Friday my kids were off school, and I took them to the mall to buy Emily, my nine-year-old, some much needed winter clothes. I got two hundred bucks out of the ATM, She looked at me, and I swear I could see the cartoon dollar signs in her eyes.
“You have two hundred dollars! How come you’re always telling me you don’t have any money?!”
“I don’t tell you that I don’t have any money, I tell you I don’t have money for the Webkinz, or the CD, or the poster that you’re asking me for at the moment. We have money, but we only have a certain amount of ‘fun money.’”
“How come all my friends have more fun money than I do?”
“I don’t know, probably because most of your friends’ parents both work full time, and I only work part time.”
“You should go back to teaching! You should get a full-time job! Then I could get a cell phone!”
“True, if I went back to work full time, we’d have a lot more fun money. But you still wouldn’t get a cell phone, because in our family, no kid under 14 needs a cell phone. Also, Will would have to go to full-time school, and I don’t think he’d be very happy. ”
I run this circuit of thought fairly frequently, even without my daughter quizzing me. Which is more important, developing my business full time, or cutting Will’s preschool hours down, because he’s happier? Which is wiser, going back to teaching so I’d have a set salary and the summers off, or trying to build a business from the ground up that may end up being more lucrative than teaching? Which is better, more freedom, or a higher standard of living?
Up ’til now I’ve made my decisions, as all moms do, based on what’s best for my kids. And for our family, that meant being with my kids at home. Now that my kids are getting older, it may mean making more money, and being at home for them, which is trickier. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to start an at-home business. Not so they can have designer clothes and cell phones, but so they can participate in activities, and of course, so we can start putting away for their college.
And there is the issue of what their friends have. I have no intention of trying to keep up with the Joneses, but when most of their friends have 20 Webkinz, and my kids only have one, well, I admit, I would at least like to live in the same neighborhood as the Joneses. Especially as they get older. I don’t want to breed materialism in them, but I also want them to fit in. I remember the kid in my elementary school whose mother sewed her jeans, and other kids who wore nothing but Izod and Jordache, I’d like to find a happy medium in there somewhere.
And what about what’s best for me? That’s got to play into the equation too. I’m pretty happy here at home, but I do better with more structure imposed upon me. Sitting in my PJs at noon, eating cereal for lunch while I read blogs? Well, it’s a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is obvious, but the curse is that maybe I would feel better about myself if I had to get up every morning and go to an office, or a classroom. If I had to put on some decent clothes and interact with people face to face. (If I had any decent clothes– somehow when it’s a choice between a Hannah Montana CD for the kids, or a decent pair of pants for me, Hannah seems to beat me out, every time.) Being an introvert, dealing with people drains my batteries, but like choosing spinach over ice cream, is it better for me?
There’s that saying, don’t let the good be the enemy of the best, but how do you figure out which is which?
Subscribe to blog via RSS