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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.

7 Responses to grounded

  • Georgie says:

    AMEN Sista! It is a very different time vs when our parents raised us and me now tryin to raise my own beans…Thank GAWD for clearance racks,the goodwill and conignment shops!

  • ErinB says:

    This totally made me laugh-especially the photoshoping the outfit part!!! for real?
    My parents saved all these toys from when my sister and i were little and now our girls act like these items- such as this toy circus train you actually have to PULL and does not have batteries is the greatest invention ever. While I am always skimming magazines and toy aisles for fun things for my daughter to play with she is really happiest playing with tuperware. I know this will all change and in 13 years she will beg for some designer jeans and high priced lipgloss so I am taking advantage of the simple life while I can!! :-}

  • Kelcey says:

    Please tell us when you come up with the answer. I have tried buying my kids beautiful wooden toys and they just collect dust in the corner while my girls focus on the electronics. All this STUFF is troubling…

  • Daphne says:

    Stick to your guns (and I don’t mean the plastic guns that light up and make noises!) If we all work together we can raise this next generation free of $200 jeans, yes we can!

  • MN Mama says:

    Thanks for this great piece on working on helping to raise our kids with values that matter… caring for things that matter not the jeans they wear! Keep it up! It is great to read another Pi Phi’s work on mama bird diaries.

  • myhouseof6 says:

    beautiful post – it is so hard when you love them so much. we just got back from the circus in which i spent 19$ on cotton candy and popcorn. wow, almost 20 bucks for some popped kernels and a bag of spun sugar.
    the parts they will remember the most are not the show and the treats but the fact that their mom and dad sat and giggled with them that night.
    remember the little things, they are what count the most.

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