It’s a constant battle. You want your children to have more than you did as a child. You want for them every opportunity, every experience, everything that you had growing up and more. It’s just a natural thing. Every parent knows the feeling.
You work hard, you save, you skimp on things for yourself just to ensure that they have that extra tennis lesson, the piano lesson, the holiday away. A friend of mine said to me long ago that her sister went without dinner each night just so her children could eat organic food. She couldn’t afford for the whole family to eat that way, but she made sure her children didn’t miss out and so she went hungry.
I hear my kids mutter the words ‘this is like room service’. Hell, I didn’t even know what room service was until I was a young adult and I don’t think I ever ordered it before I was about 30 because I never stayed in a nice hotel. My kids get in the car and complain that the air-conditioning isn’t cool enough or the pool is too cold to jump into and I shake my head. I tell them growing up I never had a pool nor an air-conditioned car because my parents couldn’t afford it and they look at me in disbelief. I tell them that a restaurant experience was a special treat and was usually at the local tavern. There was no such thing as weekly takeout and a holiday away usually involved a cheap deal at the Gold Coast and did not include skis and a lift pass.
It’s a battle which most of us face. Children today are simply given more, exposed to more and have higher expectations of what they should and do receive than we ever did as kids. Backyard cricket and handball on the streets have been replaced by Inground pools, iPads, and copious paid for after-school activities.
I know that the above aren’t bad things. It’s great to be able to give your kids things you never had. Yet I wonder what our children’s resilience will be like when they get older. How hungry will they be to achieve things later in life when so much has been handed to them on a platter, without effort or sacrifice?
Clare Sultmann is a wife, mother of 3 and the founder of Dear Molly.
As a survivor of a catastrophic accident, former barrister at