When I was growing up, we had very little "extras." When I was growing up, my parents struggled just to put enough food on the table; we had powdered milk, corn bread and beans - more often than I care to recount. However, we knew no different and were appreciative that we had food, and clothes (even if they were from good will).
I didn't have Barbies, XBox, a Cell Phone, a color TV, DVD Player....
But what I did have (an old Buffet style stereo/record player), what I did have (my music tapes) - I treasured..
My mom more often said no, then yes. We had curfews and strict check-in times. We were seldom left to our own "running of the neighborhood" - and although we thought them too strict, and quite honestly thought they were the meanest parents ever - in fact, I am grateful that they were my parents
I appreciated everything I had. I always got good grades, started working at 14, and was buying my own clothes, snacks and "extras" - with my own paycheck. I appreciated everything - because not only did my parents work for what they had.. I worked for what I had..
It wasn't until I was a parent, that I understood and appreciated their efforts - beauase it was then I realized that is why I am who I am, that is why I appreciate everything I have, and know that it all came with HARD WORK.
I was never handed anything - I had to baby sit, mow lawns, rake leaves, work the drive thru, make pizzas, and grill fries - if I wanted something.
When I had kids, I had the opportunity to give them what I didn't. I lived with guilt that they didn't have a full time father - I was divorced (one too many times) and they suffered those consequences; I was deployed alot - so out of guilt, out of emotional guilt, I provided as much as possible - thinking it would make up for it;
Unfortunately, I think it had the opposite effect and my kids have never truly had to work for anything. Meaning, their appreciation of value - (physical or sentimental) is lacking. Now, I have taken a stand. Now, I have made it known that I will not suffer the emotional blackmail - the guilt, anymore. It will end.
I have worked my butt off to get to where I am. I am not a money tree - I am not an ATM - I have worked to get to where I am; and if they want what I have (in their futures) they will have to earn it. They will have to work for it. They will have to learn to appreciate each and everything they get - because they will have to work for it, save for it, earn it, or simply be told NO - until they can do it for themselves.
School and work are priorities. With as much as they have already - they have no right to ask for more from me - nor make me feel guilty when I say no.
I'm done feeling guilty. I have done all I know to do. I have done my best. I have worked my way from the bottom - I have earned where I am at.. its now time for them to learn these lessons.
They may hate me - each and every time I say no. They may hate the decisions and priorities I have placed in their lives
- but -
One day, my kids will understand the decisions I make. One day, they will understand that sometimes, things don't work out as planned. One day they will appreciate the fact that I tried; tried to make their lives as happy as possible, even when I wasn't there to share it with them; One day, when they have kids of their owns, they will love and respect me, and understand.