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Mom shares the 1 clothing rule she has for her kids and it involves stains

“Kids need outfits they can play in.”
/ Source: TODAY

Is it tacky to send kids to school in clothes that are clean, but have stains?

A mom’s viral video should console parents who don’t have time or money to replace their children’s wardrobe on a regular basis.

“This is your reminder that it’s OK to send your kids to school in clean, stained clothes,” Marla Branyan said in a TikTok video with more than 1 million views, showing her 3 year-old daughter’s scuffed pink pants. “Why would I not send her to school in the stained clothes that she stained at school?”

Branyan added, “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 less of a messy kid than (her). She’s 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.”

Parents and teachers were in agreement with Branyan.

  • “When they tear their pants, now they’re shorts.”
  • “If it gets too stained, we Tie Dye it. Reduce, reuse, recycle.”
  • “As a childcare provider, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send them in stained clothes!!! I stress so hard when they destroy clothing that is perfect.”
  • “As a teacher, we don’t notice kids coming in stained clothes. We notice when they come in with the SAME outfit four days in a row.”
  • “This works until about third grade. Then kids get mean and it’ll break your heart. So I send my kids in nice clothes.”
  • “Doesn’t everyone have daycare clothes and home clothes?”
  • “My 4 year old comes home looking like he works 60 hours a week in construction.”
  • “My daughter has ruined every shirt she owns this year with Dry Erase markers.”
  • “‘And wrinkled because sometimes the folding has to wait.”
  • “I’m the director of an early childhood education center and it’s sooo much better when kids (wear) playable clothes! They eat! They paint!”
  • “Kids need outfits they can play in.”

When a contemptuous commenter wrote: “Do you go to work in clean, stained clothes?” someone replied, “No, but I typically don’t paint at work or jump in mud.”

Branyan tells that she hits clearance sales or thrift stores like Goodwill when buying clothes for her daughter and her 5-year-old son, who are enrolled in part-time school programs.

“I love the idea of getting gently-used stuff ... or hand-me-downs,” she says.

Branyan’s daughter is a “free-spirit” who loves art and is “covered in paint” at pickup, while her son is a “neater” kid with the occasional grass stain.

Explaining that kids can be messy at any age, Branyan says, “I don’t want to buy my (future) 12-year-old new clothes every time he stains them either. He’s not a professional yet.”

Slightly-worn clothing takes pressure off teachers, she says, adding, “I’ve heard about teachers getting yelled at by parents for letting their kids get dirty (at school).”

Dressing her kids in “clean, stained clothes” is how Branyan can live affordably and feel good about her parenting.

“When my son was in his ‘messy toddler’ stage, I spent so much time getting stains out of his clothes and it was stressful,” she says. “One day, I looked at my daughter’s brand-new clothes that were already stained and eventually I decided that if they’re getting stains at school with peers and teachers who see them every day, why is it a big deal to dress them in clean clothes with residue?”

“It makes sense,” adds Branyan. “It should be OK and anything else is a ‘me problem.’”

Branyan says she doesn’t want her children to inherit any of her own insecurities — especially when they or anyone else has ever complained about their clothes.

“We don’t want kids to worry, ‘Am I overdressed or underdressed?’ They should learn without focusing on their looks,” says Branyan. “That will come later in life” in formal situations like church or weddings.

“Let them be kids for as long as they can,” she says.