Mom defends choice to send child to school with stained clothes, sparking debate

Raising children comes with a hefty price tag, with various expenses ranging from daycare to transportation, food, and, of course, clothing.

In fact, CBS recently reported that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 amounts to approximately $240,000, making every penny count for parents like Marla Branyan.

Branyan, a mother whose daughter is of pre-school age, recently sparked a heated debate on social media by explaining that she believed it was practical and cost-effective to send children to school in stained clothes.

Taking to TikTok, she argued that stained does not equal dirty, pointing out the financial strain of constantly replacing stained garments.

In a viral video garnering over 1.2 million views, Branyan defended her stance, highlighting the reality of parenting a messy preschooler. “Why would I not send her to school in the stained clothes that she stained at school?” she asked, adding that it was impractical to dress children in their “Sunday best” for everyday activities.


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

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“She messy. She’s living her best life, and I will continue sending her in the stained clothes because I can’t afford to keep replacing these pants every single week. Okay, I can’t,” Branyan continued.

Her perspective seemed to resonate with many parents who face similar challenges in balancing financial constraints with the ever-increasing demands of parenthood.

Many users argued in favor of Branyan, like this person, who wrote: “As a teacher we don’t ‘notice’ kids coming in stained clothes, we notice when they come in with the SAME outfit 4 days in a row!!!!!!”

Someone else added: “As a former preschool teacher….. yes 100%. We paint, play in dirt, water play, they get distracted eating and may even have an accident.”

“I needed this so bad, I still probably won’t do it but I’ve thrown thousands $$ of clothes out the last 4 years because my girls (4 & 7) ruin EVERYTHING,” a further comment read.

At the same time there were other netizens who disagreed with Branyan’s stance… It is the internet, after all.

One person remarked: “Do you go to work in clean stained clothes?”

Another chimed in with: “I send my kid in comfortable nice clothing but not stained….”

Credit: Getty.

In a follow-up video, Branyan further elaborates on her opinion, criticizing the societal pressure to maintain a certain image at the expense of financial well-being.

She commented on how absurd it is that some parents will go into debt to uphold superficial standards, especially if they’re unnecessarily concerned about how others perceive them.


Replying to @Urban People Cleaning Our intentions matter & knowing which direction we’re more inclined to go (lazy or perfectionist) is helpful in determining why we do what we do & why we make the choices we make. ❤️ #daycare #preschool #parentsoftoddlers #toddlersoftiktok #parents #parentsofpreschoolers #parentsoftiktok #perfectionism #controlfreak #cleanfreak #parentsoftiktok #daycareprovider #daycarelife #daycareworker #preschoolteacher #preschoolmom #greenscreen

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While Branyan’s viewpoint may not align with everyone’s beliefs, she has managed to ignite a broader conversation about the realities of parenting in an increasingly consumer-driven society.

What do you think of this? Let us know in the comments!


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