Stay-At-Home Mom Feels ‘Shame’ For Dressing Her Son In Second-Hand Clothes Because It’s All She Can Afford

It reminds her of her childhood.

A young child is next to a rack of clothing. YASNARADA, Pexels, pixelshot via Canva

Shopping for clothes can be expensive when buying them for children. They tend to get dirty more quickly, and before you know it, they’ve already grown out of what you bought them. So, many people rely on second-hand clothing as an affordable alternative. But some parents feel uneasy getting their children used clothes.

One mom dresses her son in second-hand clothes and feels 'shame' because it's all she can afford.

The mom posted her grievances in a Reddit post to “r/beyondthebump.” The subreddit is a space dedicated to new and old parents to air out issues involving their children.


She described her and her husband’s economic situation as “lower middle class.” However, she is able to be a stay-at-home mom with some sacrifices. And one of those is “the bulk of [her son’s] clothes are second hand.” She says she doesn’t mind wearing pre-owned clothes herself since she describes her style as “eclectic.” But as a child, her parents similarly bought her primarily second-hand clothing. She only got unused clothes, like a new dress, for Christmas or her birthday, and even then, it wasn’t guaranteed. 

RELATED: Mom Wants To 'Win Back' 19-Month-Old Daughter's Affection Because She's More Bonded To Her Dad


“Now that I have my own baby I feel so bad buying him used clothes even though I ensure I choose good condition and good quality,” she wrote.

Seeing other babies with new clothes makes her sad from the shame she has for mostly buying her son used clothes. However, her husband is quite the opposite. She remarked that he’s proud of her for getting affordable clothes that look great on him.

The mom wants to remove this feeling of shame but doesn’t know who to turn to talk to about it. So, she asked the community of parents on the subreddit for their advice.

People overwhelmingly support her decision to buy her son second-hand clothes.

Several people commented that her choice is more environmentally sustainable than buying fast-fashion clothing.


“My husband and I are both fairly high-earning professionals, and I try to buy used whenever possible, mostly for environmental/ethical reasons but no sense wasting money too. I feel guilty if I do buy something new!” one person wrote.

“Even if I can afford to buy everything new, it’s nonsensical to me. The environmental impact of every baby needing 50+ new items of clothing in their first year is outrageous,” another person added.

Other people commented that since children get their clothes dirty quickly anyway, buying new clothes doesn’t make economic sense.

“I would rather encourage my kid to play instead of have to say, ‘don’t get dirty, those are your good clothes.’ If all the clothes are thrifted then I don’t have to worry about how clean they stay because I know I can go back and find more for the same cheap price,” one person wrote.


“What’s the point in buying new clothes for babies/toddlers when they’re going to get used maybe a few times, dirty, stained, etc,” another added.

RELATED: Dad Pens Instagram Post From His Toddler's Perspective To Thank 'Cute Nurses' After 'Dad Cut My Finger Off'

On top of Redditors’ opinions, some data bolsters their view that there doesn’t need to be any shame in buying second-hand clothing.

A study finds that more Americans are buying second-hand clothes than ever.

A 2022 e-commerce report from OfferUp found that 82% of Americans buy and/or sell previously owned clothing—they equated that number to the percentage of Americans that own a smartphone. So, odds are most people you encounter have some piece of used clothing in their wardrobe. Your child is not the odd one out!


On top of that, a 2017 report by the American Apparel Association found that each person who buys used clothes can prevent over 500 pounds of carbon emissions every year. Cutting out fast-fashion from your life reduces your carbon footprint by over 80%.

So, parents everywhere should continue to shop at their local thrift stores for not only their children but for themselves as well. It’ll save them money and make for a much greener Earth. 

RELATED: Mom Of Twins Defends Her Choice To Pierce One Of Her Baby's Nose To Tell Them Apart


Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. He writes on entertainment and news.