Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mark This Date

December 19, 2007 2:30 pm EST - Manic Mommy resents Santa for the first time ever.

HRH and I are leaving the craft store with $26.00 worth of crap crafts. Specifically, we bought the molds, chocolate, sticks, and wrappers to make cute little Christmas lollypops. We also bought coloring/sticker books. Apparently, I missed the memo that this year, we'll be giving small presents to each of our classmates at preschool.

HRH is only in a class of nine kids so it's not a huge deal but we also do Halloween treats, cupcakes for birthdays, and one intrepid mommy actually had Thanksgiving gifts. I would have to say it's out of control. God knows I feed into it as much as the next mom. But I digress.

As we're leaving the store, HRH states that I've hurt his feelings because I always say no when he wants to buy something. This time, "something" was the entire display box of cheap Hot Wheels candy. (In his defense, I don't think he realized they weren't a set). I went into a my song and dance about how it's a mere six days from Christmas when we will awaken, run downstairs in our PJs, and marvel at the wonder of all that Santa has generously provided.

And I got a blank stare. Santa is the one who goes to all the trouble, money, time, thought, and energy. Mom and Dad are just the ones who videotape the aftermath. Irrationally, I thought, "so why does Santa get all the glory?".

I also wondered if we're doing a good enough job instilling the proper values in our children. I grew up without much money and sometimes felt that I was missing out on things that my friends had. In reality, it was the crazy father that upset our homelife rather than the lack of another Barbie. Still, even knowing this, I tend to overcompensate; big birthday parties, big over-the-top Christmas, small purchases almost whenever they ask.

Is the result that my kids take things for granted or do they know that these things they have are hard-won? We talk about kids who don't have enough, we talk about giving to others. We try to model all these values but really, how do you instill a sense of gratitude in a preschooler - and how do you know if you're doing enough?


[Ed: Got an email from a friend providing me some perspective along with this little pearl of wisdom:

"It's like Jeffrey Dahmer writing a book on food. "

JOY BEHAR ~ on celebrity mom Lynne Spears' upcoming book on parenting, which has been delayed indefinitely after her 16-year-old daughter, Jamie Lynn, announced that she was pregnant. ]


Anonymous said...

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”
-Woody Hayes

suburbancorrespondent said...

Keep the ante way low when they're young. If you do a big blow-out party one year, how can the next year possibly measure up, without an even greater outlay of time and money? If kids aren't totally excited about something you're giving them, they're not being deprived enough.

~ Denise said...

I do the same thing. I figure they are only young once, and I can give them what they want so I do.

However, before Christmas every year, I make them clean out their closets/toy boxes and we give all their toys away to kids who need them. I think it is a good way to teach them about kids who are not as fortunate, and it cuts down on the clutter!

slouching mom said...

I think that as they get older, they're much more able to process what it means to have, or not to have, and what it means to be generous with one's time and money. Keep teaching your lessons, and they WILL sink in, eventually.


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