It dawned on me the other day, that I was laying the building blocks for a self-entitled brat. Sure, Lana is only 8 months, but once I describe to you what life is like for her, you will understand my predicament. Let me start with a little preface; I was raised as a very poor child and only my paternal grandmother gave me nice gifts. She ended up raising me after I endured sexual abuse by a neighbor (he went to jail), ugly divorce of my parents at a young age while coping with the abuse trial, moved to 2-3 schools a year, going without necessities, under a strict evangelical disciplinary rule set… You get it. The list can go on as it does for many others who lived through hell-and-back as a kid. I am what they call a “Dandelion Kid”. I grew no matter what was around me. I have resiliency.
Fast forward through many years of hard work that paid off and you find I am now doing very well. I have a happy home and now a beautiful baby girl of my own. My grandma was right to believe in me! Out of some need to ensure my baby girl never feels the pain I endured, I found myself stockpiling organic, high-end toys and clothing. I wanted and bought the very best for Lana long before she ever set foot outside of the womb. My husband grew up differently. He was given many nice things, had a lot of freedom, never went hungry: Normal, comes to mind. He can’t fathom our baby girl ever needing all of these belongings. There had to be a happy medium according to him.
Before I could grasp there was indeed a happy medium, I had to realize how much money I had spent on this endeavor of supplying Lana with the materialistic, capital B, Best. I won’t say how much, but let’s just say, I had sticker shock. What in God’s name was I doing? This wasn’t practical. At some point I realized, I can’t give into her every whim like I currently was doing on mine. For example, I would see a cooler, newer version of some baby item, onto Amazon Prime I went, checked out: Within 2 days Lana owned it. Over and over again.
So let’s just say, I have chilled on that train wreck. More than chilled, really, I have accepted it for it what it really is: my own need to put things in place of anxiety. And I stopped it long before Lana could ever know and use it against me!
Here’s the bigger issue, I used to be able to relate to being poor. I used to understand living paycheck to paycheck. Most of my family still does. I am in a place now that we don’t have to worry like that anymore. Our incomes + our assets have taken over to a point that only for very large purchases do we really stop and pause. We have savings, 401ks, started Lana’s college fund, etc… But now, I have lost sight of struggle, and without that how can I relay that to Lana: to be thankful for whatever you might have, to be happy for the simple things, to cherish the time together as a family.
Life isn’t about things, it is about each other. By having affluence, it is ridiculously easy to lose sight of that and to get caught up in “I want, I want.” How do I seek out others to talk about this without sounding like a self-absorbed prick? I know so many people who are struggling, who don’t have disposable income, yet I forget what it is like. Hell, I feel like a jerk writing this post. Readers are going to think I have no room to complain. “Must be nice” are the kind of words I can hear echo, but what they won’t realize is that I do have a problem. I can easily raise a self-entitled brat by trying to fulfill Lana with everything I missed out on as a poor child.
I can’t really discuss this with anyone I know without sounding like an a-hole considering their circumstances. I don’t want to be so self-involved and be ignorant of their pains and struggles. I decided to write this in the off-chance someone out there reading, understands and can relate.
Here are a couple of great resources I found: