I’ve had some thoughts going round my head for the last week or two, thoughts that I haven’t been able to make sense of. It was after a conversation with a friend that I began to think about it more deeply and of course like with most things, I dug deeper and deeper to a point where I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling to open up the converation. I had to share my feelings on the matter. (The blogger in me no doubt!)
It might be considered a little bit of touchy subject, and one that has the potential to come across “judgy” , so as usual I’m going to start with a big disclaimer and say that no matter who you are, what walk of life you come from or whatever demographic you fall into, I hold no jugement towards anyone, nor am I condemning anyone for their lifestyle. If anything it’s been a big lesson to me, that should my actions, words, portrayal of life as I know it result in anyone feeling less or dissatisfied with their own lives, then I need to rethink things a little. Or at the very least ask myself what my aim is before posting it.
Ok let me digress as usual.
A friend and I were talking the other day and the topic of conversation was around money and how it effects us as parents, either simplifying it or having the very real potential to complicate it. There’s no denying that money can be the root cause of many sleepless nights for many of us parents, a constant stress hanging over our heads. And there’s also no denying that having a lot of it can ease certain burdens and allow parents the joy of simply enjoying their kids more, spoiling them more (without holding back) and generally worry less.
Of course this was just the starting point that has taken me on a bit a slippery slop down hill as I have begun asking myself the questions : Does having a lot of money make our parenting journey easier? Or more to the point, “Does having more money (than the majority of our friends and people we follow online) , mean that we are excused from a certain level of stress than most? Am I just stating the obvious? If so I hank w need to talk about it more and be more aware of how our lives effect others!)
I don’t for a second feel that money equates to love or that our kids will think we love them any less if we can’t give them everything their friends have. BUT does having extra moola mean that because of what it offers us, we are able to give our children more, worry less and thus be better parents?
Case In Point : I know that I’m probably the worst parent on a Monday. Monday are the days I don’t have a nanny. My patience is thin, I’m tired and I don’t have the support of someone else sharing the burden of life with kids with me. I don’t get to do any proper work, which means my stress levels are raised and at a certain point, I need to tidy up our home which a is a pig-stye from the weekend. I need to see to three different children’s needs and make sure that their demands are seen to. By 3 pm I’m so tired I could fall asleep standing, but still need to think about what to cook for dinner, put that load of laundry in that’s been sitting there since 10am and make sure my 17 month old isn’t playing in the toilet for the hundredth time or hurling herself off the couch. I have admin to sort out, a teething baby who won’t sleep and homework to do with one child while the other is crying because I’m not doing the puzzle I’ve promise to do with him. I am forced to suck it up and count my blessings, which i do, but it’s taxing and I can’t give my children the individual attention they need. I am short tempered and can be harsh with them instead of displaying patience when things get overwhelming. I am not the best version a parent by any means.
If I was someone who doesn’t need to worry about finances, I could do a number of things to change this situation : Hire a full-time nanny to share the housework and baby-caring duties, order You Cook or Daily Dish for dinner or simply swipe my card for a convenient takeout, employ an aupair to help with afternoon responsibilities ensuring that I’m able to spend time individually with all three kids resulting in their love tanks being full. At the end the day I’m left feeling like a million bucks, like all my ducks are in a row and more importantly like I’m winning at parenting.
Unfortunately this isn’t a reality for many (Us included) and we only have a nanny three times per week. Most nights I cook because we are on a budget and cannot afford takeaways during the week. And still I know I have it better than most. Still I know that no matter which way I look it, I have it so easy.
I mean do we give enough credit to moms and dads who are working their butts off everyday and still scraping by, feeling the pinch and their anxiety level rise only two weeks into the month? Are we acknowledging the fact that some people can’t afford the luxuries, the everyday nonessentials that make life easier and enable us to be better parents to our kids purely because of the very real comfort they offer us?
This made me wonder about my own life. How I portray our life online and how I could be potentially leaving some moms feeling dissatisfied with their own lives or that they are failing as parents because they can’t buy their kids all the toys and all the new clothes that I write about or the experiences we have been privileged enough to offer our kids. I would hate that to be the case!!
I’m not saying we shouldn’t share our lives and celebrate the joy and happiness and the the experiences that money can bring. (most of us have worked very hard for those experiences and things!) But it has made me feel aware of how we portray ourselves on social media, how we show off our lives without thinking about the fact that many people have not been as fortunate as we have. We can’t live wth our heads in the sand thinking that just because we can afford to buy organic products, buy our clothing at the best Boutiques and live a certain lifestyle, that the majority of moms out there can. For instance, I could have my heart in the right place and say something like “Moms it’s so important to take some time our for yourself ” and post a picture of me sitting as a salon having my nails done. (GULITY AS CHARGED!) But the reality is that not everyone can afford to pay their kid’s school fees, never mind afford a trip to the salon.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this so bear with me. I guess there are few points to this post.
- There’s no denying that money simplifies life as a parent. That having money allows one the luxury of having a nanny/aupair/housekeeper, being able to stay at home/or work depending on your preference, and to cook healthy organic food bought at Woolies. Having more money means you can sign your kids up for any extra-curricular activities where someone else is responsible for looking after them and investing in them for those few hours everyday. More money means new clothes and toys and more experiences. More money means less worry and usually less work shifts. It means hands-on help in the form of domestics and nannies which allows moms to be intentional and undistracted instead of frantically splitting time between work shifts, cooking, shopping, and tidying the house.
- We are not responsible for other people’s levels of contentment and satisfaction with life and it’s OK that some of us have what we have. Very often we have worked hard for it and I truly believe that people deserve to enjoy the luxuries that having money brings. BUT…..
- In saying that I think that (especially as online moms) we do need to be sensitive to the vast degree of moms who cannot afford all the luxuries that you might. We need to be sensitive to the parents who work two jobs just to afford school fees and that one specials gift for their child’s birthday every year. We need to be sensitive to other people’s realities.
- We need to remember that no matter how little or how much we give our children in the materialistic sense, its the time and sacrifice that always stands out above it all at the end of the day. For those moms who are working double shifts and maybe even studying at night while putting kids through school, your love and dedication and sacrifice does not go unseen. The fact that you wake up at 5am and sometimes only get to bed after midnight to support your family, all while making sure their lunches are packed and homework completed, you are the true definition of love.
- No matter what our walk of life or how much money we make in this life, we are all parents doing our best, we are all trying to give our children the best life and that’s all that matters. I just hope we can be more sensitive to the realities of others before making assumptions and take into consideration the fact that we don’t all come from money. I hope we can think about how the way we flaunt our lifestyle, can leave someone feeling.
I love to use my platform to inspire and uplift and offer my readers some nice things from time to time. I never want to leave moms feeling discontent or dissatisfied. I never want them to walk away form one of my posts feeling anything less than amazing and that they are enough and that they are seen and loved and cherished.
I hope you’ve heard my heart on this, please weigh in! 🙂