A few days ago, there was a post in the Huffington Post Parenting Blog where a mother is writing a letter to her 8 year old daughter explaining why she works. Apparently, her daughter was giving her the guilt trip. There was one line from this post that struck me:
I work because this nice house and those gymnastics lessons and those sneakers you need to have are all made possible by two incomes.
See, I wonder if that nice house and new sneakers, etc are more something the mom would want her daughter to have. It's our materialistic, keeping up with the Joneses mentality...consume, consume...
The reason why I say this is because I look at myself and my peers - we all grew up pretty much, upper middle class, privileged I'd say just because we had everything we could want. A nice house, new cars when we learned how to drive, ski trips, dinners at the best restaurants...and yet, when we grew up, we had issues with our parents. We went back to them to blame them for our problems now - "you were never there for us..." "We didn't feel like we mattered..." blah.
But my other friends that I met later in life that perhaps weren't as privileged, had hard working parents that despite working so hard had a hard time making ends meet didn't seem to have the blame problem. Everything they acquired, they worked hard to get because their parents couldn't buy if for them.
If I were to guess, I would say perhaps those that had a tough upbringing could see why their parents did not have time for them because they had to work to put food on the table. And when they did have enough money they probably made sure everyone benefitted from the gift if there was one. And it was so rare that it was special.
When you have enough to buy anything, then the specialness is often lost.
And so you get to this point where material items are just that. Material items. And if you were to ask any child, would you rather spend a lot of time with your mom or would you like the latest new sneaker, that child would say more time with her mom. And is it sad that we can't give that to them?
I'm writing this now knowing that quality time with my daughter is SO IMPORTANT and yet, I have a really hard time putting my smart phone down and focusing solely on her. The four hours I have when she is in school is not nearly enough time for me to get my work done so after she comes home from school I try to focus on her at least for an hour or so but then I toggle between work and her and you know what? I bet that really sucks for her because she is only four and doesn't understand. All she sees is her mother married to that stupid phone...
Ugggh, the conflict I feel within myself. It's suffocating sometimes.