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Left Image: Mom poses with daughter | Right Image: Mom holds up pink stained kids clothing

Mom Shares Why Daughter Goes To School In Stained Clothing

Marla Branyan/@marla_branyan
Uplifting News

Mom Says Her Kid Goes to School in Stained Clothing - Strangers Were Taken by Surprise

Her daughter is only 3 years old. She didn't see the problem.

Marla Branyan is a mom from Indiana who knows the relentless cycle of parenting. It's early mornings, hectic breakfasts, and laundry that's piled up like a mountain.

With a 3-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, she's no stranger to stained clothes. But after years of feeling pressured to keep her kids looking spotless, she decided it was time to break the cycle.

"Why should I stress about a little mess?" she asked. And with that, her TikTok video about sending her kids to school in stained clothing went viral, sparking a heated debate among parents.

Some Parents Were Outraged – Others Said They Will Do The Same

Branyan's TikTok video struck a nerve. In it, she talked about sending her kids to school in stained clothes. She explained that these stains often come from school activities, like painting, playing outside, or simply enjoying a messy lunch. "Why waste money on new clothes every week when they're just going to get stained again?" she asked.

The video quickly attracted both praise and criticism. Some parents were outraged, arguing that sending kids to school in stained clothes sends the wrong message: "Would you go to work in clean or stained clothes?" one parent commented. Others, however, applauded her, sharing stories of their own struggles with keeping kids clean and tidy.

"I'm the director of an early childhood education center and its soooo much better when kids come in play-able clothes! They eat! They paint!!"

Margaret Grace Myers, @margarertgmyers

The divide was clear: Should parents strive for picture-perfect, or embrace the chaos of childhood?

Is It Fair To Judge Parents For Not Taking On The Extra Financial Burden?

Branyan shares her parenting challenges and bravely questions traditional expectations. In her video, she acknowledged the pressures parents face to maintain a certain image. "I used to stress about every little stain," she confessed. "But I realized it wasn't worth it." What's more, is many parents relate to the financial strain of raising children — clothes, school supplies, extracurricular activities, and more.

Branyan knows constantly buying new clothes to replace stained ones can quickly add up. Her stance opens a discussion about the unseen costs of parenthood and whether it's fair to judge parents who opt for practicality over perfection. While it's easy to criticize from the outside, few people understand the financial decisions parents make behind closed doors.

This perspective resonates with those who believe that parenting should focus on what's best for the child, not on meeting societal expectations.

Watch Marla Branyan's Video:


I think most preschool teachers and daycare providers would actually prefer kids NOT be in their nicest/name brand clothes bc it takes some pressure off the teachers/providers to help keep those clothes as clean as possible. Kids need freedom to be messy and dirty, and that preschool and daycare age is a great opportunity for that. #daycare #preschool #parentsoftoddlers #toddlersoftiktok #parents #parentsofpreschoolers #parentsoftiktok #daycareprovider #daycarelife #daycareworker #preschoolteacher #preschoolmom

Spending Money On Your Children Does Not Equate To Loving Them

The TikTok video also challenges the notion that spending money on children is a measure of love. This perspective is refreshing in a world where social media often showcases the perfect side of parenting. Branyan's message invites parents to embrace the reality of raising children.

"It's not always picture-perfect, and that's okay. It's not about having the best clothes. It's about making sure my kids are happy and healthy."

Marla Branyan

The stains on a child's clothing can be signs of a day filled with creativity, exploration, and joy. Branyan's experience underscores that raising children is about love, support, and creating memories — not about having the cleanest clothes.

Her words encourage parents to focus on what truly matters, helping them feel less pressure to keep up with unrealistic standards. And for many parents, that's the kind of message they've been longing to hear.

What Are We Really Communicating To Our Children When We Strive For Perfection?

Woman holding her child's clothing.Woman holding her child's clothing.Marla Branyan / @marla_branyan

Ultimately, Branyan's viral TikTok video brought up an interesting question: What message are we sending our children when we focus on their outward appearance, even at a young age?
"When it comes to kids, especially at a really young, impressionable age, I don't think as a society, we should put this pressure on 3, 4, 5, even 6-year-olds [about] their looks. I think they need to be focused more on having fun, learning and making friends."

Marla Branyan

Young children, especially those in preschool and early elementary school, are at a stage where they are exploring the world, building friendships, and discovering their interests. It's a time for fun and creativity, not for worrying about keeping their clothes pristine. By putting pressure on them to always look a certain way, parents and society may inadvertently stifle their sense of adventure and creativity. Branyan's message resonates with parents who believe that kids should be kids, free to explore and make messes without fear of judgment.

Her video is also an important reminder for all parents that striving for perfection in children's clothing might send the wrong signal. It could teach them to prioritize appearance over enjoyment and creativity. Moreover, it could contribute to unhealthy expectations as they grow older, potentially leading to issues with body image and self-worth.

The message in Branyan's words is clear: Let's focus on the things that truly matter in a child's development — kindness, learning, and having fun. By letting go of the pressure to keep kids looking perfect, parents can encourage a more positive and supportive environment. It's not about neglecting cleanliness; it's about embracing the fact that children learn and grow through play, and play often means getting a little dirty.

This is one mom who's breaking the cycle — literally.

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