It started in 4th grade. I have a very vivid memory of being left out from the popular group of girls because my clothes were not from The Children’s Place. It was apparently THE place to shop. Well, my clothes were from Kmart. I had never given a second thought to what I wore or the fact that I lived in an apartment instead of a house or how I rarely visited places like the zoo or Kings Island. But when I turned ten, things changed. My world changed. I was thrown into a game of catch up, keep up and get ahead. Twenty-four years later…. I’m over it.
Childhood is filled with innocence but at some point in time, that gift slowly fades away. It happens to all of us, but as I grow as a mother, I’ve realized I need to reclaim the outlook I once had. We are a society of comparisons. Maybe you are lucky enough to be one of those rare people who honestly don’t care what is going on with others’ lives. But if you are reading this (a blog, where we share about our lives), my guess is you are at least curious. Unfortunately for me, my curiosity has flirted with envy and it’s time to turn back before I head down a very frustrating road.
My kids are still young enough that they don’t notice. They don’t care that our house is smaller than their friends’ houses. They don’t care that they wear the same few outfits over and over and that they are not wearing the latest “it” toddler item of clothing. They only care about smiles, hugs, digging in the dirt and snuggling with mommy and daddy. In so many ways they are spoiled. They have it SO good. They are happy, healthy, have a loving family and a roof over their heads. Their needs are more than met.
So why do I yearn for more? My needs are MUCH more than met as well, but why do I start to turn green eyed when I see a friend’s brand new house or a Facebook post about a fabulous family vacation? Well, for starters I am human. I live in a society that tells us we need more, more and then more after that. Bigger is better. I also (obviously?) like brand new, pretty things. Is it not “normal” to want them? I guess it is, but what am I doing to myself by feeling that I am missing out? What am I teaching my kids?
So it comes down to another one of those many times that I have learned a life lesson from my own children. It’s okay to have a bigger, brand new house and designer clothes. It’s okay to take a fabulous family vacation. But I refuse to feel bad about myself if we just aren’t doing those things. According to my babies, being happy is simple. Love on each other. Play with the pile of rocks and sticks. Run around barefoot. Be happy for others but not envious. It’s so hard, yet so simple. We are breathing, smiling and together. We have it all.