the act of taking their daughters to the mall a true kindness with no benefit to the giver whatsoever, but it often feels that way to me. (I don't think splitting headaches are considered a benefit although they are certainly a side effect)

It's not that I don't like nice things; I just don't like the experience of getting them. I've become an old fogey who wants the stores to "turn down that awful music" and I find malls to be an assault on my senses, including my aesthetic one. I suppose if I could sit in a comfortable chair, latte in hand, as the helpful staff in the store (now we're really veering into fantasy) bring us reasonable options, it would be bearable.

But the sensory shock of all the items "coming at me," combined with the impossibility of finding something suits my daughter's tastes and "isn't too long or too low or too tight or too expensive" can be overwhelming. (Can't we have the same bonding experience if we shop online together?!)

I insist that she turn off her phone (since I have the credit card, she obeys) and we spend hours just the two of us.

After seemingly endless hours of traipsing from store to store, it is not infrequent that my daughter (whichever one it is -- this is a gender problem and not specific to any child) will not have found anything to her liking. She'll be depressed and discouraged, claiming she "doesn't have anything to wear," even though I can't squish one more item into her closet.

But I have struggled to find the one redeeming feature of these shopping expeditions: It is an opportunity (believe it or not) to have quality private time with my daughter. I insist that she turn off her phone (since I have the credit card, she obeys) and we spend hours just the two of us. Since shopping doesn't require much (any?) intellectual effort, our minds are free to roam and our discussions are important and meaningful. It's time for us to discuss issues and concerns that may sometimes be hard to raise in the harried and hectic home environment.

We may not always come back with a new outfit, but we do come home with new understanding and a renewed relationship (and a desire to get into my pajamas and into bed as quickly as possible). So I take back what I said. I am looking forward to Sunday. But if we don't find anything, I am not going to another mall next week...

November 8, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 12

(12) TMay, April 17, 2011 9:06 AM

I agree

I agree that God has a sense of humor.

(11) Lisa, November 16, 2008 1:29 AM

Thanks Mom

As the daughter, I never thought to appreciate all those shopping trips. Thanks for a great article!

(10) RH, November 13, 2008 10:10 PM

Thanks to Anonymous's comment-"Same problem, here's a suggestion"

THe day after reading your article, after going to a big store, listening to the songs and seeing all the pictures and feeling like I just wish I could be home, I thought of your suggestion and said to myself, "Self, why don't you try a Jewish-owned store, so you'll spend $10 extra, but you'll feel so much happier..." I went there and THANKS! I got $400 worth of clothing for about $140-there was a 70% off sales rack. EVEN MORE IMPORTANT-to me-there were only tziniut clothing to choose from, Yaakov Shwecky music playing in the background, and a sales lady who understands what I mean when I ask, "Do you think it's too tight?" I told her about my decision to try a Jewish store and declared, "This place is a sight for sore eyes!" I went home spending the same amount, got beautiful clothing, and did NOT have a headache, and even more important, an empty feeling inside. It feels good to do what feel right. I know not everyone cares or is sensitive to these issues, and I respect that everyone has their own taste, however, if you are like me, and there are Jewish stores available, I beg you to take "Anonymous"'s advice and try shopping there. And even if you spend a little more, like she said, it's for a fellow Jew. May our shopping experiences only be uplifting and never drag us down in any way. (Thanks for indulging me my long comment,! I have more to say on this, maybe I'll submit an article!)

(9) mom to teen, November 13, 2008 2:26 PM


I am suffering thru this very issue at this time, and will search for the good in it, as you have. Right now it is an ugly experience, with dreading to leave the house with my very emotional 15 yr old daughter. Thank for this email. I can't imagine trying to actually have a nice conversation while shopping, but I'll try. I think I need to learn how to say the right words to her, to build her up as we find the right clothes with the right fit.

(8) RH, November 12, 2008 10:33 PM

I also could have written this! Emuna, "Bravo!"man! has done it again-a great article!!

I always wondered if I was the only one!!!! The assualt on my senses, not to mention my sensibilities, the splitting headache, the tension that I know I'm going to walk out spending more than I'd like (I recently spent forty-something dollars at Target and told the lady at the register: "It's a triumph when I leave Target spending less than $50!" In general, I find happiness in my home. So when I go shopping-yes I'm a girl, I like to be dressed nicely, and like to find a bargain, which requires shopping around a bit-I use it as a reminder from Hashem of the falsehood of all that's out there, and gratitude for all I can find in my own home...

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