Childrearing

I’m Afraid Not ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’ Does A Disservice To My Daughter

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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 we’ve chosen indicate that we may never have these things. This scares me, I said to Shaun. I don’t know if this is okay for our daughter.

“Look at her,” he demanded. “Is she happy?”

I hate it when he’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 it’s time for me to recognize it as such. Whether we pay rent or a mortgage means nothing to my daughter. She doesn’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 aren’t, and it’s my job to show her that money doesn’t guarantee happiness or strength of character. On the flip side, she must also know that having money doesn’t make someone a villain—and being poor isn’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.

(photo: kelttt / Shutterstock)

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