In a contest to determine what my most commented on topic is, my sons easily win the gold! I totally get it; they’re adorable, even if I’m a bit biased. I get a lot of questions and compliments on the clothes they wear, and it always makes me smile. Dressing my boys has continually been something I enjoy, which is why when I saw a post with varying opinions on a mother’s decision to buy tons of extremely pricey shoes for her child, I knew I wanted to talk about it.

As we all know, first time moms have so much to learn. We’ve all been there. You’re navigating this new world (and new human) with the knowledge you’ve researched and acquired from well-meaning friends, family and experts; but the real education comes with experience. In their defense, retailers target first-timers ruthlessly. I mean, have you walked into a baby goods store recently? Everything is just so stinking cute! It’s tough to not want to purchase everything… including all the stuff that you’ll never actually need.

Baby clothing is especially hard to resist, and every parent gets suckered into buying those darling shoes that are so small their construction baffles your mind. The problem with this, as seasoned mamas will know, is that kids at these ages grow so quickly that they often only get to wear those shoes once or twice before it’s on to a bigger size. Right now those Jordan sneakers that you couldn’t imagine being any cuter than on your six-month-old’s teeny feet seem like a good idea. After you’ve spent an exorbitant amount of money on several pairs for your not-yet-walking kid, you may come to regret it.

So what’s a mom to do? Is it just pointless to buy the cute shoes and clothing items at this age? Not entirely. Every mom will have her own judgment of the situation; here is mine. You will never get back these moments. Your baby right now is as young as he ever will be. Moms will tell you that you blink a few times and it feels as if your kid has grown 10 inches and three years! Snapping photos to memorialize cute moments, phases and stages of your kids is not a crime. In fact, it’s downright smart. Here’s my advice about those cute shoes you’ve been eyeing. When it comes to actual shoes your walking or learning-to-walk child needs, remember to think utility. Kids need shoes that are sturdy and have great support. They have to be able to run and play in them, and often, the super cute and trendy shoes are geared more towards style than function. This is where you want to splurge a bit and get the good shoes. Before you visit the big box stores in your mall, remember to think about outlets. They’re wonderful places to get the shoes your child needs for a fraction of the cost.

As for the cute shoes that no one actually needs, there’s a hack for that, too! My tip is to be realistic. If you want a pair for a cutesy photo on instagram or a family portrait, buy smart. This isn’t the time to shop the local fancy boutique down the street from your home. You’ll find that buying from places like that will be especially expensive because you’re paying for the markup on their curated collection. Instead, head to Amazon and find the color you want for a much cheaper price!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to buy cutesy shoes and other items for your child. No parent should be shamed for that. My children love dressing up, and they have fun with their toddler style. I enjoy finding unique items like these to try with them. The key is to know that when you buy something inexpensive and trendy, it might just be for a photo op–and that’s okay! There’s freedom in that! Leave them for that purpose, and invest more wisely in a quality shoe that’s made for walkin’!

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