One of the ways I measure my success in life, is by my ability to spoil my kids and their father. And, by that, I mean buy them stuff.
Growing up, life wasn't bad for me, but being the oldest of six kids limited my parents' ability to go on shopping splurges. We got the latest and greatest stuff at Christmas, though. Video game consoles, TVs, stereos. And, I know my parents worked hard in order to give us those things.
But, the rest of the time, our clothes were bought at Walmart and bought ONLY when we needed them. Shoes were limited to one or two pairs, usually being tennis shoes and dress shoes. I did have a pair of boots most of the time, as well.
Not that I complained about any of that. I considered us to be some of the lucky ones. There was always food on the table, electricity and running water. Although, back in my day, when your stuff came strictly from Walmart, it was an indicator that money was pretty tight. While my friends showed off their clothes and shoes that were bought at their latest Mall shopping day, I would try and avoid any topic of where my own clothes were purchased.
And, now, I hate that I acted that way... because there was nothing wrong with the clothes and shoes I wore. But, it was just the way it was.
I have to say, that up until a few years ago, that's how it was for my own children. Clothes and shoes were limited to an "as needed" basis, and only enough that gave them fresh clothes for five to ten days, and even some of those had to be bought at thrift stores. Their toys were gifts that had been received at Christmas or on their birthday, and nothing lavish.
I've always managed to spring for some kind of video game console (usually used) at Christmas time for the kids to share, and they have pretty much always had a TV in their rooms... which either came from my parents because they got a new one, or something I picked up at a yard sale.
But living that way was very important. They needed to understand the importance of stretching a dollar, working hard for things, and that life is more than what brand of clothes is slapped across your behind and how many electronics are readily available in the home.
Yet, with all of that, I am very happy knowing that NOW life is very diffferent. I've brought myself up from the person who robbed Peter to pay Paul just to be able to pay rent and put food on the table, and past having to depend on hand-me-downs and thrift stores to clothe my kids.
I know that some people may read this blog and scoff. They may find it ridiculous that I spoil my children. And, they may cast some judgement in my direction for even feeling good knowing that I can spoil my kids.
But, before that, know that I'm raising my kids right. And, their possessions have absolutely NO baring on how much I love them, or how much they know I love them.
Times are very different, now, for my family. If my kids want new clothes, we take a drive to the mall and they get new clothes. If they want new shoes, they get new shoes. If they want new toys, well, then they usually get new toys.
And by "want", I mean they've expressed a desire. I do NOT have kids demanding stuff in my house. I am very proud of the fact that my kids EXPECT nothing. They are quite used to hearing the word "No" if I want to use it, and there's not a single word from them if they do hear it. It just means they know they have to work a little harder before I'm willing to break...and I'm always up for seeing what they have in mind.
Anywho, after saying all this and probably making my kids sound like complete spoiled brats (which they are most certainly not) the whole point of this post was to point out that I spend WAY too much buying stuff for them, and hardly ever buy anything for myself.
The kids all have the latest fashions and shoes, fancy electronics, and recently got new flatscreen TVs. Hubby is the same...he always gets pretty much everything he wants. New TV, new gaming system, whatever.
But me? I am usually perfectly content with spoiling all of them. It's a gift in itself to be able to buy them stuff and not have to depend on credit cards or ever spend money we don't have to do so.
I should also point out at this time that I'm not Daddy Warbucks in all of this. Hubby works just as hard as I do, and my spoiling everyone in the house comes from using the money that both of us bring home. Our joint salaries are what help make everything happen.
It's how I dreamed for my life to be. I've always wanted to reach THAT point where I could spoil the people I love. Never have them wanting for anything. I just also have to make sure to keep them inline and to never take it for granted...which they don't.
This weekend, however, it was my turn.
It was way overdue for me to get a new toy, something I could enjoy. And that would be the new laptop you see in that picture.
It's nothing fancy, a basic laptop, but I LOVE IT!!
My old laptop has basically been nothing but a desktop computer for the past several years. I got it when I was a freshman in college, and it did it's job while I was in college. Then, the screen went out on it and the battery was unable to hold a charge without plugging it in. Being that I didn't want to spend the money to fix the issues, I just plugged it in to the wall and hooked it up to a regular computer monitor and have used it that way ever since.
I wanted a laptop that I can work on while on the go, or while sitting in the living room. I wanted a laptop that made entering grades easier by having a ten key. I wanted a laptop that didn't take forever to load and gave me more freedom in researching lesson ideas, writing lesson plans, and playing games (if I want to).
And, I finally got all of that with this new laptop.
I got to play on it for a few hours last night, and I spent that time working. Figures, right? But, anytime I sit in front of a computer, you can guarantee there's some aspect of work involved. I don't mind, though. Now that I can do my work in front of the TV and not have to bring home my heavy work laptop each weekend are a couple of added bonuses that I've been wanting to treat myself with.
I know, at the end of the day, material possessions mean nothing. That's why I've never really cared about buying stuff for myself. Sure, I may seem a little shallow by how much stock I hold in the ability of buying stuff for my family... but I truly feel like I've earned that right. I've been through tough times, and I'm OK with measuring some of my success on my ability to spend some money on material possessions. My checking account isn't bursting at the seams. I may sound like it's raining money in my house, but it's not. We really do work hard in order to provide occasional shopping sprees here and there. We are not at the mall every weekend loading up on even more junk that nobody needs. I just like knowing that every now and then, we can spend some money on a few luxuries.
And, for the first time in a long time, I'm excited that it's something for myself.
Alright, it's that time where I have to get ready for work.
Have a great Monday!!