From the moment I became a mother, I had given my children everything they have ever wanted. Be that love and attention, or physical materialistic things as well as food they desire.
Whenever we went out anywhere I would buy them something, sweets, chocolate or a toy, some art materials, whatever it was there was pretty much always a purchase made. The came to expect it, to demand it, to be ungrateful of it. The worst part of it was their complete and utter lack of respect for things. I would buy them something, they would play with it for 5 minutes and then throw it away. Things had no value to them.
Then Christmas happened and I was hit in the face with all of the above. Friends and relatives would give them a gift and their reaction would be lack lustre, or even sometimes negative!
‘What a book?? I don’t want a book, I want a TOY!’ and said item would be tossed over their shoulder.
I was mortified, embarrassed.
The in-laws came for the day and we did a little mini Christmas for them with presents, Xmas lunch etc… They had both opened loads of presents, the floor was covered. We suggested going out to a shop in the afternoon and Charlie said he would only come, and only be a good boy if we bought him a toy. He had just opened 15 toys only hours earlier.
The same thing happened on Xmas day. Stacy and I had spent the whole year buying their gifts, knowing that money would be tight come December and me being on maternity leave again. We had carefully chosen things we knew they would love. We had also got some amazing bargains and were excited to experience Xmas morning.
What we actually got was hardly any reaction to anything. Christmas day was lovely, don’t get me wrong. But it certainly wasn’t ‘magical’ or incredibly exciting as it was for me as a child.
New year, new Mummy.
I am no longer buying them toys inbetween birthdays and Christmas. If they want something, they have to wait. I no longer come home with things I have found for them when out. Instead they will be stored and given at bday and Xmas. The present pile WILL be smaller. There will be no huge amount of gifts. They will learn to appreciate things. This is my duty.
We went out to a shop the other day and when we reached the check out Charlie asked for some sweets. I said no. Charlie looked all upset.
‘but I have been a good boy’
and I said yes you have, you have been a very good boy.
‘so what did I do wrong?’
You didn’t do anything wrong sweetheart.
‘So why won’t you let me have some sweets?’
Because you don’t always get sweets. You behave yourself on outings because that is the right way to behave, not to receive a reward.
It was hard. I wanted to buy him the sweets, but I held my ground. He wasn’t even that upset. He didn’t cry or throw a tantrum. I think he was more confused than anything.
So this is going to be the new Mummy.
I want to be able to treat my children and see their faces light up. I want to see excitement, anticipation. I want to instil some value to physical items.
Wish me luck (and strength)
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