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I made the mistake of polling my Facebook friends regarding the amount of money they spend on their kids for Christmas. As it turns out, I am a cheap tightwad of a mother. Lame. It appears I spend less than half of what many of my friends spend. Now I feel incredibly inferior. Thanks, Facebook.

Ever since I could picture myself raising children (actually, who am I fooling? I can barely picture itnow!) I knew my kids would not be spoiled – behaviorally or materially. I could never stand that bratty kid whom stompingly demanded everything on the shelf nor the parent who appeased each demand.

I’d say we’ve been pretty lucky so far. I mean, we have lived through our share of tantrums as a result of saying no to something. Usually it isn’t anything they want us to buy – but things they want to do and such. Aside from that, however, the girls are very aware of the concept of price/cost and don’t beg for things.

By the way, have I mentioned that aside from being cheap, I am also a total flip flopper?

If I were to judge my job performance as a mother by whether or not I stuck to everything I said, whether or not I always practiced what I preached or whether or not I went against my original declarations – I would get a big ole FAIL.

Before becoming a parent (step or biological), I had many ideas of what was right and wrong. I had already made decisions on issues I had never personally experienced. And I was so sure exactly how I would parent my children. And while some of the most common sense choices I have stuck by – there sure have been many to be thrown out the window.

I was certain my kids would not have video games at their disposal.  I saw the frustration they would create in adults, let alone children. And so many of them portray and glorify violence, crime and sex. I was able to keep a gaming system out of the house for my step daughter’s first 9 years and my daughter’s first 6 – but that rule has since been abandoned. They now each have a Nintendo DS System, our living room now filled with Wii paraphernalia and they also play games on their iPods. I am still very strict about what kinds of games are allowed, but they do play with these devices almost daily.

And that brings me to the ownership of electronics. I was thoroughly against them having TVs in their rooms, high tech expensive toys and anything else which I feel is extravagant or overly distracting. But aside from all the gadgets I have already mentioned, they do indeed have a TV in their room. I am sticking by my no cell phone decree, however. Really. I promise.  My daughter is 7 and I intend to keep her cell phone free until she can pay for it herself. Let’s see how long I can stand against that one.

You would think I would learn from my hypocrisies and realize I should never say never. But I don’t. I still say there is no way my child will wear clothing with words on the butt. I swear up and down that there will be no eyeliner in Middle School. And I vow not to allow sleepovers without a full home walk through. I feel very adamant about these commandments, but will I stick to my guns? I mean, I felt strongly about the other stuff too.

It isn’t that I constantly give into my kids. They really are not spoiled, nor do they get everything they want. Many times there is compromising with other parents involved. My husband doesn’t feel the way I do about some of these things. He is much more laid back about certain issues and stricter than I am about others. And sometimes circumstances just don’t allow for an opportunity to reasonably say no.

I have finished my Christmas shopping and I find myself debating whether I have purchased enough. My wallet says I have, my credit card statements say I have and my husband DEFINITELY says I have.

So while, they may be getting less than some of their classmates, I need to remember how lucky these kids truly are. I know there are so many who go through the season with nothing. So I suppose my worry shouldn’t be whether my kids will become spoiled…perhaps it is me who has become spoiled.  I don’t have to keep up with the other parents just as I don’t want my kids thinking they need to keep up with the other children.

I know I could have written about the true meaning of Christmas…or that being together is what really matters. I suppose I could have frilled it up for a heart tugging sensation. But I am a mere consumer and a self conscious mom. So, this is what you get.

With that said, have a delightful holiday (which ever one you celebrate, if you do) and a joyful, enlightening New Year. Now…back to wrapping…


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