No, my children do not have a dress code at their schools, BUT, France has a dress code! This morning I dropped Sophie off at her classroom in a short sleeve shirt, jeans, and her boots with her winter coat hanging on her hook. The sky was blue and the temperature was supposed to reach 58 degrees. It was a beautiful morning and we walked to school with no gloves, hats, or anything because it felt like a spring morning.
All the parents of the children in Sophie’s class hand deliver their child to the classroom door. This morning Sophie made her way into the classroom after navigating around 4 mothers standing in the doorway talking. Just as I was getting ready to turn around, I notice out of the corner of my eye Sophie’s teacher look at Sophie and her shirt and quizzically ask Sophie if she had anything else with her to wear. I proceeded to walk in their direction because I did not want Sophie to be questioned about what she had on. The teacher asked me if she had a cardigan to wear and I said “no, she did not want to wear one”. (This is 100% true because I knew the teachers would ask me why she was in a short sleeve shirt.) I told the teacher she has her coat on her hook for her outside play. This whole interaction was going on while all 4 other moms were glancing at me, with the teacher in the background speaking loudly To say I felt like I was put on the spot is an understatement! After I said Sophie did not have a cardigan, the teacher gave me a disapproved look, rolled her eyes and looked the other direction. All the mothers turned their heads from me to the teacher at the same time. I felt like I was in a scripted sitcom, but no one was laughing at my expense, except for myself! I slowly turned around and walked away a little ticked off.
There are a few things the french are snobs about. Food and clothing. I have been told on so many occasions how my children should be dressing, what shoes my children should be wearing in certain types of weather, what types of food my kids should eat, when we should eat… The list goes on and on in these two areas! The french feel obligated to tell me these things all the time! They feel like their traditions in these two areas are the only way it should be and it is the right way. Today it just struck the wrong chord!
There have been numerous times where I have seen a child/toddler bundled up so heavily (because of the season, yet the temperature doesn’t warrant the clothing) they have rosy cheeks and are crying and then the parents are yelling at them for no good reason. I wonder why!? But, it is none of my business to tell the parents what might be the problem. Sure, if they ask I would gladly make a recommendation.
I could gone on and on with examples of the above scenario, but my venting is complete!
PS. I have to admit that these two things I mention, food and clothing, are also what make France so enjoyable. Their food is delicious and their clothing is so fashionable and chic, yet I just don’t like the “rules” governing these topics, especially when the breaking of these “rules” is directed at my children and my inadequacies. The french are so strict with their “rules” that it makes those of us who don’t abide by their way uncomfortable.
PSS. It’s a love/hate relationship!