Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some thoughts for a Tuesday evening

After having two very different conversations with two very different clients at work today it got me thinking. The first chat was about spoiled children. The second was about this client's daughter's birthday party and birthday gifts. It just got me thinking about children and money. I have a lot of things I would like to say and I hope they come out in a way that makes sense and that I don't offend anyone because I am not a parent and I can only speak from my experiences as being someone's child or observing other people with their children.

From my first conversation my client had said that her child was spoiled more with material things from one set of grandparents than the other. I have no doubt that both sets of grandparents love the child equally, but one set has more money available to spend on their grandchild. It reminded me of my experiences growing up. I hate to say this, but what I am about to say is true. My mom's parents were quite wealthy and lived in Calgary. Growing up we probably only saw them once or twice per year and usually in the summer they would buy my sister and I a whole whack of new school clothes (which my parents could not afford to buy us themselves). So after a number of years of this, it came to be expected and probably was not as appreciated as it should have been. My dad's mom, on the other hand, I probably saw at least every two or three months and I did not particularly enjoy going to visit there. I loved my grandma, but she didn't treat us to such neat things. She didn't have a lot of money, and lived in a small one bedroom duplex and when we visited her I had to sleep on the floor. I should also mention that my mom's parents have four grandchildren and my dad's mom had twenty eight grandchildren. I am ashamed to admit growing up that I don't think I valued my relationship with my paternal grandma as much as I did my maternal grandparents. And looking back on it, I think a lot of it had to do with money. Getting to go shopping, taken out for meals, etc which we normally didn't get to do.

My second conversation with a different client as about her daughter's birthday party. They are going to the Build-A-Bear Workshop and each child gets to spend $40 on a bear and clothing for the bear. That gets pretty pricey when you have 8 children attending your party! It got me to thinking about conversations I have heard (and had with Jay) about being able to afford kids. I don't know if anyone can really afford to have kids. I realize that there are people who are barely scraping by on their own, let alone adding a baby to the equation. However I think whether you think you an afford it or not people find a way to make it work. I suppose you have to. It seems to me that the people who can really afford kids, who have an overabundance of money, either love their money so much that they don't have kids or have kids and leave it up to others to raise them. I am not saying that people shouldn't work and have kids, but it seems often people who have very well paying jobs would rather be at their jobs than home raising their children. Whereas the people who want to be home raising their children have to be out working to be able to afford to have their children. I am not sure the point I am trying to make, just an observation. I don't know that there is a point where someone can say, "Yes I think that we can afford to have a child now." Or "I think I need to make $3/hr more than I am now to be able to afford to have a child."

I hope that someday if I have a child, or children of my own they will appreciate the value of money. I do not want to have a spoiled child, but I also would like to offer them the opportunity to pursue things that I wasn't given the chance to for financial reasons. Just my thoughts and ramblings on a Tuesday evening.

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