By Contributing Mama Karen Palmer Bland
As a child I always worried about getting grounded, Funny, now as a parent, my main concern is keeping my kids grounded. (As in balanced and not spoiled.) Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s harder to raise kids today than it was 30 years ago. There seems to be more stuff in the way.
I mean, what does “good, clean, fun” mean in today’s world? A $200 per week cooking camp for 3 year-olds? Hiring one of those kid birthday party planners who plan $50/kid parties? Buying True Religion jeans in a 12 month size?
And the toys! When we visit my in-laws, they pull out the beautiful and simple toys of yesteryear that they saved for their grandchildren – all wooden toys, no lights or voices – just uncomplicated and magical. And these grandparents still believes that a ball is the best toy around. Now, go check out our playroom. I hope you are a shareholder in Energizer. It’s loaded down with heavy, plastic battery-operated machinery – each toy takes about a sleeve of those big Cs.
I decided to treat my boys and take them to the Wiggles Live show last week. Not a cheap outing but it’s not every day that Jeff and Murray are in our own backyard. I couldn’t wait to see the look on the faces of my boys when the lights went down and the magic began. I looked over at Sawyer and Rory… they weren’t looking at the big red car or Wags at all! In fact, all they could focus on were the $12 Wiggles light-up spinners that were glowing throughout the arena, in the hand of every-other kid.
I kept asking them, “Don’t you love the show?” All they could say was, “I want one of those flashlights.” I suppose we should have just watched the video at home and pulled out the safety lanterns from our car. My bad.
I’ve always promised myself that MY KIDS WILL NOT BE SPOILED. But I’m starting to realize what a tall order that is – I’m worried. I think it’s sort of cute and scary at the same time. Like when we go to Starbucks, my boys run to the case and grab the boxes of organic chocolate milks. At home, Sawyer now rejects his sippy cup of milk, demanding, “I want a box.” And now little Georgia (20 months), yells “tar-bucks” when we pass Starbucks at 35 miles per hour. This might be trouble. (Note to my broker – hold on to SBUX.)
And not to mention technology’s contribution towards our spoiled little ones. Recently, my good friend, Jodi, was so upset because her daughter and a friend wore matching dresses for their school picture, leaving out a 3rd little girl from their best-friend triangle. A few phone calls later, Jodi had arranged for the photographer to photoshop the class picture so that all 3 girls were wearing the matching dress. Need I say more?
So does it only get harder as our kids get older and they want more? I went to a public high school with an open campus – we could leave at lunch and go shopping or out to eat every day. We would have gone broke between high priced coffee and designer jeans! I sort of long for a more simple time – a time without $200 jeans, Jimmy Choos and Starbucks. I’m scared to imagine what my kids might long for in their teen years. I wish, with a few clicks, I could photoshop the issue away.