Recently, we were at the pool with my VERY FIT friend Mrs. X and her five children. Mrs. X was in a fairly skimpy bikini. After 5 kids, she still has the figure for it.
At the pool that day, instead of asking Mrs. X for a juice box himself, my 5-year-old son asked me to go ask her. Twice I told him it was his responsibility to ask her if he wanted a juice box. Finally, as I was becoming impatient, he told me, “Mom, please ask her for me. I’m embarrassed to, because Mrs. X doesn’t look modest.”
We aren’t the modesty police in our house. The girls and I all wear shorts and tank tops, among other things, in the summer. But it was instinctive to my son that cleavage and midrift are not OK.
Fast-forward two weeks. Yesterday, I was watching the children play in the sprinkler with our wonderful neighbors who are Orthodox Jews. Their girls are 10-year-old twins and 6, and they wear pretty, knee-length skirts. They are highly creative with plenty of spunk. And their mother and I discussed how modesty in dress seems to correlate with ladylike posture and gentleness in demeanor. Orthodox Jewish women don’t wear tank tops or shorts.
Not all summer styles befit Catholic mothers. As I make new warm-weather clothing purchases (rare!), I am shifting toward more feminine and modest alternatives.