Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Skirt

I love to give my children good things. They don't normally beg for things, but when they do I try not to burden them too much with, "That's too expensive," and try saying things like, "If you really want it, we will save for it." Usually, the want passes.

Not this skirt.

Hannah started a ballet class this afternoon at a studio near our house. Children's activities around here can be unbelievably expensive, so we try to limit the amount and make good choices. I picked this Ballet Studio not because it's a good deal, but because it's convenient. I was not willing to driving a half hour out of town with the boys in afternoon traffic to save a little. All the nannies that sit in the waiting rooms seem unphased by the cost. : )

Then there was the $32 leotard. It had to be bought from the studio. All the girls wear the same one, the same $10 tights and the same $22 shoes. The $26 wrap skirt is optional. Great. Hannah, no skirt. Buuuuttt Moooommmm, it's sooooo pretty.

Yes, but you don't need it.

The skirt has come up several times this week... and today, on the way there, I say, "Hannah, it's expensive. You don't need it. I don't think it's wise to buy it."

We get there. She is thrilled! Skips into her new class. The french doors close. I peek inside at the 12 girls standing in a line facing the mirror.

Hannah is the only one without the skirt. (Thankfully, still smiling.)

My heart breaks. I want to run to the desk and buy the skirt. It's not that we can't, I just... well, I thought I was doing the right thing. Am I?


She's not home yet... I have a feeling the skirt is going the come up again.


  1. ...I have tears just reading did it go? :)

  2. It's hard, I know. I have a very girly girl. Plus all of her little girlfriends come from homes with a lot more income than us - no question. Even if I had unlimited amounts of money, I want & try to be smart with our money, I wish I had been that way a few years ago. I'm trying to teach them to be smart with it as well. It's hard when the others seem to have so much & she doesn't. We carpool to ballet with a few of those friends. Today they had thier new ipods (these girls are 6) they don't need ipod's. But my child is sad & unhappy that she doesn't have one, and I can't say in front of those girls or to her that I think those parents are nuts for giving something like that to a 6yr old.

    I think you did do the right thing.
    I'd just go with your we'll save for it, or offer to let her help "earn" it or even for a special treat later. - Then at least she's not getting it all at once.

  3. I like Sarah's idea of saving, or working for it. The reason why America is in financial crisis right now is b/c we want everything and we want it now. We are confused about what is a need and what is a want and we pass that confusion and entitlement down to our children. I am definitely guilty of that and wish that I were better at doing what you did today! I would have wimped out and bought the skirt, even if I did not have the $! Thanks for inspiring me to stand firm and make sound decision about what we buy instead of giving into my (or my children's) impulsive (or not) desires. BTW, I notices you said you just read D. Ramsey's book after hearing EVERYONE talk about it, I just got it from the library for the same reason... I finally decided to drink the koolade :) Anyway, maybe Hannah could do some extra jobs around the house and when she has half the $ (or a percentage you agree on) you come up with the rest?

  4. I can't believe the studio made you buy all that stuff from them. Grrrrrrumph. You are a wise woman Jen and Hannah will love you for it. I think "we'll save for it" is brilliant. In the meantime check out and see if they have the same thing for less ... just for the information:).

    I smiled at your last post ... Kit starts piano this week too:) and she CANNOT wait. The big family gift this year was a keyboard (220v of course - will have to be sold in six months) because there are no real pianos to be had in Nepal!

    Blessings friend ...

  5. Ugh..I have no advice but you made me happy that my twins are only 20 months old :) You sound like a smart mama who will make the right decision!

  6. I hear your pain! WE all want to give our kids everything! I was in a home school support group once and all the moms -home school moms! talked about were their vacations... in places I had never heard about. WEll we didnt stay long becasue I simply knew both me and the children would end up wanting to keep up with the Joneses! IT is so hard to be smart with money when you think your kids are not getting everything you think they Need or want! BUT is she in dance? Does she have tights and leotards- is she still smiling!
    Then you are doinng your job!

    No matter how hard it is, she is learning smart good lessons! WE cant have it ALL.


  7. Jen, not sure how long the lessons will last, but I vote that you surprise her with it as a Valentine's Day gift. My mom gave me a pink and black CB jacket (remember those?) back when I was 11 or 12 for Valentine's Day and I remember being so thrilled that she gave me something so cool (because of course I wanted to be cool and those jackets were the epitome of that at my school at the time) and that I knew was a luxury (I didn't need the jacket. I had a jacket, I'm sure. And we were not a family that purchased expensive things on a whim.) Anyway, the fact that she gave it to me for a special occasion (that wasn't my birthday or Christmas) for some reason ended up turning it into something I still remember (and am thankful for) two decades later. (If only it still fit!)

  8. I like the Valentine's day gift idea, too. Also, encouraging her to save for it in the meantime would be a double blessing.
    We've been in the same situation with boys. Here in the south people fork out big bucks for sports stuff. That's not our philosophy. Even with Beanie Babies...some of my kids' friends have a dozen or more. I was so proud of my older son when he replied to a bragging friend with 13 BB, "I have 2 and I'm happy with that." You never know when your lessons or words will take root in their hearts and come out of their mouths. What a blessing! I think you made the right, albeit hard, choice!



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