Photo: PxHere

Tell me something, sweet fellow parent, at what point do children come online to desiring their own hygienic standard? My daughter is in 2nd grade and even though that seems to be old enough, it appears from her overall lack of giving a fork, that it is not.

Her hair is greasy. Her face is greasy and sometimes, sometimes she even has the slightest odor when I pick her up from school. I hold back my gag reflex, she does not notice.

How do I tell my sweet first born baby cherub, that she is growing up and she is a little smelly. How do I empower her to feel strong, perfect, good enough just as she is, but still back door the message that showering and cleanliness do matter? How do I confirm, “You shouldn’t care what other kids think!” while strongly whispering, “…But shower cause you stink.”

This is the conversation I am currently avoiding. To be sure, as a single mom, there are many topics of conversation I am postponing/avoiding/totally ignorant that they even need to take place. But this specific topic is the one presently rearing its head in my conscious and screaming for attention. So here goes.
Dear Sweetheart,

Sit down.

You stink.

I can easily recall the scene from Big Daddy where Adam Sandler finds out his fake adopted son is the “smelly kid in class” to which the teacher responds “He is by far the smelliest.” NOOOOOOOOO.

No parent wants the smelly kid in class. But how in this world of empowering young girls and trying in every possible way to teach her to not give a crap what the world thinks do I convey to her—this one part matters.

Shower. Stay clean. Don’t smell.

You are perfect and beautiful and strong and lovely, but you must be clean.

You want to wear running pants under a fancy tulle dress with riding boots to school in 70 degree weather? You bet kiddo! Looks great!

Skipping your shower the third night in a row?

No go.

The stinky, greasy kid struggle is real. I know she will get there but when? And DO I need to have this conversation? Would she even listen to me? It’s all so unknown. What it is certain is the lump of greasy hair I see bobbing below my nose every night before bed and the smiling face below it, so blissfully unaware of her sweet, gross, state.

Who knows, maybe she is right. Maybe that is bliss.

Maybe the conversation we need to have is, “Mom, chill. Everything will be fine.”