Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!
I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!
Nataly's profile on Work It, Mom!
We just got home from our daughter’s 5th birthday party. It was great — no major meltdowns, everyone had fun, and she came home smothered in chocolate from a cupcake and paint from painting a plaster princess. Mission accomplished.
My friend, one of the other kid’s mom, helped me unpack the cupcakes and remarked on how pretty they were. I told her that we special-ordered them from this great little bakery, complete with purple butterflies and purple flowers, as requested by our daughter. They weren’t cheap and a simple cake would have done the trick, but the birthday girl wanted these and we obliged.
I told my friend that while I’m happy to see my kiddo be all giddy when she saw the special cupcakes, I was conflicted about ordering them. Well, not so much conflicted as it gave me pause for thought. Cupcakes were a bit of a no-brainer — sure, they’re a bit more expensive than a cake, but not materially so. But as our daughter grows, there will be other things that she really, really, reeealy wants, and drawing boundaries will become tougher. I can see it coming.
Generally, I’d say that we haven’t been guilty of extreme spoiling to this point. She doesn’t lack in anything but we don’t get her everything she wants, don’t buy too many toys, and are pretty aware of trying to not overdo it. For example, she opens a few of her birthday presents after the party every year, but we save the rest and give them to her over the coming months, so she is less overwhelmed and can cherish each present slowly. (My parents think this is a fairly cruel practice, for the record. I’m holding my own on this one.)
Still, I’m sensitive to the fact that she is growing up with everything available to her, not really knowing what it’s like to want something and not have it. And as her parent, I struggle with figuring out the right balance between providing for her and teaching her about things like money, responsible consumption, and frankly, just learning that no, you can’t have everything you want in life. I grew up in a very poor country where my parents never worried about spoiling me with toys; instead, they worried about finding me winter boots that fit (a few winters I wore boots that were a size too big because there weren’t any other options) or fresh vegetables and fruit so I could get enough vitamins. I wouldn’t wish those conditions on our family, but I’m also acutely aware of the great lessons and values they taught me.
I read an article recently that mentioned some research suggesting that kids who receive more resources from their parents grow up to provide their parents with more social support later in life. As with all research, the devil is in the details and “resources” is a really vague concept, but taking a very small sample size of a few friends whose family and childhood situations I know, this seems to be true. So the way we balance providing for our daughter now is going to impact her desire to support us later. Hmmm, food for thought.
In talking with my friends, I’ve found that there are generally (and I’m being VERY general) two schools of thought on this. Some of them feel that if they are able, there’s nothing wrong with providing everything their kids may want and even spoiling them a little. Others believe that teaching kids about the value of money, hard work, and learning limits is more important. (Of course, it’s rarely this black and white and I’m making the distinction to make the point.)
I think it’s a really tough balancing act and I’m curious to hear your opinions: Where does your thinking on this topic fit in? Sound off in the comments!
Subscribe to blog via RSS