Monday, November 24, 2008

"Parent Guilt" vs. "Enough"

I don't know about you, but I could really use the "redistribution of wealth" a particular political candidate used as a platform for his election campaign. Especially with Christmas just around the corner.
We seem to find ourselves in this situation every year: right before Thanksgiving we shift into panic mode, as we realize that Santa is a little lean on cash, and three little pairs of eyes will be bouncing down the stairs with no awareness of this fact. You would think we would learn...
This year we have decided at the outset of the mayhem to "celebrate lean." But the stupid toy and electronic advertisements are merciless. Every commercial sends my kids into a frenzy. Every trip to the store, we step haphazardly into an advertisement mine field, taunting me with all of the toys we can't buy.
Why did no one ever tell me about the "Parent Guilt" thing? It was most certainly not in the Parenting Brochure!
As a parent, nothing you ever do is "enough." Even spending billions of dollars on your child, is not "enough." Because, then you have not spent enough "time" with them. And was that "time" truly "quality" time? It goes on and on.
Christmas is the epicenter of the "Parent Guilt" storm. We compare gifts with our neighbors and friends. No matter how many, or how much, we don't feel we did "enough" for our kids.
I usually spend Christmas Eve stuffing stockings to over-flowing, and still think of several things that are "missing." As I help Santa arrange his offerings by the fireplace, I wonder if perhaps he has shorted them a little, too. At the end of the Christmas morning present-opening-bonanza, we look around at the wads of ripped paper and mounds of new, shiny things, and tally in our head all of the things we did NOT get/give.
Of course, my kids have always been a bigger fan of playing with the box that the toy came in, than actually playing with the toy. So, I really shouldn't assume the "Parent Guilt," since I know that they're pretty much happy with a coupon for the ice cream store and a new Webkins. But that doesn't stop me.
With the economy reeking havoc on all of our finances, this would be the perfect opportunity to adopt the "live lean" philosophy- not just for Christmas, but for all the time. But, that "Parent Guilt" won't let us allow our children to miss the new movie at the movie theater, eat home-cooked, simple meals instead of going out to a restaurant, or wear the same shirt more than once in a two-week period.
The "Parent Guilt" has made us gluttonous and gross. It has made our houses full of "stuff," our waistlines too big and our pockets empty. This year for Christmas, I want "enough." And I want my kids to have "enough." And I want us to continue to have "enough" throughout the year.
I want "enough" to mean "satsified with what we have" and "appreciative and thankful," instead of "making do," or "sacrificing." And I want the stupid "Parent Guilt" to attack my lazy butt that refuses to exercise- make that part feel guilty so I'll get out of bed earlier to use the Bo-Flex in our "exercise room." Or maybe my "Parent Guilt" could rear its ugly head at the housework, so that I get a little miffed and work on that for a while.
Either way, our lives are going to have to be "leaner" and more "simple." It would just be nice if "Parent Guilt" would give it a rest over Christmas so that I can enjoy being together instead of inventorying the gifts...
Here's hoping your Black Friday (the sale day after Thanksgiving) is lucrative for you and full of things that you need and will use-- instead of more junk thrown into your basket by "Parent Guilt."

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