I have given this question a lot of thought. I want to talk about honesty. I saw a lot as a child. My parents were very honest with me and my sisters. I knew what the rent of our apartment was, I understood we lived paycheck to paycheck, I knew we were on welfare. I knew when my mom was very frustrated at the way her life turned out. I knew how long and hard my dad worked at a job he was not passionate about. Was this all beneficial?
To give you some background I come from a family of immigrants. My mom came to New York City as a teenager from Dominican Republic while my dad came to New York City in his twenty’s from Ecuador. They met at a factory that manufactured purses. My mom became pregnant at 19, had 3 more daughters after my older sister Karla so needless to say, I do not come from a wealthy family monetarily.
I am happy with every single thing in my life, past and present. Everything has occurred perfectly, so I do not believe my son will ever see any kind of frustration or resentment of how my life turned out which I am grateful for. It is not a good feeling to see and feel that as a child. I overall have a different mentality than my parents therefore, I really do not think that will occur. Talking about money or exposing my finances though, I am not entirely sure how to handle that.
On one hand I am incredibly grateful that my parents did not hide money struggles from us. I understood the value of a dollar at a very young age which is great to have the knowledge in order to value your planned purchase. I knew how to weigh out whether an item was worth purchasing because I knew what a dollar was. I see many kids now who just ask and ask for things without understanding what goes behind the cost of the $50 or $100 item they are begging their parents for. On the other hand, I felt incredible guilt. I felt like a financial burden if I wanted or even needed something that cost a lot of money. That guilt even creeps up on me today at times for example, if someone offers to pay for my dinner. I am working on letting go of that guilt.
I plan to not be under the same circumstances my parents were financially however, I do think it is important to teach my son what things cost (meaning the dollar value itself and the labor it took to get that dollar) at an early age. But I must find a way to shield him from feeling guilt.
I felt guilt when my mom would express verbally when the bills came through the mail. There was a sense of annoyance and frustration in her voice where I knew at an early age what bills were, bills were not something you wanted. I could tell there was stress in the household with money. I understood we got free food or discounted food through welfare. I knew we could not ask for things that cost too much, we had to share plates the rare times we went out to eat at a restaurant, and majority of our closets had to be hand-me-down clothes (thank goodness for only having sisters : ) which weren’t horrible things but looking back at it, I want my son to come to me and ask me for anything without feeling like he is a burden to me. I think that is what it is, being a burden.
I know there will be times I will not be able to give him absolutely everything (I think it is beneficial to say no to children at times) but when I do say no I would like to have a conversation with him about why I am not able to. I do not want to brush him off and have him feel like a bother or burden to my life. I do want to explain as much as I can to my son, I do not want to leave him with assumptions to make or uncomfortable feelings.
I also think about how hard PJ and I work. I do appreciate how hard my parents worked and are currently working because it most definitely instilled an amazing work ethic into all four of their daughters; the only thing I would change is working on something I am passionate about. I know PJ is at a place in his career where he absolutely loves what he does and truly feels like he’s fulfilling his life purpose. I am in an incredible work space right now as well. Seeing your parents work day in and day out at jobs they do not love is simply … a crappy feeling. I want to show our son what hard work is but also provide him the platform in which he can be and do absolutely anything he desires to do. We must model what we preach by continuing to do exactly what we desire to do.
I overall want to be very honest with Jet. I want to openly talk about all of the “mistakes” I made in my life, answer any and all questions he may have for me. Having an open dialogue with Jet when it comes to any subject, uncomfortable or not, is one of the greatest goals I have as a mom. I kind of look forward to that time.
Most importantly, I hope that being completely honest with Jet will give him the chance to learn from me.
What do you guys think? How do you find the balance between being honest and TOO honest with your children?