Iâ€™m Afraid Not â€˜Keeping Up With The Joneses’ Does A Disservice To My Daughter
I told my husband all of this. He told me how ridiculous I sounded. Then, the practical stuff came up. I admitted that I was worried that our modest lifestyle does our daughter a disservice.
I never lived in an apartment when I was a child, and even though my parents struggled a little in the beginning, the childhood I actually remember was an upper middle-class one. By the time I graduated high school, we lived in a suburb of Chicago in a house valued at a million dollars. My childhood included a sister, and a pet, and vacations, and parents who could just run out and buy something when they needed or wanted it.
We have none of these things, and the kinds of careers weâ€™ve chosen indicate that we may never have these things. This scares me, I said to Shaun. I donâ€™t know if this is okay for our daughter.
â€œLook at her,â€ he demanded. â€œIs she happy?â€
I hate it when heâ€™s right.
We do need to take care of certain necessities, like health insurance and an emergency savings fund. But everything else is subjective, and itâ€™s time for me to recognize it as such. Whether we pay rent or a mortgage means nothing to my daughter. She doesnâ€™t care whether we buy our clothes new or secondhand, or if we hang on to gadgets rather than buying the latest technology.
There will come a time when she will recognize that some people are rich and some arenâ€™t, and itâ€™s my job to show her that money doesnâ€™t guarantee happiness or strength of character. On the flip side, she must also know that having money doesnâ€™t make someone a villainâ€”and being poor isnâ€™t necessarily virtuous. It just is what it is.
But first I must re-wire my own brain to believe that what the Joneses do is their own damn business, not mine.