to feel angry and sad that lack of funds mean my children miss out on things?(127 Posts)
Very much middle class angst here as I am well aware that my children are fed, clothed, have a roof over their heads etc. They are not very "grabby" in terms of toys, gadgets etc and seem generally happy with their lot. But I just wish I could do more stuff with them! This weekend i know of friends whose dc are:
- going to see a sporting event in a nearby city (travel and ticket costs prohibitive)
- learning to climb at a climbing wall centre (as above )
- going to see a musical (as above!)
These are all different families obv!
Another has a piano exam...cos they bought a piano and can pay for lessons.
Yes I know they have valuable time spent with family and friends etc. But I'd just love to be able to do more of these things which I think they would really love!
I dont worry at all about this sort of thing and I don't compare really, I don't think you need these things to have very happy stimulated children.
If you want to introduce music why not buy a recorder and try a You Tube tutorial?
Most of the things we do cost nothing but cause a lot of excitement- having friends over, baking, going to the library, indoor camping by making exciting beds under blankets etc.
Do yours have enough activities? Ours love swimming too which doesn't cost much and adds variety.
I think we all want more for our DC - DD is at school with very rich
ungrateful DC and she's very money wise and non grabby -
Don't compare, there will be others who would wish to be in your position. Is there ways you can improve your situation?
Teddy said it best - comparison is the thief of joy
I'm sure they have moment of envy over you, they may sacrifice other things or have chosen these things over physical gifts at Christmas / birthdays.
When they look back at their childhood, their main memories will be playing with each other and being with their family and friends.
I so much know what you mean, the norm for children is what they see around them and who they go to school with.
Music lessons and later maths lessons if they need them and so on - it seems really unfair that some children can have them and progress more just because their parents earn more.
Holidays are a real separator too. Trying to convince mine that one weekend away in the summer (UK) is just as good a holiday as their friends fortnight in Florida (some have 2 or 3 holidays abroad) doesn't wash with teens. They don't complain to me at the time because they are in the moment and having fun, but do sound very sad and wistful in that first week back in September. Or if their friends ask and they are embarrassed to say what they have done.
It makes me sad too, the angry part is due to relationship breakup and DC having a very different childhood to the one they could have had.
I understand. DH works from home and is busy with that a lot of the time. I can't take all 5 DC out very far on my own as they all have SN and I don't drive. So quite often we don't go unless it's during school time and I just have the youngest 2. I'd love to take them all to the park more often. My older 2 do learn the piano though.
If it bothers you, look at what you can do to improve things. Can you up your hours / cut back elsewhere.
People spend on different things, for some it's activities. They are only young once so I'd rather go without myself to give them opportunities.
I am perfectly at peace with not being able to have designer handbags and driving an old car. I am not at peace with my children not having All The Good Things. I don't "deserve" the Things because I have not earned them.... but neither have the more fortunate children of better-off parents. That does seem unfair to me even though I know it's silly.
I was just thinking about this having read the private school thread. I was at private school on a very significant scholarship and my parents spent every penny they had paying what remained of my school fees. I didn't have anything like the stuff my peers at school had but I can only remember the odd pang of jealously at other people's holidays. I honestly barely thought about it. It was much more important that I had loving parents who did free/cheap things with us on weekends. I think it was actually better for us in the long run.
The most important thing is that they know how much they are loved. Try not to fret about other stuff.
How old are your DCs and how far are you from a town? Is it impossible for you to get to museums and galleries - all of which have free activities for children as well as the stuff on display. Just as absorbing and fulfilling as paid for outings.
Obviously it's not so easy at this time of year but could you, in a few weeks organise a game of rounders in a park (or field if you're rural). I still recall the mystery trips by car or the route marches to a local river or canal as a child. And long before the youngest member of the family was old enough to join in they could happily spend an hour watching other people messing about at the local aquatic centre.
Do you have a church or cathedral handy? Free organ recitals - or evensong - even if you're not religious these things are entertaining and educational. Is there a church choir they could audition for? A music school that holds free or very cheap concerts?
Actually - where are you? I'm sure people could suggest specific things.
We don't do all the activities I would like. Musicals particularly just seem so expensive. My kids would love to go but never have.
You do get pianos free on Gumtree though, I think people just want them out of the house if their kids aren't interested. Lessons are expensive though. Can your kids get instrumental lessons through school?
I prioritise things the kids can participate in over events they can watch eg playing music over going to a concert.
I had music lessons, subject tution, dance lessons (was laughable, I looked like a miniture of the Fantasia dancing hippos at that age!), and so forth. It wasn't done out of my enjoyment, it was for bragging rights. If I didn't excel at these activities, do better than the children in my class, there was usually hell to pay (why are you so useless, they're all laughing at you, do you know how much money I'm wasting on you). I hated it, I was always so jealous of those who didn't do activites/didn't have things bought for them instead of just being loved. It knocked my confidence for years - however, I now appreciate the things I do have instead of things that I want. Don't compare, just be there for your children, let them know they are loved. That's what they will really remember in years to come.
We are often out and about and it's quite cheap if you know where to look:
Local authority website - a local park was having an event today and we got to try some sports for free. I was also given some leaflets for local guided walks and nature days.
Cinema - many of the major chains do early morning (10am) showing of films for £2 each. We recently saw the good dinosaur, which came out before Christmas.
English heritage/national trust: I get membership of EH through work (think it costs £45 for the year). I can access hundreds of sites and they often have special events.
We take packed lunches when we go out, so we don't spend much money.
Having worked with children and adolescents (from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds) for many years, I can confidently say that this stuff matters a million times more to you than it does to them. Holidays, expensive hobbies, enriching activities..those things are great but experience tells me that they don't correlate with a young persons happiness. I have come to the conclusion that the two most important things you can give your children to maximise their chances of being happy, resilient, comfortable in their own skin etc. are love and security..and I'm not talking about financial security, although I won't deny that doesn't hurt. I'm talking about the security that comes from having caregivers who are supportive, nurturing and consistent. It doesn't matter if you're seeing a west end musical together or going for a long walk in the park together, it genuinely is the togetherness and not the activity itself that has the greatest impact on the kids.
Thanks all! Yes I am queen of the bargain and we do manage a fair amount of local, outdoorsy based stuff. They have what must seem like idyllic (if you live in the city maybe) days on the beach in the summer, when the sun occasionally appears. We have a tent and go camping. Both dh and are I full time but I get school hols and he works shifts so they get a lot of time with us compared to some peers. All good wholesome and valuable stuff. I use groupon etc a lot for activities, nat trust card for days out etc. They do a lot of cheap and important activities - swimming, brownies and so on.
BUT I want them to go to lego land! To learn a musical instrument! (Selective tuition at school - dd1 did not get selected ). To go to disney! To ski!
Yes I sound very ungrateful I do realise that. There is just no spare cash after necessities, we are all pretty much charity shop and supermarket clothed etc - and tbh I don't mind! I mind much more about the skills and experiences I feel they will miss much more than the material things.
Oh crossed post with last poster sorry. Yes I know deep down you are right!
The most precious thing you can give your children is your time and attention OP, over any activities and experiences that money can buy. Those are the times they'll remember.
We bumped into another mum at the shops today who asked DS what he'd been up to during half term, then she did cat's bum mouth when he reeled off all the amazing things he's done all week.
He has autism and spent the week at a special needs playscheme. It's amazing, he loves it and he gets to do amazing things. But obviously I'd rather he wasn't getting to do all this by virtue of him having additional needs... Don't judge a book by its cover, I guess is what I'm saying.
I had a financially priviledged childhood. And it was all show, not for my benefit. It wasn't even stuff I liked most of the time, just bragging rights. And I was insanely jealous of my bf from secondary. Who lived on a notorious council estate with parents who struggled for basic expenses. I thought her life was fantastic, because her parents were.
Obviously love and wealth would be ideal. But I speak from experience when I say wealth really comes pretty far down the list when it comes to having happy children and being a good parent.
Totally agree with pp about kids wanting time with you as precious.
I too dread the question "what did you do at the weekend " as i seem to know lots if people who pay for activities. Whereas we don't have the money. Difficult but try not to feel envious. I'm sure ur kids don't notice.
there are loads sof things you can do on the cheap. amateur productions h are often nearly, if not as good as professional productions.
Things like swimming you can teach kids yourself, ditto climbing if you have the kit, tennis etc . I coach gymnastics so my kids can be competitive gymnasts for free.
Also remember that many things can wait til your kids are students or working and generally they will get a lot more out of it as an adult.
Also there is the question of opportunity and time forplaying.You can always learn to play the bassoon or kayak or whatever as an adult.Once the childhood window of playing with friends and toys, and other childish things has passed , it is gone forever.
Re watching musicals, there are lots of amateur groups who put on shows that are cheap to watch. Not the West End experience, but still live performance & even West End stars have to start their career somewhere.
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