A rant where I throw the rave in for free…

I have a shoe problem.

It is more of a shoe management problem.

Then I have a solution.

A shoe management solution.

Which causes a problem.

A shoe management problem…

Here in lies the shoe management problem: a child is born with TWO feet and society expects that they will be wearing shoes on BOTH feet. Oh, and they should match. Thanks society. Way to up the parent pressure.

This was an issue when I had just one child because quite honestly he just had too many shoes. Let’s just admit that baby shoes are the cutest thing ever and a first time mom is powerless in its clutches. I bought cute baby shoes. I received cute baby shoes as gifts. I received cute baby shoes as hand-me-downs. My baby was continuously dressed in cute baby shoes that coordinated with cute baby outfits for exactly 3 seconds

My baby hated wearing shoes. I hate wearing shoes. Genetics was working against my treasure trove of cute baby shoes. After losing one shoe in the house, in the car, in the grocery store and in the mall I noticed a trend. I was leaving a cute baby shoe trail around town. I gave up. No more shoes (or socks for that matter) for baby. Yeah for Texas weather.

I put all the cute baby shoes into the closet. There they stayed until I pulled them out to transfer them to baby #2 closet where they stayed until I transferred them to baby #3 closet until I gave them away to a friend who was having a baby because they were in perfect condition, unused.

As the boys grew into an age where shoes are expected, I started developing a shoe management system. This shoe management system is based on the basic philosophy that shoes are overpriced and boys’ feet grow quickly.

Here is Holly’s shoe management system for boys (H.S.M.S.F.B.):

1. In winter each boy should have one pair of tennis shoes and one pair of dress shoes.
2. In summer each boy should have one pair of crocs and one pair of dress shoes.
3. Dress shoes should be chosen for their ability to be used in both summer and winter and should be handed down from one boy to the next.
4. Every fall each boy goes shopping to get their tennis shoes (Ryan’s also double as his school uniform shoes).
5. Every spring each boy chooses his croc color off the crocs.com website and Holly makes one giant crocs order that qualifies for free shipping.

Before the advent of crocs I had tested sandals (they break and/or stink after a month), summer use of tennis shoes (don’t get me started…they are ALWAYS muddy) and flip-flops (*nightmare* boys can’t walk in flip-flops!). I am just going to say it:

I love crocs. I love crocs on boys because they are sturdy, they don’t stink, they are easily rinsed if muddy and they stay on boys’ feet.

Yeah crocs! Yeah for motherhood in the age of crocs.

A HSMSFB tip is a nearly daily cleaning of crocs. I either dump them in the washer when I am starting a load or throw them into the used bathwater for a little scrubbing. They dry so quickly that either works really well.

Another HSMSFB tip is that all shoes are kept at the back door. At the back door is a bucket for crocs deposits.

So last year the HSMSFB worked beautifully. Rhett (then 1) and Ryan (then 6) chose silver crocs and Reid (then 3) chose blue (of course). I spent last summer confident that I had this shoe management thing down. I spent last summer feeling like a genius. Last summer…good.

This summer…

It all started with the color selection. All three boys chose the same color. No big deal? They all want the same toys. They all want the same kid’s meal prize. To them same equals fair. So I ordered the 3 pairs of blue crocs in sizes 8/9, 10/11 and 12/13.

I noticed my error on DAY ONE. Size 8/9 doesn’t look much different then size 10/11 and size 10/11 doesn’t look much different then size 12/13. In fact, size 8/9 doesn’t really look that different from size 12/13 when you are in a rush.

I have been at the park with one or two children and noticed that they are wearing two different size crocs. Unfortunately it never involved just the two sizes of the children represented at the park.

So thinking myself a genius I stopped by a store that sold jibbitz. I know! I will just buy their initial letters to add to the shoes.

First mistake was naming all my children with the same first initial.

Second mistake was expecting a store to carry their first and second initials.

I know! I will just buy some symbol that would make each shoe different.

First mistake is to assume that I could find BOY themed jibbitz.

Second mistake is to assume I am willing to pay money for the super random, ugly and dumb BOY themed jibbitz I found.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw another $18 down this hole.

Until I got home and went to the website, chose things they would actually like and threw another $21 down this hole…

And so my dear reader(s), I am still frantically searching for same size crocs every time we leave the house until I get a shipment from jibbitz.

Oh, and add this into the mix:

According to Rhett, ELEPHANT can’t leave the house without wearing his last summer’s size 6/7 crocs. Thank God they aren’t blue and don’t require another $6 worth of adornment…


  1. Manic Mommy says:

    Sharpie on the bottom (S.O.T.B)?

    I’m considering crocs for the boys for all of your above-mentioned reasons. Thanks for the endorsement.

  2. Can’t you just get a big, black marker and write their names on the soles?

    I love Crocs 🙂

  3. I’m not a big fan of those jibbitz things. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any for my lonely crocs and I’m just secretly jealous. 🙂

  4. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    I guess this is a benefit to only having one boy and one girl. I don’t have this issue! I like the marker on the bottom idea!

  5. My boys (17 and 13) refuse to wear Crocs. The two year old, doesn’t really care.

    My girls, however, each have at least two pair, along with jibbitz that seem to break off a lot – which can be very traumatic apparently. I didn’t know that they cost $6 each. (The things my wife doesn’t tell me)

    My daughter Maggie wants me to have some Wall*E Crocs. I don’t think that they will work for me personally, but… I WILL have to wear them. No way, no how can I get out of that.

    I’m with you on the bare feet, even in the winter time I have been known to take the trash out sans footwear.

    The problem I can see with the marker on the bottom would be the wear and tear of everyday use. Maybe on the top, or the heel would work though.

    Have a great day!

  6. Oh, and ELEPHANT definitely NEEDS them! 🙂

  7. standing still says:

    Definitely, sharpie. Big broad marker with a name on the bottom or inside the shoe. Heck, a little initial inside the back strap would even work.

  8. the planet of janet says:

    with all my VAST years of child-rearing experience, i heartily endorse S.O.T.B.

    much cheaper than flibbertyjibitzy stuff (or whatever that crap is).

  9. We went to croc’s this year and I couldn’t be happier. I will stick to croc’s until they protest them.

  10. Tranny Head says:

    I can’t wait until my kid can wear the Crocs. In fact, if they make those “Mammoth” style crocs with the fur lining, I’m totally buying those for him, too, for winter.

    Can’t you make your kids pee on their shoes to mark their territory or something?

  11. The sharpie is a good idea, but I never would have thought of that. I would have done exactly what you did — which is why I cracked up while reading your post! But really, last year’s shoe management system — genius! I had no idea I could wash the crocs in the washing machine. Go figure.

  12. Nap Warden says:

    I can’t even imagine what you go through…I have a boy, and a girl, so at least all I’m looking for is a green pair and a pink pair…Three boys, all the same color…I need a vacation just thinking about it!
    Oh, and the elephant is on his own;)

  13. I feel your pain! I agree–go the Sharpie route and enjoy the summer 🙂

    My issue is a bit different here–my kids refuse to wear CROCS–my oldest proclaimed them UGLY the second she saw them and told me to never ever buy her a pair–she prefers those sparkly flip flops–the others have fallen suit–my younger girl only wants glittery flip flops or sandals and the my older son is very into his Vans and wants nothing to do with CROCS now either 🙁 The baby just lives in Robeez still but maybe I could try getting him in CROCS–it would last until my oldest daughter screamed UGLY 😉

  14. We’re Croc lovers too. It’s all my kids wear. But our elephant is Hello Kitty in a lovely worn out pair of pink Crocs.

  15. Okay, I am ghetto and I realize that. And if Bianca read this comment, she would just roll her eyes at me.

    But: I totally would have just broken out my sharpie marker and written their names on their shoes. ON THE BOTTOM, THOUGH. Or maybe the inside. Maybe I’d even just use a number instead of an entire name. Like 1, 2, 3. And then, when matching up the shoes, I’d just look at the numbers to see which was which.

  16. Hey! Apparently I’m not so ghetto! Look at all the other people recommending Sharpie markers.

    Now I just feel like I’m a genius.

    You know why? Because that $21 I (hypothetically) saved from not buying jibbitz means that now I can (hypothetically) buy new shoes for myself! Wheeeee!

  17. Oh, the trials. I guess I’m lucky I have girls who want flip flops. And we make a bazillion pair every spring (for almost NO money) to match every possible outfit (and every not possible one).

    I always thought Crocs were ugly, but just broke down and bought 3 pair for myself. They’re all pink, and all the same size, but they’re all mine. I bought them because I knew they’d be easy to clean and easy to get on and off, but had NO IDEA how comfortable they would be. Granted, I don’t wear them for long amounts of time, but I could never tolerate flip flops that long.

  18. You are a good crocks salesperson. My son has already peed on his sandels over two times and they SMELL! I think Im going for the crocks.

  19. lol.

    oh and i’m totally laughing w/ you. seriously i AM. 😉 see… bwahahahah!!

    i have this problem w/ my girls, one is a 1/2 to a full size bigger shoe than the other one… we have such problems getting them right and once one of the girls have the shoes on… even two left or right feet… those are HER SHOES… you cannot and will NOT take them from her… how dare you??? so then it is a battle of the wills and I have to admit most times i loose or give in… it is much easier than hearing some fussing and crying and well SCREAMING. girls scream, cry and whine a LOT!! a lot!! at least my devil spawn dog call screaming girls do!! (joking here about the devil spawn) then i have the other child crying that her sister has her shoes on… so… really it is a NEVER ending battle here.

    OH… i hear some of you saying or maybe HOLLY saying… why not get them different shoes each.. yeah… sure…

    been there done that. duh!! they want the same exact shoes that their sister has… and if they happen to pick different ones out in the store, or agree to getting different ones, they when we get home there is melt down about having different shoes.

    just cannot win.

    but in short… I wanted to say that i mark the bottom of the shoes with marker so that i can tell quickly who’s is who’s. 🙂

    sorry so long winded, i’m not going to blog any more at my place, and i’m going to just post here in your comments from now on.



  20. Crocs + summer + boys = Perfection.


    Kohls sells Skechers type crocs now. They are really pretty good. They also sell flare for them for cheaper than jibbitz. Next time.

    I will not let my boys pick the same shoes anymore. I take them shoe shopping separately. Luckily, they have different favorite colors.


  21. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    I know nothing of this. Crocs have never darkened the doorway of our home.

    Back in the day we did Teva sandals.

  22. Jane @ What About Mom? says:

    I hate searching for kids’ shoes. It is the worst.

    I’ve finally made a basket for shoes and socks up high in the coat closet. Mama’s working the inventory control!

    Too funny on them all choosing the same color, and what a good nurturer to want Elephant properly shod.

  23. I’m all for a sharpie on the heal or back strap… That’s just how I roll. 🙂
    But your shoe theory is a GREAT one!

  24. Anglophile Football Fanatic says:

    See, I never put shoes on mine before he walked. And, then I did what your method was. Is Holly a good Holly follower, Holly? Funny that our Crocs this year are that same blue.

    And, you really should go to the Crocs outlet…just saying….

  25. Jennifer H says:

    I’m in awe of your system and think you will inspire parents everywhere.

    Also, I’m with those who suggest writing names on the shoes.

  26. Domestic Spaz says:

    All three of my kids have crocs, thankfully NOT in the same color. I love them love them love them. I love that they do not need socks so I do not need to try to find three pair of socks that match. I love that they wash clean. I love that the kids can put them on in like .5 seconds when I’m rushing us out the door. We’re in Florida so it’s crocs all year round. That and they look super cute on kids. I look like a clown in my purple ones that I use to work outside. 🙂

  27. Well of COURSE the elephant needs the crocs!! I mean, what did you expect?

  28. On a limb with Claudia says:

    Oh Miss Holly…. You try so hard. We have about 1.2 billion sharpies in our house (beekeeping = sharpie). I’d just write their names on the bottom of the crocs and be done with it.

    But I was also “Miss C Christian”, along with my other 3 sisters, for all of my life.


    It was the worst suffering of my entire life.

    Well… not really… 😉

  29. EatPlayLove says:

    I live in the center of the Croc Universe (Crocs were born in colorado).. So for me, I am so over them, although I have a pair of flipflops from last season that just don’t want to die!

    As for my girls, crocs it is. I even dug out an old pair of sandals (open toe) from last year, they fit nice and snug and have been perfect for all water play this season.

    BTW… don’t ever forget your crocs are in the load of laundry and put them in the dryer. You’ll own a molten piece of rubber.

  30. I really can’t remember life before crocs. I actually throw them in the dishwasher for a good high temperature rinse every once in awhile.
    Since I’ve got a boy and a girl we pretty much know whose crocs are whose but the Jibitz kill me. Kind of like small Webkinz, totally superfluous garbage that every other kid in elementary school has 1000 of and is entirely the measure by which my parenting is judged in the eyes of my nine and seven year olds.

  31. Your right, boys can’t wear flip flops!! My Owen is also a crocs fan.

  32. Put their initials on the soles of their shoes with permanent marker.

  33. InTheFastLane says:

    Although I think Jack Jack would be very cute in crocs…I just cannot give in. We do have a similar shoe management strategy, however, in the summer we go with one dress shoe (in Jack Jack’s case it is still a sandals) and one pair of keen sandals. They are antimicrobial, you can throw them in the wash and I bought them each a size too big last summer and i don’t have to buy new one this year.

  34. Hilarious!! But I’ll make you feel better. Four daughters, you can imagine the shoes we have floating around here!

  35. I saw a lonely purple croc in a field today…and me with no camera, second time in a week. Sigh…

  36. womaninawindow says:

    Ya, SHARPIE! $1.99 at most…or, if you really want a quick ID use three different colours. You CAN do this!
    Very handsome elephant, by the way.

  37. A Mom Two Boys says:

    What in the hell are jibbitz?

  38. Never thought I’d buy crocs – are they really that comfortable? but then my daughter went to preschool and the “I-gotta-have-its” began. I gave in and gave her a pair for her birthday.

    If an elephant walks a mile in your crocs does that make him an “eleph-ile?” or a “croco-phant?

  39. Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart says:

    Now that was funny.

  40. now that was funny! i will be taking your advice when we get back to america. right now we have one pair of tennis shoes and one pair of sandals or flip flops. for the most part. the 15 year old seems to have more shoes, but i think her feet may be done growing so that is only fair. the rest of the kids just wear whatever pair of shoes they find first. it works for us.

  41. I became addicted to Crocs when I had a babysitter who worked at the Croc Kiosk at the mall. I got them for half price! She no longer works there but I still buy them every year for the boys. I bought the ones with the Mickey Mouse holes this year. Too cute! I like them because even when my youngest was 2 he could put them on by himself though a lot of time on the wrong foot. I used the Sharpie to help him tell the difference between right and left: Black mark went to the outside of his foot. A warning on the Jibbitz: Everyone we’ve ever bought eventually fell off and was lost … somewhere.

  42. Ok, I have to say here, that I am glad I have only one boy to buy crocs for. I do not like crocs!!

    Now we do have this problem with flip-flops for the two girls and me. I go to Old-Navy, buy a bunch of solid color fli-flop and off we go. Problem is the two girls are always fighting, because they want to wear the same pair at the same time.

  43. mommeeof9 says:

    I hate shoes and so do my kids. I try to leave the 3 youngest kids shoes in the van. Then I know we’ll have them when we go somewhere with everyone. The 8 yr old and up are on their own. If they can’t find their own shoes and socks, too bad. Not my problem!

  44. laughingatchaos says:

    Crocs are perfect for boys, for every reason you listed. However, my youngest wears his fuzzy Crocs in the summer, and always on the wrong feet. At least he’s good for a laugh. 🙂

  45. baby~amore' says:

    my almost 2 year old twins can put them on (they share one pair LOL at the momnet ) themselves so I am buying some this spring … my problem is that with some shoes one kid ends up with two left feet (or right) if we have two pairs the same kind (& size)

  46. Oh Holly. tee hee.
    Go to WalMart and buy some cheap ones…different colors and cheap jibbitz thingies.
    I never buy the brand names.
    I’m cheap that way.

    And I HATE wal mart…
    but I go there anyway.


  47. I found my daughter’s bright blue crocs 4/5 at macy’s end of season sale for $10 (I also bought her the next size up for such a good deal). One day there were two in my car, the next time I looked I could only find one. Kids must have kicked one out upon exiting I guess. So the dilemma is what do I do with one left croc? Even though she is almost onto the next size, my baby boy will grow into it next year. There must be a plethora of orphan crocs out there with no child left in the family to wear that size. So how can I find a donated right shoe only croc in the same color and good condition? None on craigslist, none on ebay. I refuse to spend more than my initial investment of $10, when all I need is one croc that I know is out there that someone wants to get rid of…

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