To be in Someone Else’s Shoes

I cried about shoes today. If you want to know why, I’d suggest you take off yours and put on mine for a while.

So, Monday was the first day of school again for my daughter after a week down from a cold and sore throat. I was told that this Saturday, her class would perform the song that they sang at last term’s mini concert. This performance will take place in a mall, for some kind of an inspirational-mom-and-kid event. They told me that the kids would be wearing the same outfit like before, a combination of white tops and whatever bottoms. Hearing that, despite the fact that I have this deadline by next Monday (which requires me to work over the weekend), I thought OK, she could go.


Yesterday the news came that the girls will have to wear skirts provided by the school and we, the parents, will have to agree on what color of shoes they will be wearing. And this is where the problem starts. For me. Because:

  1. My daughter’s white top is actually a dress and it was not an easy task to find that piece in the first place.
  2. My daughter doesn’t have shoes of any colors other than red at the moment.
  3. I don’t have time to go look for a certain colored pair of shoes or another white top that will go together with the skirt. Not when the deadline is lurking around the weekend like this.

After they asked me if my daughter had white or pink shoes and a white top that isn’t a dress and my reply was no for all of them, I finally told them, “Well, then, if that’s the case, I don’t think my daughter could go.”

Really. I don’t have time for arguing about this. Let alone go out and buy them.


Today, when I picked up my daughter from school, one of the teachers came to me and asked whether or not my daughter could join the class performance. I told her, “I don’t know. I have this deadline and if she needs to wear certain outfit and shoes for that day, I don’t think I can handle it.” The teacher quickly ‘assured’ me that any colors of shoes would do. But then a parent who was nearby made a comment, “Yeah, it’s okay. The other girls will be wearing pink. It doesn’t matter if one is different.”

It doesn’t matter to you, maybe. Tell me, really, would you want your kid to be the one wearing the ‘different’ colored shoes? And anyway, if it DOESN’T MATTER, why do you have to decide on certain colored shoes, not ANY colored shoes?

It was a major turnoff that I swore right then and there that I would NOT let my daughter join the event. It’s not even a school event, for God’s sake!


We got home and I told my daughter that she could not join her class performance on Saturday. She was disappointed, I know, so I told her that we’re going to have “Me and My Pet(s)” theme for our ‘drawing class’ instead. She’s back to being herself in no time.

An hour later, though, I was the one who cried. I cried because they succeeded at making me feel like a bad mother to my daughter. As if I don’t prioritize my daughter’s happiness over my work. Like I can’t or don’t want to spare a little time and/or money to go find the shoes for her performance. And for pulling her out of the performance over a ‘small thing’. Unlike them.

While it IS about shoes, it’s NOT really about the shoes, you see. Why do they ‘insist’ on making someone feel bad over a pair of shoes? Why do they keep pushing the idea of wearing certain colored shoes while they know one of them doesn’t have those certain colored shoes? Is it that important to wear those shoes? Is it going to win them some prize? Is it worth it, really, to fuss over shoes that people would only see for 5 minutes during the performance? While there are news of students killing themselves because their parents couldn’t afford their monthly school tuition, because they couldn’t afford new sets of uniform. I cried about these bloody shoes. And I’m only the mother.



And then I turned on the computer and worked for the rest of the afternoon until dinnertime, making sure the 20-page progress I made today will be paid on time with the rest of those words I’ve translated since late March so my daughter won’t have to eat her shoes.


4 thoughts on “To be in Someone Else’s Shoes

  1. hmm… on one hand, i can understand that for the child it would feel embarrassing to be the only one with different coloured shoes… but on the other hand, at least thinking as a grown up, i probably would go for it. being the only one different means you’ll surely get noticed, and that is much better than being the same as the rest of the crowd. 😉 maybe some kids can feel the same way (that they’ll end up enjoying the extra attention), or maybe not. there’s no way that we, the grown ups, can ever tell, i guess.

    but anyway, i can totally understand what you mean by the kind of guilty feeling the other parent caused (and also the teachers, perhaps) by making such a big deal out of it in the first place. but just think: soon you don’t have to deal with them anymore! 🙂

    hope you’ll have a super fun time at your ‘drawing class’ nonetheless! (no shoes needed there!)

    • Ngerti kok, soal lain sendiri = unik. Karena Freya tau gurunya bilang boleh kok pake sepatu apa aja. Tapi ya itu, yg lain ttp keukeuh pake sepatu warna yg sama. Memang pada akhirnya ini bukan soal dia, tapi gue. Bahasa Indonesianya: keburu males. Karena mau akhirnya datang apa nggak, pake sepatu sama apa nggak, ttp aja intinya gue yang kayak nggak mau repot (seperti ortu lain) untuk ‘ikut aturan’. Yang mana ‘aturan’ itu yang justru gue rasa konyol karena dipaksakan utk sesuatu yg gak penting kayak gini. So, like I said: it is about shoes, but it’s not really about the shoes.

  2. Ah, I feel bad because I.wasn’t aware of this even though it happened right in front of my eyes, and to think that you still let me drag you around the whole afternoon 😦

    I really appreciate what you’ve done for me and I wish I could have done something to help you too. Hope you’ll feel better soon and I don’t know how other people see it but one thing I look forward in being a
    mother is how to do it like you do.

    • Naah, it happened yesterday (Apr 17), but I wrote it past midnight. Hehe. Tadi pas jemput Freya emang ditanyain sekali lagi ikut apa nggak, but my mind is made up. ‘Drawing class’ it is for Saturday.

      Don’t feel bad. I enjoyed showing you around my territory earlier. :)) If it helps, I managed to finish 20 pages today. 7 pages to go. So, no worries. 😉

      Gak sabar ketemu babypo! :*

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