I am generally a “live simply” kinda gal.
When we are no longer using something in our home, I get rid of it. I don’t have closets crammed full of clothing and shoes to be worn “someday.” I detest rampant consumerism. I value experiences over possessions. But when it comes to my kids…
I am ridiculous. I see some toy or crafty item or shirt that I think they would like, or learn from, or use or look adorable in and I’m done. I rationalize that I have only these few short years to see their little face light up with enjoyment, to control what they wear and what they are exposed to, I tear up, go sentimental and get out the debit card. Like I said, ridiculous.
Now, I have to say that I have been blessed with two little boys who are perfectly happy to go to the store, wander the toy aisles and never fuss or fight or beg to take anything home. I rarely buy things for them when they are with me because I fear having kids who act out and are greedy. So I’m lucky…but…that doesn’t mean I’m doing this right. I mean, maybe they should want things. Maybe the reason that they don’t behave that way is because they’re are overloaded with things at home and not because of been successful at some particular aspect of parenting.
I do want them to have every possible positive experience that they can, but I also see the room for a little bit of wanting and longing. I do want them to have a magical childhood, but I also want them to grow up knowing that things are not important. Knowing that it’s the people and places that are part of our lives that really matter. So how do I walk that fine line?
How, exactly, do I overcome this sentimentality and overdeveloped need to create every possible happiness for them?
At this risk of going all therapy session on myself, I suspect that it all stems from my own insecurity and from my own less than ideal childhood. Their father tells me that I need to remember that my life is not their lives. They don’t have to grow up before their time the way I did. He also tells me that I’m a better mother than I give myself credit for. He might be on to something. But if you know me at all, you know I’m going to discount his opinions. And, let’s face it, that’s with good reason.
I suspect the solution to this issue, like most I’m afraid, is to work on me and face my own crap…I’m just starting to wonder how many lifetimes it’s going to take to get there.