Fancy Cars and Nice Houses

Fancy Cars and Nice Houses Picture

Last week, I drove through a neighborhood near my house to drop something off at a friend’s house.  It is a beautiful neighborhood, with fancy houses, pools in most of the backyards and boats and four-wheelers sitting in every driveway.  I would be lying if I said that I wouldn't want to trade my humble, ancient farmhouse for one of those fancy homes or to trade my Dodge minivan (paid off) for a souped-up Suburban.

But we, put simply, cannot afford it.  It just isn’t in our financial cards.

Admittedly, some days I feel like I am the only person living in 2012 who still uses window air conditioning units in the summer  (someone please tell me that you use them too!)

Worse is that as my children have gotten older they, too, have wondered why we couldn’t live in one of those ritzy subdivisions in a house with walk in closets in every room like their friends do

I am ashamed to say that they have actually expressed embarrassment about inviting a friend over that they felt was ‘richer' than them.  "Oh, she lives in a huge and fancy house – she cannot come here!" 

As a parent that makes me feel bad. 

But I also noticed as I was driving through that coveted subdivision, that nearly every other house there was up for foreclosure. And it got me thinking.

Do you think that some parents today are providing so many amenities for their children in an effort to keep up with the Joneses when they really cannot afford it? 

Decades ago, families bought ‘starter homes' and ‘fixer uppers.'  My mother in law didn't build her dream house until her boys were up and grown, and got by in a humble house in a middle class neighborhood.  I grew up the same way.  We definitely were not rich, but we weren't poor either. We had EVERYTHING we needed to be happy.  This is exactly how my husband and I are raising our children.

I also wonder if over-extending financial balance and giving kids so much at such a young age sets them up to expect too much from their lives.  Won't they eventually feel like they have to live in a home they cannot afford just to be a good parent?  

Still, it’s only natural to feel like a ‘have not' in a world of ‘haves’ when you are not the one living in mini-castle

And when your kids become older, they notice these differences and will wonder why.  It won't matter to them that you have stayed home and made sacrifices so you could invest time rather than money into your children.  It will not matter to them that you are doing what YOU feel is best as a parent. And your children can make you wonder if you are in fact, doing the right thing.

I have taught my kids that people's homes and cars are not a measure of success.  My children also know that while our house may be a 1900 farmhouse, that it is a HOME – and that it is plenty nice enough for any friend worth having.  If someone were to judge me by my car or my house – they aren’t people I would want as friends anyways. I hope that one day my kids will see the sacrifices my husband and I have made to do what WE FEEL IS BEST FOR THEM.

And I have also tried to teach my kids that things in the world today are not always exactly as they appear.  For me – the metaphorical Joneses mean nothing!

How do you feel?  Does your home and car make a statement of worth about what kind of parent you are?  Or do you think that people who feel that way are just shallow?

What do you think?

Fancy Cars and Nice Houses

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Bonniebell81 Bonniebell81 says:

    I have a 9 year old son and because of his grandparents is in a really good private school. In the area that we live in that takes worry off of me. But for Christmas last year he asked for not just a cell phone but a droid then for his birthday he asked for a kindle fire. While trying to explain to him it cost money for these things he says well my friends at school have them. I remember when I was a kid we mostly played outside. What ever happend to those days?

  2. Profile photo of emi285 emi285 says:

    We are not rich by no means…heck some days we barley scrape by. My children have all that they need, and a lot of times I would love to get the "extras" for them. One day I may be able to afford all the fun things I see that I want them to have, but if that day never comes I will be happy knowing I did everything they needed me to do to raise them to be loving, smart, responsible adults.


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