Pressure to Keep Up

  • When you become a parent, you sometimes find a competitive side to your personality that you never knew was there. Where “keeping up with the Jones’” may not have been a part of your life before having a child, being in the company of so many other people in similar situations can bring this to life in unexpected ways.

    Do you ever feel a pressure from other parents or our culture in general to make sure you have the best and latest of everything for your child? Whether it’s toys, clothes, education, the car you drive or the food you buy, how does what others have influence your desires and choices?

  • Personally I'm a parent that DOESN'T have to have everything brand new nor do I feel the need to dish out a ton of money on some of the higher end items.  Yes, I did go out and buy a travel system that cost close to $300, but I think that's more for safety and length of time I'll be using it.  It's one of the ones where the car seat will hold a baby up to 32 pounds and I just sense that this baby is going to be big and grow fast!

    Other than that I had thought about buying one of the more expensive cribs as well, but we found one for half the price at Target and I decided I could be just as happy with that.  I've bought a lot of other items secondhand and I feel like that's the best way to go.  I can get a quality product at usually less than half the retail cost!  For example, I bought a swing, bouncer, and playmat from the Fisher-Price Rainforest Collection for $100.

    I've also been buying a lot of clothing secondhand at garage sales or Goodwill.  This is especially helpful with baby items.  Most of them don't even look worn since babies grow so fast!  I've also had some things handed down to us from my fiance's brother.  They have a 6 month old baby that wasn't able to wear some of his clothing so they gave it to us.  A lot of this is new with tags.  I think it's amazing how much they never used.

    As far as my car, food, etc. I'm one of those people that really doesn't care what others have.  I do have a new car, but it's a cheap model and I need it because I commute over an hour to work each way everyday.  Reliability and gas mileage are very important there!  As far as food we eat out because we want to and we eat what we like and can afford.  I'm not going to push our budget further just because our neighbors eat out everyday, have a new car, big screen TV, etc! 

    I believe that everybody's financial situation and their priorities are different.  There are so many people out there that are living way beyond their means and that's a big reason why the economic situation is the way it is.  I wish that people would focus less on trying to be like everybody else and be more happy with what they can actually afford!  Sorry so long and opinionated, I guess this is something I feel strongly aboutTongue Tied

  • I agree with your post. Every child is different and every family's circumstances are different. I'm not going to have what Bill Gates's kids have, so why would I compare? Children grow up all over the world and most manage to grow up just fine no matter what they have or what their background is. Please don't give in to keep up with others because it's a race you'll never win.

  • I would be lying if I said I didn't feel pressure in some areas. The thing is, the pressure comes from within and not from my friends at all. I find myself wishing my children had a huge wooden playset like some of their friends or that I could afford to take them more places. Truth is, they don't care at all. We have friends that are much wealthier than us and friends who have much less, but the kids don't care a bit. They just want to have fun. AnswerDad said it best-- it's a race you'll never win.