One of the most important things to me and my husband is making sure our kids have what they need to take on the world that they will grow old in. It will be very different than it is today, and while I might not being able to change the world, I can change the influence that my kids have on it. The majority of kids today are learning bad habits that will turn them into self serving, materialistic and entitled human beings. The question is why? Well I could write a whole blog on how family life these days has got to crap, but that is for another day ;) For now I will just share a little story, along with an epiphany I had the other day.
On Sunday we had a birthday party for my step daughter. Invited her friends, family, neighbors etc.. The fancy cake, special themed plates and napkins, balloons, you name it. I think every parent knows that when it comes to birthday parties, even simple ones, you still spend a small fortune and lots of preparation time. It was a great day, Bre got loaded with all kinds of new gifts and had a fun time. When everyone left I was sitting on the couch decompressing from the craziness and she says to me, "You didn't put any decorations on the windows." I said, "Well we just did the balloons for decorations instead." Her response, "Well it wasn't pretty." I sat there shocked because Bre is not a bratty kid. She wasn't even saying it in a snotty way, but after ALL of that the only thing she had to say was that the decorations weren't "pretty"?
What have I done wrong? Being a step parent has more challenges then a regular parent because you have all the influence but none of the control. I realized that this really isn't her fault, we have set such high standards for her that we can't even keep up with ourselves. I couldn't shake it. My husband tells me that I let these kinds of things bother me too much and that it was just a comment, but I can't help but feel like we are setting her up for entitlement.
It has always bothered me that holidays and birthdays seem to be so focused on gifts and material items, but fighting that in todays society is so hard because you don't want your child to miss out on anything either. The solution: We decided that from now on we are not going to do big, fancy birthday parties every year. Instead we are going to take whoever the birthday kid is, out to do something special with just them, no other siblings. We are going to have 3 and with that many kids it is rare for one to have both parents to themselves.
We want to create memories that they can take with them all their lives, not a bunch of plastic, crappy toys that are just going to get thrown away. After all, a birthday is a celebration that they are here on this earth with us. Do we want to show them that their value is a bunch of toys and material items? This is just one of many ways to simplify our children's lives and set them up for a future full of rich relationships and memories. #simplicityisbliss :)