I was talking to an old friend a couple days ago and the first thing she asks me was how our holiday was. Next question she asks is if the kids got a lot of stuff for Christmas. I told her no. She was puzzled and could not understand why. I told her that I refuse to stress myself out to buy a bunch of things for my kids just for them to have a lot to open on Christmas. I explained that there is indeed life after Christmas. She then goes on and on about all the fancy gifts her young child got as well as how much she and her family members got. Big freakin' deal. Can I afford to buy a bunch of things for my kids? YES. I just won't because these same kids will eventually be adults and will eventually get married and have their own kids. I will not do a disservice to my kids by giving them everything they want. I had plenty as a child and when I was on the streets at 17 (by choice) I did not know how to survive. I was clueless and broken. I had to learn to grow up very fast. I also had to learn that things would not be given to me, I had to make a living. I suffered greatly--walking to where I had to get to, learning to catch the bus, being approached by pimps and strip club promoters, not eating some days because I could not afford it, not having many clothes besides the 3 outfits I left home with. The spoiled girl who grew up like a princess in her designer duds got a rude awakening called "real life". Real life kicked my ass hard.
Even when I got married and we had the girls we still struggled. We had no help from anyone, it was just us. We did not have our own home, no car and Dwayne would work 2-3 jobs at a time so we could buy diapers and eat. We did whatever we had to for our family. We persevered and eventually were in a position to buy a home and really get established. It was a hard road but we have all that we need and then some. My kids don't have an iPod touch but never complain about their $30 mp3 player. They actually laugh at their friends who brag about their brand name stuff and what they paid. One of Brie's friends got some UGG boots for $150. Brie was bragging about her Aeropostale boots that were on sale for $25 and the fact that she was able to get 2 pairs. You see, my kids know the value of the dollar. They know how to spend smart as well as save. They both got a large amount of cash from Dwayne's parents for Christmas to buy whatever they wanted for themselves. The first thing they said to each grandparent was "Are you sure? This is so much money!" I took the girls shopping and they were very selective about what they were willing to spend on. They hit the clearance racks and got a ton of stuff at deep discounts. As a matter of fact they both still have a big bulk of that money left over. I can only hope that they will always be this smart and pass it on to their own children. I am very passionate about raising well-rounded children who know how to make decisions. I want to be able to let them go out into the world and know that they will do just fine. Real talk people.