Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When the "Jones" leave you behind...

I have to admit, my life is quite different than what I thought it would be when I graduated high school. I had lofty ambitions, and just knew I was going to conquer the world. Who knew that my idea of "conquering" would include managing to survive the "doctor disaster", or managing to keep sane while having no adult conversation during the day, surrounded by poopy diapers and PBS.

It's hard for me a lot of the time to be content with where I am as a person and now as a family. I struggle with comparing my life with those of my friends, family, and the occasional stranger. Close friends finding success by climbing the corporate ladder, purchasing new homes, etc. My "Jones" left me behind a long time ago, and it's frustrating to have to always see their backs. I long to be walking next to them, or heck, even in front of them if I'm completely honest. I'm not asking for designer clothes, or living a posh life. I just want to be able to live life without significant constraints. I want to decide where we're going to live based on something else besides how much we can afford. I want to buy groceries without having to put stuff back once we get to the register because we've spent too much.

I've always struggled with this idea of feeling like I'm behind "them". I can remember growing up watching my cousins wear Abercrombie & Fitch, and I went to Lily's consignment shop. This was so upsetting to me, and I never understood why my parents didn't buy me these things. My cousins went to Florida every year and went on all of these nice trips. We made it down to Richmond to visit my dad's family every once in a while.

My mom has helped me put things into perspective, which is nice. She said that they made sacrafices in life that they felt was vital for my sister and I. She stayed at home and was there every day when we got home from school. They sent us to a christian school. And they lived in a cramped, small house (that some how by the grace of God managed to meet our needs until we didn't need it anymore.) My mom said she remembers going to the grocery store with a calculator to make sure that we stayed on budget. Kenney and I are making sacrafices too for Braydon and Makenna. We are surviving with one income so that I can be the one to kiss booboos and impact their lives on an hourly, and daily basis. And I know now what it feels like to have to say "no" to your child and feel horrible about saying it. As a parent, we want to give them the world if we could, but it's not possible. So, Mom and Dad, please forgive me for what I did not understand, and for upsetting you when I got mad.


Aprille said...

haha this sounds familiar. In one of our houses we had no heat or AC - well we did but it was baseboard heating so we couldn't afford to run it and the AC was a window unit which just doesn't do the whole house without costing the same as the rent. We saw our breath in the winter and I remember sleeping on the cold tile floor in the summer =). That was not my favorite house!

I remember one time basically throwing a fit about needing to get a pair of shoes telling her I didn't understand why she didn't just get me the shoes. I needed shoes pretty legitimately but we didn't have the money then and of course the shoes I wanted were Airwalks lol. I remember the look on my mom's face. I apologized years later, realizing of course she would have bought me the shoes.

I always worked for my own money for mission trips and spending money as well as college tuition. I did lots of babysitting! It has definately made me a better person and I really appreciate it now. I honestly think we do our kids favors telling them no sometimes.

I hope I am never a Jones to you! Remember the tricky things about those Jones is you don't see the whole picture, including the wonderful things down the road for you!

Rachel said...

Well, here's the thing. I totally appreciate parental sacrifices of any kind (money, time) now that I'm a parent and see the other side of it. But, on the other hand, our lives are a series of choices, and we can choose what we want: our careers, our spouses, the amount of children we have, etc, and all of those choices affect every other area of our lives.

For instance, if I wanted a life with lots of money, I could have got into a field that pays well, or married a rich guy, or not had children. But my prioity isn't money. With the choices I've made, I'm not going to stress the money aspect side of things, cause I'm doing alright considering I don't have a career and I have children.

If your prioirty is to have a lot of kids and raise them well, that job doesn't pay well. There are sacrifices that go with that choice. Or, you could have a lot of kids and work a lot of hours. That choice brings more money, but less quality time with you kids. It's all up to you.

I'd also like to add that saying no to a child is a very GOOD thing. No matter how much money I have, I will never give my children whatever they want whenever they want it. Thjat doesn't build character. And even if I had a ton of meny, I'd make my kids learn the value of it.

I should have just written a blog, I guess. This comment is getting too long!

Rachel said...

by the way, is the purple for B?

Anonymous said...

I am glad you can understand the choices we made as you were grwing up. Houses you can always buy. There will always be Joneses to surpass on the road to "success". There will NEVER EVER be another childhood or infancy for your children. It is wonderful that you are making the right choices NOW. Live without regrets!!!!!

Innocence Underrated said...

Must have been a common MW theme...penniless hehe. I never cared much about 'things' until high school, and do remember having 'tantrums' about not getting things that everyone else had. My parents answer? Since they couldn't afford it, I could get a job. And I did. And we learn so much that way. My husband's clients are the 'old money' people who have never worked for it and have everything handed to them, they crap on everyone and complain like THAT's their job. It's so sad. I fully believe our children, who will be raised this way, will be amazing people and will one day thank us too. I have my moments and days where I sometimes wish I was back at work or challenging my brain more, or could afford this or that, but I can't hand over my baby to someone else and willingly miss one moment (Lord help me when kindergarten comes...). Somedays it does feel we're stuck in one spot and the world just keeps spinning. But, we're probably right where we're supposed to be... sorry so long! good topic!

Britney said...

Thank you for reminding me to be thankful for what God has given me.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I really like your new blog format! Looks great!

Anonymous said...

Christy is interesting to read how you saw things from your perspective. It was hard making those choices at that time, but I can tell you now that I don't regret those choices. The choices you make now for your children have eternal benefits!!! God has blessed us as a family in so many ways that money or things would never buy!! Just keep following the Lord's direction and you will reap great rewards. Just remember the Jones' can't take all those things with them, but our family will spend eternity together!!! I love you very much and I am very proud of you wanting to be home for Braydon & Makenna. Mom

Carina said...

It can be hard, but by the sound of things you have things in perspective and are a wonderful wife and mother. Enjoy you family! You never know how many of the Jones' are looking at you and wishing they were home with their children :)

Following Forward said...

I loved this post! I struggle too sometimes. God always is quick to remind me what is more important that all those "things". When I am desiring bigger and better things I remember this verse: 1 Tim 6: 6-10

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Thank God I have food and clothing, and a home, though it may be small, that keeps my family safe. Hope this verse encourages you too in those times of seeing the Jone's backs. :)