I had that typical middle-class adult dilemma this week – is it kitsch that my kids favourite activity is shopping? As soon as I mention it, I see the bright gleam in their eyes, the excitement..the quickening heartbeat and I know it has them in it’s tight, materialistic jaw..
We had to step into the lion’s lair this week to re-stock on socks and pants for school. But I went attempting a new regime..
I told them exactly what I was going to buy. Then anything over had to come out of their pocket money/christmas money/birthday money which they had to have in cash..no loans. Anything big and desirable went on birthday (not long till Charlie’s) or Christmas list.
The hardest thing is that I have to stick to the plan too – there’s lots of stuff I’d love to buy them. But what message does that give? I limited the extra’s to looking for a top for Charlie and a dress for Bella, both for Easter Sunday when we’re seeing relatives.
I know that if I think back through the mists of time, I can still remember that feeling of stepping into the equivalent of a sweetie shop – the seduction of it. And too often, when dealing with kids, you look at a situation through the knowing eyes of an adult, forgetting the journey it took to get there. It can’t be skipped just because you know the answer.
However, both my children have a fair amount to learn..money burns a hole in their pockets and the magpie tendencies are strong..
Though Charlie did boost his cash reserve by eating a clam. Bella refused. But it was their choice.
Naturally, they blew everything they had – Bella on stationary, Charlie on a puzzle toy and a hat..
We found him a brilliant top in Next for Easter – £14.99 and it looks like something by Ralph Lauren, and is beautifully lined in grey marl. He wanted to wear it straight away..the resulting mash-up amply demonstrates the preppy look his mother would love him to embrace..and the secret clubber within..
Bella bought a dress from Marks and Spencer that fluttered her mother’s heart..black with a peter pan collar. I’ll take a picture on Sunday.
Of course now, for the lesson to be fully learnt, having blown all their money, I have to take them shopping again so they can know what it’s like to want something and not be able to buy it. That big gulf between need and want. That special emotion that can be one of the world’s best motivators…you want it, you earn it..you save for it. You spend it on what you really want, not the fluff inbetween..learn the difference between the diamonds and the fools gold…you want more? Find a way..work hard..make it happen.
Laters, Kate x