Last year, I survived my youngest child’s very first parent/teacher conference, and I am grateful that my son’s teacher handled me just like her classroom: truthfully, firmly, and kindly. We talked for a few moments about my son’s interests, best subjects, and all of the great potential that she sees in him. Of course, we also had a few behavioral issues to discuss. What six-year-old boy doesn’t?! But I did greatly appreciate that she balanced helpful suggestions with details of how my son occasionally chooses to not follow instructions. Thank goodness I had chosen just the right outfit to convey my essence as a put-together, on-the-ball mom! Curious what to wear to your upcoming parent/teacher conference? I am happy to share the following personal strategies with you:
- I made sure it was a good hair day (meaning I was only day two since my last shower and my hair still had some curl from the day before). Many people at my kids’ school have seen me with completely bonkers hair when I am running late and trying to force my three little ones to be awake and ready for the day when I am totally not. But I did my best to look somewhat put together. If you don’t have time for a full blowout, an easy ponytail can go a long way.
- Next, I chose a flowery top and a stretchy cotton blazer. I wanted something that implied that I am responsible and capable of managing a rambunctious child when necessary. That second layer is key. Even a regular t-shirt looks a bit more polished with a cardigan, jacket, or blazer on top. It takes 10 more seconds to put on, but it makes you feel and look A LOT more put-together. If you have other little ones at home, I know it can seem like a constant chore to sweep off all the crumbs and possibly clean spit-up that was bestowed upon you. Keep that top layer handy to throw on at the last minute for emergency coverage!
- You can’t go wrong with jeans, but maybe avoid the ones with enough holes to clearly show when you last shaved your upper thighs. And maybe avoid leather or leopard print pants. My choice for the day were some comfy “boyfriend” jeans (because they are still cute according to Jennifer Aniston). I am all for flirty fashion when the time is right, but you may want to keep your outfit more neutral when you have to walk through the halls with a million other parents and their offspring. No need to overshoot and go full-on pantsuit unless you want to imply that your future Harvard grad needs even more assignments to earn extra credit. Gotta keep those teacher expectations in the sweet spot where you can under promise and over deliver!
- Finally, choose some footwear that won’t kill you on the long walk across the school to your child’s classroom. In my case, the school parking lot is always full and I end up walking a lot farther than I usually assume I will. High heels make a whole lot of noise on the linoleum floors, but your backyard Crocs may make you seem a bit unprepared. I went with a comfy flat and had no regrets. Bonus points if you have cute booties and are willing to wear them even though Texas summer refuses to go away.
Parent/teacher conferences are a great opportunity to hear how your kid is navigating each day and how you can help keep the positive progress going. Just being there for your son or daughter means that you are doing a great job! It’s also a time when you can ask for suggestions, learn about your child’s struggles, and thank your kid’s teacher for the incredible effort they give every day. An open mind and listening ears are, by far, more important than your outfit choice on the day of your conference. But if you feel good rockin’ that awesome new vest or cute maxi dress, strut down that hallway like it’s the runway, mama!