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To be upset at not being able to give my DCs what I had

(42 Posts)
Lostinthepast Wed 24-Apr-13 07:57:56

I kinda know I'm being unreasonable but at the same time don't know how to change or get over how I'm feeling.

My father built up a business from nothing and was a multi-millionaire. We lived in a house that I saw recently sold for £4m. Growing up I had everything a child could dream of and had a truly idyllic childhood. Happy family, beautiful country house, fantastic education, material things, expensive holidays ... you get the idea.

My father died very suddenly when I was 16 (he was only 44) and the house was sold, and life changed. There is no money left in the family but it has never bothered me as I was happy to stand on my own feet and carve out my own path.

I'm in my late 30s now with two DC and it has only been recently that I can't stop thinking about the past. I look at our old house online and feel sick and tearful that I can never, ever give them that. I'm very happily married, we own a small 3 bed semi, are very close to extended family on both sides so my DCs have a lot of people in their lives who adore and spoil them ... But I just feel I've failed at life and I just wish I could give them my childhood.

noisytoys Wed 24-Apr-13 07:59:59

Your children have everything they need and they will be happy. They won't have any memories of how you lived as a child, but lots of happy memories of how they lived as a child

Januarymadness Wed 24-Apr-13 08:00:50

you dont need stuff fora happy childhood you need love

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 24-Apr-13 08:03:41

No I don't think yabu to feel the way you do, however you do need to get over it. You obviously had a lovely childhood until your dad died - that must have been awful for you, I'm so sorry.

BUT, lots of people had idyllic childhoods without millionaire parents - me for one! grin

You sound like you have the really important things, a loving family, close relationships, a nice house, a safe and loving home. Your children will be fine. Please try to cherish what you have achieved, WHICH IS A LOT, rather than dwell on what might have been had your dad survived for longer.

Succubi Wed 24-Apr-13 08:05:23

The past is the past and should be left there. Life is too short to dwell on such matters. You have a healthy and happy family what more can valuable.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 24-Apr-13 08:05:30

I could have written your post almost word for word, this is wierd! smile

I don't feel sad that my children won't have the same kind of childhood though because I think they are having a great childhood, but I do feel sad, and worry, that I can't give them the same easy access to adulthood what with tuition fees and the cost of getting on the property ladder.

YANBU, but there is nothing wrong with the life you are giving your children, I'm sure they have a lovely life. Their lives are not yours, they are their own, and that's ok. It doesn't have to be the same for it to still be happy and successful.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 24-Apr-13 08:06:25

I think noisytoys makes a really good point. Your children have no knowledge of your childhood (apart from what you choose to share with then) but it will be distant and somewhat unreal to them (unless you harp on about how wonderful it was and compare it unfavourably to how theirs is shaping up). All they will know is their own happy family life - which is SO important. Try not to let your feelings about an unreal comparison affect how your children grow up.

Dragonwoman Wed 24-Apr-13 08:09:06

Do you think it is possible that what you're really missing is your father and the chance for your children to know him and for you to know him now you are an adult? And are projecting this loss onto the material things?

HerrenaHarridan Wed 24-Apr-13 08:13:49

When my mum was bringing me up we had literally nothing, she was a care leaver and she lost what few possessions she had in a fire when I was tiny.

We moved into a new house on Xmas eve, it was both of our first x mas as she was brought up not celebrating it.
When we moved in she had a cot and a fridge and a mattress some blankets and about 3 changes of clothes each.

When we woke the next morning Santa had left a few items of furniture, stuffed full of clothes and blankets, kids toys. You get the picture smile

While we never knew for sure we suspect that the old couple that live next door had seen the social worker checking the house before giving us keys and shed mentioned we had been in a fire.

This was more than 20 years ago and it still makes me well up every time I think about it.

That kind of thing doesn't happen to people who live in 4m mansions.

There is more than one way to be rich.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 08:24:33

There is indeed more than one way to be rich and your DCs have the important things. Your childhood will be like a fairy tale to them- you don't miss what you never had.

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 24-Apr-13 08:27:56

If it helps would describe my childhood as idyllic.

We didn't have many material things, we didn't go on holidays or even days trips really. We grubbed around in the back garden and the field beyond and I spent most of my formative years either upside down in a tree or neck deep in brambles.

But it was awesome I didn't want for anything - dispite not having very much.

My education is not to shabby either, wink.

katykuns Wed 24-Apr-13 08:27:58

Herrena, I teared up reading your post!

I know how you feel OP. My circumstances mean I am less well off than you are now. I don't want to be a millionaire, but I want to be comfortable with more of a chance to experience life without financial constraints. This was amplified when my daughter was struggling at school and I decided if I could afford private school all would be solved. I have these issues that bother me, but looking at my 2 DD's, they are blissfully happy because they have what they NEED.

CocacolaMum Wed 24-Apr-13 08:29:54

Funnily enough my OH feels just like you OP.

His father built up a multi million pound business and OH lived in a massive house in a gorgeous area and he and his sister had everything (materially) that you could dream of as a child. His parents were loving but very much of the mindset that children should be seen and not heard... His Dad lost his business when OH was 12 and turned to booze. They went bankrupt and had to sell up and move to a 2bed flat in a less appealing area. When I met OH (he was 24) his dad was an alcoholic and the first time I visited their home OH's dad flew into a rage about OH being worthless because by his age he had already got his was ALL about the £££'s to them.

I was brought up in a small house with 4 brothers and sisters and NO money. I shared a room with 2 sisters, wore charity shop clothes and regularly missed out on school trips and never went abroad. I minded for about 2 weeks when I was 13 and feeling entitled.
What I remember more though were all of the bike rides we went on, camping, playing the antiques roadshow game on a sunday night.. time together. Money could never have bought that childhood.

Nagoo Wed 24-Apr-13 08:36:59

Herrena what a post! It's dusty in here isn't it?

<squirts pledge>

thegreylady Wed 24-Apr-13 08:43:43

I too always wanted to give my children a childhood like mine-filled with love and knowing you were safe once the door was shut. I grew up on a council estate in a NE pit village with a disabled father and a mum who worked at two jobs. My dgp provided childcare but I had everything in the world and my extended family like a solid wall of support behind me always.
I wouldn't swap for all the millions.

SlumberingDormouse Wed 24-Apr-13 08:49:40

It's really not the most important thing. My father was (is) a millionaire and although I'm hesitant to paint my childhood as awful, it was far from happy. He and my mother were very unhappy and stayed together 10 years longer than they should have. Additionally, when I went to university he used money as a means of controlling me. If I did something he didn't approve of (such as going on holiday!) he'd cancel my allowance, leaving me in the lurch with bills. He did the same to my mother. DF and I get on better these days but I'm still trying to repair my own relationship with money.

I do understand where you're coming from, but money certainly isn't everything and can be used as a vicious means of control.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 24-Apr-13 09:46:26


I know it still tears me up.

To put in in perspective she grew up in the South Downs with a swimming pool in the back yard and pony in the paddock, but she ended up in care

I don't look back and see what we didn't have.

Quite a few of my friends adopted my mum because she always listened to us and would help us if we got stuck.

Both then and even more now I know I was lucky to have the mum that let me have the paints and the paddling pool out in the garden and who let me camp in the garden all summer, she was never afraid the let us make a huge mess. I had a brilliant childhood.
What I did not have was all the toys in the adverts, I don't remember being bothered smile

yaimee Wed 24-Apr-13 09:49:56

They sound very lucky to me!
Maybe your feelings of sadness are tied in with the loss of your dad rather than the loss of what you had in terms of money!
Loving your children and spending time with them is worth more than all the money in the world.

yaimee Wed 24-Apr-13 09:53:03

Herrena, that had me welling up too.
Human beings and the kindness they can show amazes me sometimes. Its heartening, as many of us, including me, sometimes focus on the bad stuff too much.

Crinkle77 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:53:35

You're children sound lucky to me. They have loving parents and extended family, a good home etc... Children don't need material things

chocoluvva Wed 24-Apr-13 09:57:48

Working for the things you have often means you appreciate them more than if they'd come easily.

A loving extended family is priceless.

lainiekazan Wed 24-Apr-13 10:03:56

Having a great childhood can sometimes be a burden. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and my rose-coloured glasses are secured on firmly when I look back on my life then. My dcs have a lot of things I didn't have, but so many things were better: high streets, telly, toys...

I know it sounds trite, but do count your blessings. You mentioned a close extended family. I have no near family at all. Dh's aren't interested so my dcs have NO ONE apart from dh and me. I often cast envious looks at big (ahem, non-MN word coming up) chav families and long for that camaraderie.

mumeeee Wed 24-Apr-13 10:09:59

You haven't failed them. You are giving your children all that they need. They have a loving family around them.

shockers Wed 24-Apr-13 10:31:15

I think I've got something in my eye.

MyDarlingClementine Wed 24-Apr-13 10:46:08

Its been v hard on this generation though to get to the same place in lots of different ways, degrees don't mean what they used too, when my dad got his degree it was really special, the first in his family. He faced challenges but also easier stuff.

I have made the absolute best of our house and garden, we do not live in the best area, but with the means available to me or not I have done what I could, I have got her into a school that should we ever win the lottery I would still keep her there, and we are generally happy.

My family had more materially but was not happy.

my OH also came from well off family and the family home is a prison its horrible being in it. They keep trying to put our home down and undermine our choice of coolish etc BUT we live in our house, it serves us, not us bowing to serve the house. You cannot relax there when they are there to me its a total and utter waste of time. I have often said to Dh if your dad had been a bus driver, your whole family would have been so much happier.

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