Listening to my husband talk about his childhood, I think What a spoiled brat! even though I know he isn’t. They didn’t come from money, so it wasn’t like he had the best of everything. I do know my father-in-law and my mother-in-law both worked and Pete, being the oldest, pretty much raised his brothers (age difference of 3 yrs, 8 yrs, and 10 yrs). He had the gaming system that everyone wanted, he had all the Hot Wheels he wanted, and any other gadget/toy that caught his eye.
I was raised with “I don’t have money for that, so you will have to wait. If I have money left over you can get it. But the bills come first.” I knew that I could never ask for something last minute because I would be disappointed. If I needed money for a field trip I would have to ask by Monday so I could hopefully get it by Friday. My sisters and I did my dad’s paperwork (even though we were only in elementary school) and there were many times we would write a check for his weekly pay and he would leave it on the counter for weeks because he would have to pay his workers first so he can guarantee they wold come back to finish their work so he could continue the construction of the job.
Fast forward to us having kids, ages 1 and 2:
Pete comes home from work and brings each boy a toy. Not expensive, but a toy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I put a stop to it, telling him “I don’t want them spoiled. I want them to look forward to you coming home, not what you are bringing for them.” Pete couldn’t understand my mentality because it was only $1 at the Jewel checkout line and he planned on getting the kids whatever they wanted anyway.
Fast Forward to us having Tessie, age 8:
“Daddy is better than you because when we go shopping he tells me I can get whatever I want. You always tell me, ‘It doesn’t fit right. we aren’t going to waste our money on things that don’t fit right’, but daddy says, ‘Tessie, get whatever you want.’ And that’s why daddy is better. You always say we have to wait for my birthday or Christmas, but I don’t want to wait.” I then walk into a sun room that is set up like her private crafting office with paints, canvases, brushes, glue, washi tape, glitter, slime supplies, and everything else that causes my blood pressure to rise.
Fast forward to this past week John (16), Andrew (15), and Tessie (12):
Monday: “Mom, when you go to Jewel can you see if they have ping pong balls.” I find some, I bring them home, but I wonder how they are going to use them. They grab a plastic solo cup and try to make trick shots from upstairs, across the kitchen, from the family room into the sunroom, etc.
Tuesday: “Hey dad! Can we get a ping pong table?”
Dad: “Sure! Find one online and let mom know so she can order it.”
Me: “Um, you don’t need a ping pong table because those are probably expensive.”
Kids: Look ping pong tables up, create a Google Slides presentation on the different ones, the ratings, and the pricing.
Wednesday: “Did you order the table yet? Dad said yes.”
Me: “Get out of my face! Just because you want it doesn’t mean you are going to get it!”
Thursday: I know I got an email for Dick’s Sporting Goods for 20% off, I will surprise them with the table. WHAT?? The coupon expired Wednesday night? UGH!
Friday: Dad: “Did you order the table? I am ordering it.”
Me: “You are not! I had a coupon for 20% off, but it’s expired.”
Dad: “I have the money. Buy the table. You don’t have the coupon now, do you?”
Me: “No, but I am not paying full price for the table if I could’ve gotten it for 20% off. I refuse.”
Saturday: Ding Dong Who is at the door?
Dad: “Boys! Tessie! Come to the garage! Mom didn’t say we couldn’t get something else . . . TABLE HOCKEY!”
Two different childhoods, trying to raise three kids. I am still holding out on the ping pong table, but dad won this round with table hockey!