It has always been said that your children are a reflection of you. The original purpose of this statement was to be a reminder that you should act how you would like your children to act. Basically if you conduct yourself like an A-hole 80% of the day, odds are good that your kid is heading in that direction.
How many kids have come over your house and you can’t wait for them to leave, and then you meet one of the parents and the lightbulb goes off. Happily it works both ways, kids model good behavior too.
However I have realized there is a new “trend” if you will. Your child is a walking advertisement for your tax bracket…or really they tax bracket you may think you are in or want to be in.
My husband LOVES the term “house broke”. When I question how “So and So” who does almost the same thing as my husband, and has twice as many kids as we do, and has a wife who has never worked outside the home is doubling the size of their already big house, he simply says they are probably “house broke”.
I think many of my “burbia peers” are “Kid Broke”. Please I don’t mean broke from raising them, I mean broke from HOW you are raising them. This is not new, but it is certainly more common then ever.
Of course you want your kids to have a better life than you did (if your life was even that bad to begin with). I get that it is VERY challenging to say no to your children, especially when their peers are living the “middle school dream”, but teaching them about reality is why we get paid the big bucks, no? (which reminds me, I don’t remember the last time I got a check from my little humans. Will call HR in the morning)
I know parents of 3 year olds that are giving their daughter ballet lessons (which I don’t take issue with at all), at “the” studio in the area. These ballet lessons are exactly $250 more for the year than 4 of the studios in our area. The expensive studio has the following of the Hedge Fund tax bracket. That sticker on the back of your car means something. NOW if it meant that your daughter is going to be on the express bus to Broadway because she trains there, sure you do what you can to make it happen. So I go back to how this paragraph started…the child is 3.
So you have the sticker on your minivan; ergo you and your family MUST being doing “well”. Suburbia has decided this for two reasons: 1) you pay more for something you could get for less 2) the lot is mostly cars from our friends in Germany and that occasional Mom with her American made Suburban or Expedition (but the Limited edition).
All this and you don’t pay your class dues…and continue to complain that you should not need to pay $25 in class dues, because you pay taxes.
Then there is the 12 year old with the Louis Vuitton Never Fill Bag (with a monogram)….and before anyone jumps down my throat: 1) she did not buy it herself with her babysitting money and 2) don’t pretend it is OK to have a bag like that at 12, or 16. If your 12 year old wants a bag like that…you need to do some re-evaluating. Having your child walk around with a bag like that is 100% a status thing. She wants to look cool…and so do you. You have a Michael Kors bag that you got at Marshalls and your daughter is shopping at Justice with her friends at the mall on a Saturday with her LV bag.
Be serious even if you are the “Hedge Fund Family” there are other ways to give your kid something “nice”. Sure girls more than boys are getting into fashion earlier now a days, and it never helps that the cast of “Dance Moms” is sporting $1,000 bags….but you can’t possibly think that this is wise.
Years ago I remember noting that people “judged” you if you put your baby in designer duds. You were talked about if you bought your 16 year old a new BMW when they only had a learners permit.
Making sacrifices personally so your son or daughter can have a better education, be part of a travel team for they sport they love, or so they can have something that they actually need is no doubt socially acceptable and by all means encouraged. Leading a life that is not your reality through your children is nothing more than sad.
Sadder is that this is a practice that is not only common but not questioned.
We should not judge anyone. Period. I own that I am in fact judging people who are raising their children in a tax bracket that is not their own. It is in fact none of my business. I am not really speaking about haves and have nots…I am speaking about the “better” and the “bests”. When your “reality” is better than most American families, and you insist on using your children to portray that your “reality” is in the top 2%.
Full Disclosure: I have 100% done this at times. My crew has a yearly picture taken in various Burberry plaid items. Then the pictures come back and I am too paranoid that it looks “showy” (which it does), so I never post them! I tell myself that because not every kid is getting a new “something” and they are wearing hand me downs it is not that bad. I thought better of it this year, and we took our pictures while they were all playing in the leaves. Which is a better example of my family’s reality, not because we can’t afford to foolishly outfit our kids in over priced British clothing…because my family is playful, goofy, and loves to be outside.
Spend your money how you want really, but the practice of your off-spring being the definition of how you want to be thought off is just as bad as leasing a Mercedes to appear wealthy.
I have seen it catch up with people in the form of having a sit down with your Prada wearing new car driving teen about how they can’t go to the college they want to go to because they have no money to send them.
Remember when paying for your kids to go to college was a status thing back in the 90’s.