When I first came into the munchkins lives I would buy them cute little outfits, or toys that I knew they would love. I’m 100% guilty of spoiling them to death, but it took me time to realize spoiling them doesn’t always have to mean buying things.
Whenever I come across an obstacle with the kids I usually stop and think “What did my parents do during this kind of situation? How did they handle it?” It was really hard sometimes to remember what they did, but I started realizing I’m remembering memories, but I couldn’t tell you what my favorite toy was at that time, or what brand of clothes I was wearing. Hmm…I might be on to something. As time went on I stopped buying new outfits and toys. Instead we would take the kids to the zoo, ride our bikes around the neighborhood or to the park, or we would play outside for endless hours. I remember thinking these are the things they are going to remember.
A couple years ago my in-laws said they weren’t going to be buying big presents for the kids anymore for birthdays and holidays, instead they want to do family trips, build memories instead of buying toys that will be played with maybe a handful of times and then tossed aside. What a brilliant idea! We have gone to beaches, cruises, and aquariums. I honestly will never forget the cool things we have done so far, and I know the munchkins won’t either.
It is hard in the beginning when you feel like you are constantly competing, I mean when the ex wife’s mother buys the kids just about anything they want, along with any movie they ever want to see, it’s hard to explain to the kids life isn’t really like that. Life won’t just hand you things you haven’t earned, and hard earned money shouldn’t be spent so frivolous. Deep down in my heart I know they will realize all of this stuff when they are older, but for right now, it’s hard to compete.
I keep telling myself buying their love won’t work, and the memories their dad and I make with them will. It’s honestly not a competition for love, it’s more the principle of the matter. What are we really teaching our children/grandchildren when we give and give and give to them, even when they might not deserve it? I understand they are kids and grandparents are “suppose” to spoil grandkids, but where is the line? I don’t want our children growing up thinking they can just HAVE whatever they want. You gotta earn it, and when you do, you feel all of your hard work paying off.