I Won't Give Up My Eyebrow Wax So My Kid Can Have Art Class

playing soccerThere was a story in the New York Times over the weekend that might as well have come with a red flashing light and siren screaming "santimommy alert!" Writer Alina Tugend says she hails from a 'hood where "most parents would rather cut back on indulgences for themselves than stop paying for their children’s activities." Note to self: never try to move into that neighborhood. I'd be chased straight outta town.

Call me a selfish you-know-what. But I'm not giving up on all my fun so my kid never has to say she's stuck spending a boring old evening at home with Mom, Dad, and the dog. I'm too good a parent for that.

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Too good because I actually get out of my house once in awhile and do something for ME. I get my eyebrows waxed. I buy name brand toilet paper. (And if you don't think that last one is living it up, you have not yet tried to balance a family budget. Trust me, it's worth dropping the cheddar bunnies for a comfy hiney.)

And that's not all y'all. This past weekend I even, gasp, dumped my kid off at my parents' house and gallivanted into New York City for a few days out with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary a wee bit early. We shopped. We laughed. We took in a Yankees game. We spent money. And all my daughter got out of it was a pink Yankees hat and a few days of intense spoiling from her grandparents.

Them's the breaks in our house, where she DOES have dance class during the school year and soccer in the fall (my husband even coaches), but that's it. I suppose we could try to scrimp and save to pack in more, but what's the point? She's 6. She only needs so much to give her a good "start." And if you doubt me, come on over to my house. Bring a sleeve of paper cups if you would. Now watch her spend two hours building elaborate towers and castles out of that sleeve you picked up at the dollar store. Try telling me her brain needs the workout only $275 art classes can give her.

If we give our kids everything they want, we're hated on for raising a selfish brat. So shouldn't the opposite be true? That refusing some of their "wants" is better for them?

It just so happens that it comes with a benefit for us too. I've been through postpartum depression. I remember what it's like to lose myself. I don't want that to happen again, and I sure as heck don't want to raise a kid who thinks it's OK to give up who you are for the sake of someone else. I try to be plenty thrifty. But by the time you're old enough to push a kid out of your hoo ha, let's face it, you've developed certain habits, tastes, traditions. Even if it's just a $7 eyebrow wax, you know there are some things to just keep you feeling like YOU.

I may not fit in in the neighborhoods where kids have art class on Mondays, dance class on Tuesdays, swim class on Wednesdays, and so on. She may have to make do with some dollar-store entertainment. But my kid has a happy, smiling mom cheering on the sidelines of soccer practice once a week.

I'd say that's better for her than a year of classes, how about you?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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