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 Post subject: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:24 am 
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I was with a friend this weekend who has more $ than I do. We were shopping (2nd hand) and I was kind of lusting over the clothes she was picking out for her daughter (2nd hand, but she was able to splurge on the nicer clothing like the pieces that were brand names [of which I'd never heard. Boutique brands] and those with the tags still on them. $15 for a pair of 2T shorts, etc.). And we were talking about our homes, and how she and her husband are looking for a new house because they feel bad that their daughter has to play in the living room--they want her to have a playroom.

Anyway, most often I find myself taking pride in my frugal ways, and being able to clothe/feed/house my family on a budget. I make my own cleaning products, not only because it's earth-saving but because vinegar is inexpensive compared to the 7th Generation stuff, etc. That's a main reason we cloth diaper, too.

But after listening to my friend, I found myself jealous. I want to have a playroom for my kids. I want to give them each their own room. I want to by Tea brand clothing and the like in boutiques (or at least recognize the good brands when I'm thrifting!). I want to be able to spend $40 on a birthday dress for my kiddo if I want to.

My husband was put-off by my confessions. But isn't it possible to be one person when you have to be (i.e. taking pride in making do with what I have) but then also knowing that if I had a million dollars I wouldn't be living the exact same lifestyle I do now? Or am I wrong.

This is a blather, I know. I just had to get it out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:39 pm 
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Well they have done studies to show that when people come into lots of money, they are just as happy or unhappy with it as they were before. That said, I lust after my sister's giant gorgeous house and how well her kids are always dressed. Much of that is my brother in law's decorating genius and my sister's fashion sense and not about money at all. In general though, they do spend A LOT. They shop a lot, they always drive new cars that they have to pay for forever. When we have discussions about money and retirement, college savings, and so on, they don't look so good on paper. We might not look like we have much, but my husband and I put away a generous amount of what we make so that we can live well into our old age and not just for today. We owe only on our house and school loan. It's admirable to be thrifty. And one more thing we've noticed: When it comes to gift giving, helping out family or whatever, the rich relatives are always stingy. The poorest of us always seem to be the most generous. I don't think it's a coincidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:02 pm 
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This sounds like conversations I've had with Mrs. Face. A lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:08 pm 
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i know how you feel. i hate being working/survivalist class. for me it's a source of shame and could easily take up another thread.

bottom line--the most important thing is that you and your kids are happy. sure, it's great to have all the bells and whistles, but to me it's more important to have well adjusted kids with good bullshiitake detectors. it has been my experience that kids who have more tend to not understand about the process of how things get from one place to another.

a mantra i've adopted has been "money, property, and prestige divert me from my primary spiritual aim." meaning that whenever i obsess about any of the aforementioned things instead of those beautiful children i popped out, i'm miserable.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:20 pm 
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My mom was a preschool teacher in a well-off suburb for many years and always felt BAD for the kids with the expensive designer outfits. Their parents instilled in them that the most important thing was to keep their clothes clean and neat. They didn't feel free to play and make a mess like the less "well-dressed" kids, who had more carefree childhoods.

We all have our own values and make tradeoffs. Like Pumpkin said, often it isn't really about who has more money in an absolute sense but how people choose to spend it. Do *you* remember what you wore as a toddler? Whether it was designer or cheap, hand-me-downs or new? I'm guessing not...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:32 pm 
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I'm not sure I'd be a really different parent, but it would be nice to have more money for things like clothes and toys. I get annoyed that the simple clothes in pretty colors are so much more expensive than clothes in various shades of pink with cheesy slogans like "Daddy's girl" or ruffles galore. 12 dollars for a onesie or a pair of pants is just too much though! We can't afford that.

I try really hard not to dwell on it though. I think it will only make me miserable to think too much about all the things that I don't have and/or can't afford.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:51 pm 
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helbury wrote:
I get annoyed that the simple clothes in pretty colors are so much more expensive than clothes in various shades of pink with cheesy slogans like "Daddy's girl" or ruffles galore. 12 dollars for a onesie or a pair of pants is just too much though! We can't afford that.


Ha, I'm still pregnant but THISx1000!! My favorite brand of baby clothes is Sweet Peanut because I love the really simple, fairly gender-neutral designs they have with lots of mix and match pieces.. (admittedly this may change once I have an actual kid to dress!) I've managed to nab some things on Zulily etc. for more reasonable prices than full retail, but it's crazy how much less expensive the elaborate crepe with stupid slogans is.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:03 pm 
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annak wrote:
helbury wrote:
I get annoyed that the simple clothes in pretty colors are so much more expensive than clothes in various shades of pink with cheesy slogans like "Daddy's girl" or ruffles galore. 12 dollars for a onesie or a pair of pants is just too much though! We can't afford that.


Ha, I'm still pregnant but THISx1000!! My favorite brand of baby clothes is Sweet Peanut because I love the really simple, fairly gender-neutral designs they have with lots of mix and match pieces.. (admittedly this may change once I have an actual kid to dress!) I've managed to nab some things on Zulily etc. for more reasonable prices than full retail, but it's crazy how much less expensive the elaborate crepe with stupid slogans is.

Eep. I shouldn't have looked on the Sweet Peanut website. Those clothes are so so cute!

On a semi-related note, this is why last week I told myself I'm not allowed to do ANY online shopping at all. No browsing online stores. I browse a fair amount, but hardly ever buy. I think the browsing makes me much more unhappy with what I have, so I'm trying to stop looking. I've unsubscribed from all of the various shopping email lists I'm on, and I think it's helping me not focus on what material things I think I want.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:01 pm 
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helbury wrote:
On a semi-related note, this is why last week I told myself I'm not allowed to do ANY online shopping at all. No browsing online stores. I browse a fair amount, but hardly ever buy. I think the browsing makes me much more unhappy with what I have, so I'm trying to stop looking. I've unsubscribed from all of the various shopping email lists I'm on, and I think it's helping me not focus on what material things I think I want.



This, exactly. I've found the more things I see, the more I crave them - so I've stopped subscribing to my favorite clothing catalogs and emails. Out of sight, out of mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Everyone makes trade-offs, based on what their priorities are, and all those choices are valid. For sure, money might make some things a lot easier - like having a home in a great school district with enough room for a playroom, a bedroom for each child and security around food, insurance, college etc.

I decided to leave a lucrative career, because for me, being stressed and exhausted all the time was standing in the way of me getting pregnant and also would clearly have left me with fewer emotional resources to enjoy being pregnant and parenting. I would rather get second hand clothes or save on things that are non-essentials to me than some of the things I think are essential, including the time and space to be able to be more loving and less reactive. I don't think there is anything wrong with gorgeous clothes - I love looking at them, and I know for fashionable friends they give them a ton of joy which is so important.

I can understand feeling jealous for a moment though! My partner has friends who have huge houses where the baby has custom made furniture (her name is painted on things and embroidered on the nursing couch), a playroom a nursery and they have the whole place professionally decorated and a live-in nanny. But at the end of the day, I love my life, and that isn't my life.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:16 pm 
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My mother, when I was younger, always used to comment on how if we had more money or won the lottery, she would buy me things. It was something I kind of liked hearing as a kid, but it didn't really impact me. I was perfectly happy not being able to get certain toys or having to buy shoes 3 sizes up so I could grow into them. My parents spent money on what they thought was important: mental stimulation, sports, pre-school. I didn't miss anything because if I asked for a toy, my parents said "Maybe for christmas or when it's on sale." Except I never got it, and I didn't mind. The only thing that hurts a little is not being able to fully pay for college, and there are loans and scholarships for that.

All that being said, I totally understand why others and my mother felt this way. When I have kids, I want them to have every resource available and for them to want for nothing. In the end, kids are usually blissfully ignorant about economic standing or the things they lack (after about five minutes of seeing someone with a toy) and I think love is all that a really good childhood needs. Money can't buy that.

(Is it weird that a kid is posting here? I still consider myself a kid...)

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:07 pm 
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There's some stuff I'd do differently if I had more money... I wouldn't make the big decisions differently (we'd still breastfeed, do cloth diapers, mostly used clothes, etc) but I'd do some little stuff differently. I'd love to be able to take more classes with the Emperor because, honestly, I don't do super well with the huge lack of structure our life has. He took a very affordable toddler tumbling class through the Dept. of Parks & Recreation a while back and that was great... but the stuff I think he'd really really be into (swim lessons, music lessons, etc) are out of our price range right now.

I don't actually dig the idea of a playroom... if we HAD one room that was just for him to play in, I doubt very much HE would agree to just play in that room. I had cousins with a playroom when I was growing up and it basically became a toy dump.

I grew up poor and I'm glad that my kid will probably not have to go through a lot of the stuff I went through/was made fun of for as a kid. We're not rich but we're not that poor, and I like to think we're spending our money mostly on the stuff that really counts for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Also, I kind of bristle at the idea that it's BAD for kids to want for ANYTHING. Obviously you want them to have their needs met but... no one should get everything they want all the time. That makes the real world just a little too surprising when you get there.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:14 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
Also, I kind of bristle at the idea that it's BAD for kids to want for ANYTHING. Obviously you want them to have their needs met but... no one should get everything they want all the time. That makes the real world just a little too surprising when you get there.


That's a really good point. Obviously, spoiling children would lead to a rude awakening.

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I avoid protein on principle. - IsaChandra
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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:30 pm 
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If I had more money, we would be better parents. But only because it would mean we could afford the psychological help we both need. (Forking $200 an hour to see a psychologist! And that's on a sliding scale! For people who made $7,000 in 2010!)
End rant.
I would like to be able to afford a babysitter so I could finish my degree more easily, but apart from childcare and self-pay health coverage, I wouldn't change anything else yet. Maybe more visits to faraway family. But this is the easy time to be poor--Willow's still fascinated by the washing machine, and lotion bottles, and she hates it when I'm not around.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:22 pm 
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Getting everything you want also leads to you wanting stupid stuff. And then to "needing" stupid stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:11 pm 
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My mother always dressed my sister and me in the expensive baby and toddler clothes. Or, at least, she tried to. I just hated the feel of new fabric, and I was so obviously uncomfortable in the pretty new clothes that she eventually just gave up and dressed me in hand-me-downs that had already been washed a hundred times so that they were really soft.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:28 am 
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The things I would do differently if we had more money would be to give the kids more experiences. Traveling, camps, classes. Lots of times we've had to turn down really fun classes or programs because they are so expensive! All Shae talks about is traveling and seeing the world. Clothes and that stuff are cute, but it's the bigger stuff that I wish we could give them.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:52 am 
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Kelly wrote:
The things I would do differently if we had more money would be to give the kids more experiences. Traveling, camps, classes. Lots of times we've had to turn down really fun classes or programs because they are so expensive! All Shae talks about is traveling and seeing the world. Clothes and that stuff are cute, but it's the bigger stuff that I wish we could give them.

This. Exactly. There are a million and one camps, classes and experiences that I would love to give my child, but we just don't have the money. Cute clothes...yeah, I get a yearning for that, too. I think it is only natural sometimes for this to happen with the society that we live in.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:29 am 
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FootFace wrote:
Getting everything you want also leads to you wanting stupid stuff. And then to "needing" stupid stuff.



...and we have a winner! so true. so true.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:41 am 
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mel wrote:
Kelly wrote:
The things I would do differently if we had more money would be to give the kids more experiences. Traveling, camps, classes. Lots of times we've had to turn down really fun classes or programs because they are so expensive! All Shae talks about is traveling and seeing the world. Clothes and that stuff are cute, but it's the bigger stuff that I wish we could give them.

This. Exactly. There are a million and one camps, classes and experiences that I would love to give my child, but we just don't have the money. Cute clothes...yeah, I get a yearning for that, too. I think it is only natural sometimes for this to happen with the society that we live in.


I'd like to think this is me, but now I'm not so sure... I just didn't like feeling like a hypocrite this weekend, thinking "hurray for me--I am earth friendly and deal-saavy and will pass that on to my kids" when suddenly I had the urge to toss all that out the window and buy a bigger house and spend excessive amounts of time/money on clothing if I suddenly had the opportunity. I'm not *sure* I'd do it, but I felt that urge. ::sigh:: Right now, for example, music lessons aren't a priority to me because we can't afford them anyway, but if we suddenly could afford them, would I go all in and decide that my children must become fabulous artists of the piano? How do we figure out why something's important to us?

I just want to be a good parent. (Maybe I should think more about what's important to me. Travel, for example, would be awesome, but what's behind it? An attempt to understanding the world we live in, probably. And I suppose I could teach my children that w/out traveling. To a point.)


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:12 pm 
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it always comes down to this for me: if i had bought everything that i wanted when i wanted it, i would have a lot of stupid shiitake that i don't need and don't even like anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:39 pm 
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If I had more money I think I'd be a crazy eco friendly hippie. Like I would definitely buy all the green things I can't currently afford - solar panels for my roof, recycled permeable pavers for my driveway, all organic food, rain barrels, awesome raised beds made out of recycled composite with solar temperature controlled cold frame tops, one of those great compost barrels you can turn, etc. So I guess I'd get that much more ability to show my son a different way of life is possible. I'd also like to travel more so he could see other cultures. I would only work 3 days a week, and not until he is in school. Probably the best gift of the extra money would be more time to spend with him.

I'm sure I would want to buy him some cute things like clothes and toys that he really doesn't need, because who doesn't. But I'd still try to get things in thrift stores and if not, only buy organic or recycled.

And I know one thing for sure I would not ever buy designer or expensive stuff that has no real redeeming quality. For example, buying a $1000 Gucci (or whatever) purse - that's a month's rent for a homeless family! Or even a $1000 crib. I just can't see any reason to buy a crib you aren't even going to use that long for that much, when it is essentially the same wood rails and a mattress as a $150 one made out of new zeland sustainably managed pine. It makes me sooooo angry that rich people buy crepe like that when there is so much suffering in the world - to me that is just inhuman. They think if they donate their 10% (if that) they're philanthropists, but that's what keeps the disparity between rich and poor so large.

Anyway, /rant. I guess the point is I think it is normal to get a bit jealous, but it is important to keep a good perspective on things (which I think everyone here is doing). Material stuff and keeping up with the Joneses isn't really what's important, and in fact, hurts people.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Well, I've been a parent for all of three months. But I kind of feel like other people who said experiences and classes and things would be what they'd do more of, rather than buying more things. We have family in Germany and if we had more money we'd definitely be able to visit more frequently. Which I think would have an obvious impact on our kid's relationships with those relatives. Plus other travel - I'm sure we'll travel, but I wish we were in a position to just pick up and go rather than scrimping and saving and planning. And classes. Our parks department here is amazing (horseback riding lessons! pottery studio! fort-building!) but the fees are kind of steep and I know we're going to have to pick and choose when the time comes. I'm already on the fence about the $45 for baby sign language - I can get the DVDs from the library for free, but a class means getting out of the house and maybe meeting some baby-friends. But it's $45! Blah.

Right now the things I fantasize about most are things that would make my life easier (probably because a three month old doesn't really ask for stuff yet) - a fancier cloth diapering set-up, being able to justify the $7/hr child care at the gym, a fourth type of carrier for a specific activity, etc.

helbury wrote:
I get annoyed that the simple clothes in pretty colors are so much more expensive than clothes in various shades of pink with cheesy slogans like "Daddy's girl" or ruffles galore.

Word.


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 Post subject: Re: Would you be a different parent if you had more money?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:38 pm 
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I think my parenting style would be the same. I think 'more money' is pretty relative, though, as we do not tend to be very thrifty. We would have a bigger house, but we're working towards that anyway. When it comes time for putting BabySneakers in activities that are expensive ie summer camps or season / year long sports, we may have to do some compromising on things like travel.

It depends on priorities. We spent an abundant amount on our baby furniture - yes it could probably house someone for a month or two - but I also wanted it to be made in Canada and the crib has a conversion kit that turns it into a full size bed as well. Our furniture will last BabySneakers into his teens / possibly to college (if I don't steal the bookcase first!) and to me, that's worth it. Having that stuff reflects my own values (I place high value on long lasting stuff that is locally produced) but it doesn't really have anything much to do with how I parent, other than someday (though not right now) passing those values along to him. If I hadn't been able to afford the furniture, I would likely reflect those values in other ways anyway.


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