Don’t Judge Me – Have My Back!

This post has been weighing on me for a while. I wasn’t sure how to write it, but it didn’t go away so I know I need to get it out. Please try to read it without taking offense, none was intended.

We live in a very affluent area. Many people seem to have limitless resources. We aren’t among them. Of course there are those who have much less than we do, but there are many who have much more. I don’t begrudge anyone for what they have. They earned it. They made choices that got them where they are and that’s great.

I am not unhappy where I am.

Could things be easier if we had more money? Probably, but most people could say yes to that.

I am content. I have what I need. Not everything I want, but I have what I need.

The one aspect of my life that sometimes gives me that twang of regret? That I haven’t provided more for my kids. And that is a conundrum. I don’t think it’s good parenting to give a child all they want, but there are things I wish we could do. I do wish we had managed to save money for their education. They don’t need the latest and greatest of everything, but it would be nice to offer them something special and unexpected.

We have chosen to focus more on opportunities than things with our kids. And I think that was the right decision for us. Things like the opportunity to be in Boy Scouts and attend 10 days of summer camp or go on campouts. The opportunity to be involved in youth group at our church and go on mission trips where they learn so much about themselves and the world in which they live. And even the opportunity to go on trips with the school, like band trips. I think these things all shape them in different ways. They give them the chance to experience new things, meet new people and stretch themselves.

And they also cost a lot of money.

That’s why we have made tough choices about who goes, when they go and how often. Because our resources, like most people’s, are limited.

Yet recently I heard some other parents are wondering why I wouldn’t want my son to take advantage of an upcoming opportunity. One with a $1600 price tag. One that he will have again in a few years. They just couldn’t understand how I could deprive him of that. It was as though I must not love my son. As though I don’t appreciate the hard work he has done.

That hurts to my core.

The reality is, it is so much more complex than that. Things quite often are not as simple as they first appear. Of course I want to give him the world!

Maybe the reality is, I can’t afford to give him this opportunity. 

Maybe its about allowing a sibling this opportunity at this moment. 

Maybe I believe it’s ok for him to have to wait for a few years for his opportunity. That he will appreciate it more at that point.

It really doesn’t matter why.

I have more information than others about our big picture. I know my child and I know the hopes and dreams I have for him and those he has for himself.

Parenting is hard. It seems like we should have each others’ backs. That we should try to understand and trust that we are all doing what we think is the right thing under the circumstances. 

That we all love our children and want the best for them.

And that the best doesn’t look the same for everyone.

{Note: I realize I used the word “I” throughout this post. I am married and we do make many decisions together. Please don’t assume by the use of I that I’m all alone in parenting. I am simply writing my thoughts not Hubby’s. I didn’t ask him his opinions, nor get his ok to include them in this post:). So what you read is what I think, feel, know, want, expect….Thanks for reading.}

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4 Comments

Filed under Family, Parenting

4 responses to “Don’t Judge Me – Have My Back!

  1. I totally have your back and can commiserate and understand your situation. We’ve prioritized experiences over “things” as well and feel we’ve done the best we can for both our boys over the years. E had a friend who complained that his mom didn’t make food for his friends like I did, so i gently remindedI him that *his* mom worked to give him a car to drive instead… We really do need to have each other’s backs. No one wants to deprive their child of something beneficial, but maybe withholding things allows for a greater appreciation later? I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum, as I’m sure you have, and am comfortable in believing that we’ve done a good job raising our kids… Do what *you* feel is important for your boys and your kids will turn out just fine. I’m just sorry that you’ve been made to feel that you should question your judgement… I may be a few states away, but i’ve definitely got your back!

  2. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    That we all love our children and want the best for them.

    And that the best doesn’t look the same for everyone.

    I am so glad to read these thoughts because parenting comes with so much guilt–mostly guilt about the MATERIAL things we can’t give our kids. Those who feel this guilt, however, are likely the ones who are providing the experiences their kids really need–and those experiences are different for each family.

  3. Oh, my dear cousin. We want to give our kids the world, but the smart parents don’t. The smart parents make their kids earn what they get. I have always marveled at the relationship you have with your boys. Despite you being a parent, you can see they truly appreciate being your child. You are one of the lucky ones because you don’t have to wait until they are grown ups to tell you they appreciate you. You are raising 3 young people who will not be part of the “age of entitlement” and that, my dear cousin, is awesome. Thank you for sharing your angst about what other’s think of you. Just remember what your boys think of you. That’s way more important.

  4. Letha Markwardt

    Loved this blog. I do have your back.. You have offered your boys the absolute best – your time, love, guidance, understanding, listening ear, support, – and on and on. Money won’t buy these things, they have no price tag. Don’t ever feel you have not given them enough. You know what you can afford and stay within those perimetors. I commend you on such a good job. And I love you!!!

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