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Why I refuse to give my kids everything

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.

Shelly, Mom Files


  1. I applaud,you and your husband.. Continue, to teach your kids, those valuable life lessons, that will take them far in life.. May God continue to bless you and your family!!!

  2. Wow! This post was fantastic! I too did not grow up rich (still nowhere near that today) and my parents lived paycheck to paycheck (like us most of the time) so I know how things can get. This Xmas we did not go crazy either b/c well, we couldn't afford it. My hubby's company was hit hard and we are trying hard to pick it up but in this economy, it is difficult. We teach our kids that name brand stuff does not matter - my son also got a $30 mp3 player b/c the one he wanted was well over $150 but we are blessed that our kids understand the value of a dollar. I applaud you girl! And now you've inspired a post on my own blog and I'll shout you out too! ;)

  3. Great post. Amazing life lessons you are passing on to your children. I'm sure they are grateful for them

  4. Wow! You are an inspiration to me and how to raise my own kids. When growing up, we were not wealthy. I did not have name brand things, until my parents were divorced, then it seems as though I was given other things, like a 4 wheeler, and a car that I only had to pay 1/2 for when I graduated. My belief is that it was to keep me and my brother involved, something for us to do as a family, even though it was a broken family, and it worked! I plan on doing the same for my kids, but what I wish to get across to my kids is that it's about us being together, not about who has the most of what. I didn't have a single item of clothing from the mall until I hit high school, and then it was mostly my money that I used to buy with. When I was pregnant with Jaimen I found a piggy bank with 3 slots in it, 1 for saving, 1 for spending, 1 for donating. I have yet to buy it for him and Presley, but will before they start chores, hopefully this will help teach them that what we make needs to be spread out, not just spent.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I teach my kids that stuff every day (I don't really have a choice, financially speaking), but we do go overboard on Christmas. I'm okay with that.

  6. Amen to this!!!!

    Your kids are so lucky that they're off to this great start in smart spending - you all are giving them a huge advantage in life by equipping them with the tools of financial literacy. Love that they brag to their friends about getting a good deal, in this culture of materialism and name brands. :-)

  7. You are amazing and you are raising some pretty fantastic children. Way to go!

  8. Glad to see other parents aren't drowning their kids with stuff. Ari got 2 things for Christmas. Grand total cost? $20. We spent more on her last year for Christmas, but she still only got two of which was a bed. LOL! Not big on spending tons of money on presents for Christmas. Great post and great job on raising your children. =)


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