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I know I Abu but how do I get over myself and stop?

(39 Posts)
PinotAndPlaydough Wed 02-Dec-15 09:57:08

As the title says really, I know I'm being totally unreasonable with this but despite my best efforts I can't seem to get a grip on this.

Over the last month or so I find myself being hugely envious and jealous of others and it's getting me down. Everyday as I take my daughter to preschool I go past massive, beautiful houses knowing I'll never have a home like that and we will probably always be in a rented flat. I see the holidays, days out and things people do with their families knowing we just can't afford that. I hear other parents discussing swimming lessons and classes that we can't afford to send our children to.

It's such a wasted emotion, I know that really I'm very lucky and there are people in this world who would do anything to live the life I have. I try and count my blessings, my children are happy and healthy, they have a roof over their head and food on their table and yet....... I just want more for them and right now we aren't in a position to do that. Why can't I shake this feeling, how do I get over this selfishness of mine? It's really upsetting me.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 02-Dec-15 09:58:44

I don't know, I feel the same. My family are pretty affluent and live in an expensive area, we aren't and don't.

But flowers.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 02-Dec-15 10:00:19

Make a plan towards having more in future. Your current situation doesn't have to be forever. Everyone has lean times.

Wtfmummy Wed 02-Dec-15 10:04:15

Is there something you can change? New job, better qualifications, clearing debt etc that might help you get these things you want?

PinotAndPlaydough Wed 02-Dec-15 10:09:03

We are slowly clearing our debt and I know that when I can return to work in a few years (can't afford the childcare costs of two in nursery) things will change and we will have a bit more.

josephwrightofderby Wed 02-Dec-15 10:09:29

I'm going to be in the minority saying this, but I don't think it's necessarily wrong or selfish of you to be reacting to inequality and unfairness with some negative emotions.

What I'd advise is depersonalising it a bit. It's not just a system that shuts you out personally, but a whole load of people - all across the world. Understanding this will help, and it'll point you to ways you can start campaigning for change. Maybe read some of the new left radical writing that's coming out - David Graeber, Massimo de Angelis, Hardt and Negri....

Crabbitface Wed 02-Dec-15 10:18:34

I understand these emotions. I had (and sometimes still have) them too. I think it's perfectly natural to want more for your children. But when these emotions become a distraction or make you unhappy you need to do something to counter them. A couple of things-

It never stops - once you got a bigger house, went on expensive holidays, had great after school activities for your kids - you would likely be mixing with neighbours and people who have a slightly bigger house...go on slightly more luxurious holidays.. etc etc. In fact, I will look for the link but i'm sure i read something not too long ago saying that it is these middle classes who are the most unhappy with their lot because they can see better things always just out of reach - private schools, skiing hols etc.

Also - having nice things is nice but it doesn't make you immune to the same problems as everyone else. People in big houses still get cancer, still get divorced. And sometimes have more stress and anxiety - the more you have, the more you have to lose.

Like I said, I do understand. I got embroiled in the whole "I NEEEEDDDDD a kitchen diner extension" mentality - then someone very close to me got cancer, I had a huge health scare and I realised that my kids don't really give a shit about kitchen/diners or 4x4s or swimming lessons - they do care about time spent with them. My five year old is never happier than when he's on the floor with his dad and his lego and my DD would spend all day every day throwing stones into puddles.

It's good to have ambitions and to strive for more - but don't let it overwhelm you.

IsabellaofFrance Wed 02-Dec-15 10:36:03

The grass is normally greener on the other side because its fertilized by bullshit.

Crabbitface Wed 02-Dec-15 10:41:34

In fact, I will look for the link but i'm sure i read something not too long ago saying that it is these middle classes who are the most unhappy with their lot because they can see better things always just out of reach - private schools, skiing hols etc.

Can't find link...i don't think i imagined it but i may have. There are loads of other articles though about anxiety in the middle classes.

Crabbitface Wed 02-Dec-15 10:43:55

The grass is normally greener on the other side because its fertilized by bullshit

grin

IwishIwasinNewYork Wed 02-Dec-15 10:46:40

I don't think it's helpful, true or even fair to suggest people middle class people more money and bigger houses are unhappy or never content.

I am that demographic, I'm very fortunate in being comfortably off with a nice house, nice area in London. I count my blessings.

I agree there are some fucking awful people who are never happy with their lot and strive for extras that really don't matter such as the ski holidays, but those people are knob ends.

But I do agree that money absolutely does not bring contentment or happiness. I've had depression and life's thrown curve balls, like anyone else, then my expensive house means nothing.

Financial comfort means very little if you don't have strong relationships and good health.

IwishIwasinNewYork Wed 02-Dec-15 10:47:27

Oh and OP sorry you are feeling like this, it doesn't make you a bad person at all and is perfectly natural thanks

PinotAndPlaydough Wed 02-Dec-15 10:53:34

Isabella that might have to be new mantra in life grin

Crabbitface Wed 02-Dec-15 11:06:22

I don't think it's helpful, true or even fair to suggest people middle class people more money and bigger houses are unhappy or never content.

I wasn't suggesting that ALL middle class people are dissatisfied. But that some are. I know plenty of well-off middle class people who are constantly thinking about what next material thing would make them happier. Generally, I think we are singing from the same song sheet NewYork.

MrsEricBana Wed 02-Dec-15 11:11:49

The thing is there will always be something who appears to be better off than you whether that be seeming to have nicer or bigger home, happier marriage or whatever but a) you never can tell what goes on behind closed doors and b) they may not be actually be happier even if they appear to have "more". Financially we are better off than lots of people and far less well off that lots of other people but I don't think that makes more or less happier in itself. I also think, in terms of rented flat, that I felt happier in our rented flat in a lot of ways as far fewer responsibilities seemed to come with it. I never worried about DIY or decorating or home improvements or damp patches or anything like that. The friend of mine who was the beautiful woman in the beautiful house with the beautiful children is now divorced and living in small house but she is still beautiful and still has her beautiful children and seems very happy. I'm not saying you're being silly, I often feel like you too, and I just try to tell myself that whatever one has, someone else will always have more. And yes to whatIsabellaofFrance said :-)

sparklesandglitterxx Wed 02-Dec-15 11:13:02

I'm going to be in the minority saying this, but I don't think it's necessarily wrong or selfish of you to be reacting to inequality and unfairness with some negative emotions

that's what i came on to say

OP flowers for you....its not fair is it

i hope things get better for you x

BlueJug Wed 02-Dec-15 12:53:49

It isn't just "grass is greener" though. I understand because I feel the same. I grew up expecting life to go a certain way. That was reinforced by the education system, capitalist/business and society as a whole.

I just expected that I would get a good job, (after few crappy ones), get married, have kids, live in a nice house with garden and a bedroom for each of the kids and enough money to live a "normal" life.

Even now if you look at the deluge of advertising on the telly re Christmas it shows families, presents, nice homes, nice furniture, big kitchens, well-dressed people with enough space and stuff to do as they want to do.

Not having that house feels like I have failed. I have stopped at "twenty" rather than "forty" or "fifty" where I should be. It's like being kept back in primary school when you are fifteen.

I am aware that this is shallow of me but I wanted to "grow up" and that meant a certain way of life to me - and I don't see that I will ever achieve that now.

So I understand OP - it isn't just about comparative wealth. YANBU

redexpat Wed 02-Dec-15 13:42:36

Read how to do everything and be happy by peter jones. It will help you appreciate what you do have, and work out how to work towards what you want in life. I saw it recommended on MN and im much happier with my lot since readimg it.

PinotAndPlaydough Wed 02-Dec-15 14:09:37

Thank you everyone, I was almost expecting to be flamed for posting this. I'll check out the books and other recommend reading.

Bluejug has hit the nail on the head really, this is just not where I expected my life to end up and I suspect that this time of year is just highlighting the issue for me. We have £83 to last us until the 23rd, all the bills and rent have been paid and I can make that and what I have in the freezer stretch for food but I want to be able to treat my children and get them something nice or go out somewhere special during the build up to Christmas.

IwishIwasinNewYork Wed 02-Dec-15 14:11:18

Crabbitface yes we pretty much saying the same thing. No offence meant.

I just think it's silly when some people do that whole 'Yeah they might have the big house and great job but I bet they are really snobby/unhappy/never satisfied'.

Personally, I think I am no more or less happy than someone poorer than me or someone richer than me.

IwishIwasinNewYork Wed 02-Dec-15 14:14:42

Oh Pinot I'm sorry. Why should you be flamed? You're not hurting anyone by the way you are feeling.

And I wanted to come back to add to the end paragraph of my post above, I totally accept that not having money worries at this time of year, most assuredly does trump having money worries, especially when it comes to making ends meet rather than just wanting 'more' and 'better'.

nilbyname Wed 02-Dec-15 14:21:35

Not having money at any time of year is horrible and having that weighing on you is hard. Not having much at this time of year is doubly hard as we live in. Culture that celebrates gift giving and extravagance.

Think of it as a project. How little can you spend until pay day? How many free things can you manage till then?
How old are your kids? I've got a few free ideas that might work for fun days?
Look on Pinterest for thrifty ways to do nice things. Is your local town/church got things on? Christmas tree exhibitions, choir services, christingle service? Are there Christmas markets to go and look at? Take a thermos of hot chocolate, have a wander round. Can you go to a local woods and gather up bits to make Christmas wreaths and decorations?

The world is very unfair and we live in a time of gross inequality, I think it's normal to have those feelings.

Can you trade any services? My friend teaches computer programming in exchange for French lessons for her children? Can you petition your school to lay on more free activities? Are your kids pupil premium?

PinotAndPlaydough Wed 02-Dec-15 14:36:02

They are only 2 and 4 so really they have no idea about missing out, it's my issue really. They love our local woods and the park, before I had children I was a nursery manager so am able to do lots of cheap craft and messy activities with them, I don't think they know they are missing out yet.

SummerNights1986 Wed 02-Dec-15 14:39:54

The grass is normally greener on the other side because its fertilized by bullshit

I think that is the best thing I've ever read on here. Very applicable to lots of mn posts too grin

GwynethPaltrowIamNot Wed 02-Dec-15 14:47:24

Pinot they are not missing out , they are doing wonderful family things with you

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