I spent £2,000 on my 10-year-old’s prom

More money than sense? No, it was worth ev­ery penny! Joanne White­house, 45, Dud­ley

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We’d been prepar­ing for this day since last Christ­mas

Wav­ing her hand so her fresh set of dia­mante acrylic nails flick­ered in the light, my daugh­ter Polly beamed.

‘They look amaz­ing!’ she shrieked, wig­gling each of her fin­gers.

Hand­ing over a wad of cash to the beau­ti­cian, I loved see­ing my girl happy.

It was 17 July 2019, two days be­fore the big­gest event on Polly’s cal­en­dar.

Her school prom. ‘What shall I do with my hair?’ she pon­dered in the mir­ror.

You might think Polly was a teenager, about to fin­ish sec­ondary school.

But, in fact, she was just 10. And she’d been look­ing for­ward to her pri­ma­ryschool prom for months. Years, even! Though it’s usu­ally a sec­ondary-school tra­di­tion, ju­nior proms are pop­ping up every­where.

My el­dest daugh­ter Beth, 13, had hers a few years ago.

But this year’s seemed far more ex­trav­a­gant.

Mums at school had been talk­ing about it for months.

Dresses, make-up, hair styles – prom chat was rife. And, not one to be beaten, I’d pulled out all the stops.

We’d been prepar­ing for this day since last Christ­mas.


I owned a dress busi­ness called Kiss Me Kate, spe­cial­is­ing in fancy frocks.

Polly had tried on 25 to 30 pretty gowns in my collection be­fore pick­ing her favourite. Well, five favourites! We had to wait un­til the day to find out which dress she’d choose…

‘It’s all starting to add up,’ my hus­band Richard, 44, sighed as he looked over our bank state­ment.

Her ride – a limo, £250

– had been pre-or­dered.

The dresses, the nails, make-up – it was al­ready cost­ing a lot.

‘Polly’s worth it,’ I smiled. I owned my busi­ness, Richard’s a pet-food buyer – we’re not mil­lion­aires.

But Polly’s hap­pi­ness was a good ex­cuse to splash out.

She de­served ev­ery penny – I never spoilt her. Or Beth or their brother TJ, 18.

I wanted them to know the value of money.

But this was a spe­cial event.

Polly had al­ways been a girly girl, adored try­ing on the dresses I de­signed.

She also mod­elled for me at shows, and did bal­let danc­ing in com­pe­ti­tions across the area.

We’d al­ways been so proud of her.

She’d been top of her class at school, too. We knew she’d go far.

As the day of the prom neared, Polly couldn’t con­tain her ex­cite­ment.

Bound­ing down the stairs at the crack of dawn on the morn­ing of the big day, she threw her­self into my arms.

‘Thanks, Mum,’ she said hap­pily.

Her last-ever day at pri­mary school got un­der­way.

And when she ar­rived back through the door later, I had a hair­dresser wait­ing.

‘Like Kate Mid­dle­ton has hers,’ Polly re­quested.

Soon, her tresses fell in beau­ti­ful blonde curls.

Then it was time to choose the gown.

Run­ning her hands along the se­quins, tulle and lace of each dress, her eyes

were wide and sparkling.

‘This one,’ Polly grinned, look­ing up in awe at a stun­ning peach gown.

Flown in from Amer­ica, it was so spe­cial, em­bel­lished in 10,000 hand-sewn beads and se­quins.

A hal­ter­neck de­sign with tulle lay­er­ing. Beau­ti­ful ‘Ex­pen­sive taste, you!’ I joked, slightly sweat­ing at the £500 price tag.

But sim­ply see­ing Polly’s ex­cite­ment was price­less.

She picked a pair of £50 san­dals with a chunky heel. Noth­ing too grown-up. I loved that Polly’s dress would be one-of-a-kind.

Cheek­ily, she’d not let any of her friends choose a frock from my collection.

Af­ter Polly had climbed into her dress, I swept a lit­tle blusher across her cheeks.

Brush­ing a coat of mas­cara through her lashes, my eyes welled with tears.

‘You look beau­ti­ful,’ I told her.

As I slicked a layer of gloss along her lips, the door­bell rang.

Seven of Polly’s clos­est friends, all in sparkly out­fits, strut­ted into the house.

We’d ar­ranged a mock­tail party, fit for a princess. Even had wait­ers hand­ing out smoked-sal­mon canapes and straw­ber­ries.

The girls had fizzy pop in cham­pagne flutes.

‘This is bril­liant!’ Poppy’s friends shrieked.

Then, at 6pm, a stretch limo pulled up out­side.

Buzzing, the girls clam­bered into the back. Us mums got a ride, too! Wav­ing out the win­dow, cack­ling with joy, Polly’s squad were ex­hil­a­rated.

As they marched along a red carpet into the event’s cen­tre, a cam­era­man snapped away.

They posed in front of a wall adorned with shiny golden tas­sels.

I’d never seen Polly look­ing so happy.

Af­ter lots of danc­ing and eat­ing party food, the event came to a close.

But the night wasn’t over. Polly’s friends and their par­ents all came back to ours

to carry on the cel­e­bra­tions.

By 4am, the py­jama-clad girls were bun­dled up in a pile of sleep­ing bags. What a night!

As we looked through the pic­tures of the evening,

I was elated we’d given our girl such a spe­cial time. We’d spent around £2,000. But, in my opin­ion, it was worth ev­ery penny.

As cov­er­age of the event went on­line, it was clear not

ev­ery­one agreed. Sounds like a spoilt brat to me, one per­son com­mented. More money than sense… an­other chimed in.

Teach­ing her daugh­ter that ap­pear­ance is ev­ery­thing… And so it went on.

The com­ments hurt. ‘They don’t know what they’re talk­ing about,’

I told Richard.

We can spend our money as we please.

And we de­cided to treat our youngest daugh­ter for work­ing so hard in class.

Af­ter pri­mary school, life gets com­pli­cated.

Sec­ondary school, pu­berty, re­la­tion­ships, ca­reers...

The prom marked the end of an era in Polly’s life.

So I don’t care what any­one says.

I gave my girl a night she will never forget.

And why shouldn’t I make her feel like a princess?

Sal­mon canapes and fizzy pop in their cham­pagne flutes

…and now for that ‘Kate’ hairdo

Polly gets her nails done…

Hav­ing a ball: my de­lighted daugh­ter

Me and my beau­ti­ful girls, Polly and Beth

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