3+Me: Socks and flip flops

Who actually wears socks with flip flops?

I mean, come on. Who are these people with so little decency (not to mention self-respect) that they assault our eyes with their blatant disregard for common fashion logic?

First of all, flip flops are summer shoes. If it’s cold enough that you need to wear socks with your flip flops, it’s probably a good hint that sandal season is over.

Second of all, it isn’t even comfortable! Normal socks weren’t created with a divot next to the big toe to fit around the flip-flop strap, so the fabric has to be stretched and it’s just a bad idea.

Can we all agree it’s a bad idea?

It’s a bad idea.

Really, what kind of person does that?

Socks and flip flops. Two things that don’t go together – until they do.


I’m the guilty party who wore socks with flip flops in November. And according to the preconceived standards I generally hear, I looked ridiculous.

After all, no one in their right mind would voluntarily want to walk through Logan Airport with bright-white sock fabric uncomfortably squished between their toes like a wedgie to accommodate the strap of their flip flops when it’s 35 degrees outside.

Yet there I was, doing just that.

But if you saw me, I hope you didn’t judge me, because you didn’t know my story.

Because what if I had started out my day in Puerto Rico, as respectable as you like, with decent black ankle socks paired appropriately with sneakers? What if I had intended to keep my feet like that all day, if it had been up to me? You don’t know, do you?

What if I’d gone out for a walk, regardless of the storm clouds looming overhead? What if I’d had a plan, a destination. What if I’d even packed an umbrella and a rain jacket, just in case the worst happened.

And what if the worst did happen. What if those storm clouds opened up. What if I’d tried to use that umbrella and rain jacket, which successfully kept my upper half dry — but from the waist down, I was a lost cause?

You don’t know. You weren’t there.

What if my sneakers got soaked all the way through, to the point that I didn’t even bother avoiding puddles anymore? Yep, that might have even been me, happily splashing along in the river of rainwater streaming along the side of the street, embracing my drenched-ness.

I hadn’t started out with aquatic ambitions. But there I was, practically a mermaid, human on top but swimming from the waist down.

And though it might have been warm in Puerto Rico, it would be notably less back in New England.

So I might have borrowed my husband’s last set of clean socks, to keep my feet warm on the flight home. And I might have paired them with the only other shoes I’d packed with me: flip flops.

Maybe that’s why I was offending the eyeballs of anyone who dared see me in such a state. And they could totally judge me, if they wished, according to their preconceived standards. But they didn’t know how I came to be like that.

They didn’t know my story.

I could feel guilty for it, but why? I was making the most with what I had, and that’s all that could be asked of me in that moment.

(It’s the same with being a stepmom.)

Other people might get small snapshots of my life, and make judgments based on those. Maybe I’m being too lenient with the kids in one instance; maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I’m not involving them enough in “life experiences,” or getting them to eat more than the two food categories they’re used to. Maybe I should make them do more chores; maybe I should give them more freedom.

There’s a gazillion things I could be doing differently. And people could totally judge me, if they wished, according to their preconceived standards.

Maybe some people even judge me as soon as they find out I’m the kids’ stepmom and not their “real” mom. (There was a time I would have done that, too.)

But they don’t know my story.

I could feel guilty for it, but why? I’m making the most with what I have, and that’s all that can be asked of me in each moment.

It’s the only life we’ve got, guys. Why do we waste so much of it judging other people for not hitting whatever mark we’ve set in our minds, when we could be out there focused on making the most of our OWN lives?

Judge less.

Live more.

And be kind to people wearing socks with flip flops.

Originally published in The Herald News on Nov. 11, 2018.

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