It’s More Than Shirts - By Sarah Mercado
We all know and love Chynna, the founder of Little Mama Shirt Shop. One thing Chynna always says is, “It’s more than shirts.” If someone has never shopped LMSS before, they might think, “Ok, it’s more than shirts. Maybe they have other cute clothing, maybe some hats, stickers, etc.” They’d be right, LMSS does sell more than just shirts, but it’s not just the products that matter. On the surface, it just looks like shirts, but if we pause a moment and take a deeper look, it’s so much more than that.
As I looked through the pictures on my phone trying to glean inspiration for what to write, it struck me. It’s not a single photo that’s going to inspire me, but the whole collection. Holidays, lazy weekends, and everything in between, all in Little Mama Shirt Shop shirts. It’s more than shirts.
I still remember how I found LMSS three years ago…I had recently become a first-time mom via foster-adoption and wanted to wear that badge proudly on my chest. I did a quick search and stumbled upon LMSS’s adoption heart shirt. I quickly added it to my cart and then decided to peruse the rest of the website in case there was something else cute for me and the kids. Well, almost $200 later, I scored matching Christmas shirts for the family, some Christmas presents for my mom and mother-in-law, and some extra “just because” shirts for myself. I was instantly hooked. My order hadn’t even arrived yet and I was so excited to take cute family photos on Christmas morning. These shirts were about to be a part of beautiful family memories.
One place we love to go as a family is our local zoo here in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s definitely not the biggest or most beautiful zoo, but it’s something we get to do as a family to learn and connect. So, when Chynna released the Zoo Crew Collection, I knew I HAD to get the kids matching shirts. My son is very particular and rigid. If he does something a certain way one time, that’s how he has to do it every subsequent time. We’re looking into a possible Autism diagnosis, but we’ll save that for another post. The reason I mention his rigidity is because ever since the first time he wore his “zoo shirt” to the zoo, now he HAS to wear that shirt every time we go, which has turned into such a beautiful routine for us. When I pull out the shirt, he instantly lights up from within. You can feel the joy oozing out of his pores. He gets to express his love for animals and nature through his shirt, which in turn creates opportunities for cute sibling zoo pics!
When we moved to Hawaii six years ago, we knew it was going to be difficult. My husband and I both come from families that really value togetherness. So, on the last trip that my husband’s side made out here to Hawaii, I knew I wanted to get matching shirts for the cousins. They’re only going to be little and let me match them for a few more years, if I’m lucky, so gotta take advantage of this time! We went to a beautiful botanical garden up on the windward side of the island where everything is so green and lush. We were luckily able to fit in some photo opportunities before someone melted down. With three toddlers, it was bound to happen sooner or later. One of our favorite memories from this trip to the botanical garden was my daughter’s need to go poop. I imagine most of you reading this have had a similar experience. When they gotta go, they gotta go! Luckily, we brought our travel potty with us, so we parked the stroller near a picturesque overlook and let her take care of business. To me, it’s so humbling to watch toddlers not care about what others might be thinking. There she is, sitting on the potty taking a poo throwing a shaka while other visitors pass by. Sometimes I wish I could live so authentically.
This past Thanksgiving 2022, as usual, I ordered some coordinated family shirts. As my son gets older, it has gotten harder and harder to do “normal” things, like go to a neighbor’s house for holidays. He is very easily dysregulated. His nervous system doesn’t care whether it’s a holiday or not. So this past Thanksgiving, my son is already having a difficult time at home as we get ready to go. We knew this. We do our best to co-regulate with him as we hurry to try to get out the door. We walk over to our neighbor’s house and by the time we get there, my son is having a full-blown meltdown. My husband and I have different ways of handling meltdowns, which often creates extra stress in already tense moments. Literally on the front porch of our neighbor’s house, my son is screaming and kicking, my husband and I are upset with each other, and my husband decides to take our son back home to regulate. I follow them home, upset, and we finally get our son back to a calm-ish state. We, on the other hand, are anything but calm. My husband decides he wants to stay home, and I take our son back to the neighbor’s house. As I look back through pictures, there’s none from Thanksgiving 2022, because it was a hard holiday for us last year. Even though we were all in our matching shirts, there aren’t any cute pictures. LMSS shirts don’t magically make holidays perfect. Rather, they create an opportunity to create memories. Motherhood is not all unicorns and rainbows. There’s definitely trials and tribulations along the way. And that’s expected! The lack of pictures represents a difficult evening for us as a family, but nonetheless, it’s part of our story, and LMSS was there for it.
Seeing the first LMSS photo in my camera roll through the last, I can’t help but feel so overcome by emotion. I remember each of those moments so vividly; the joy, the excitement, the frustration, the sorrow. I get to keep these memories forever. LMSS has become part of our journey, through all of the ups and downs, because it’s more than shirts.
This article was written by Sarah Mercado. Find her on Instagram @mixedplateohana.
This is so beautiful. I love how integrated LMSS is in your family. I feel very similar.