Parenting the endless sacrifice or the sacrifice for the future?

For a while now my wife and I have been talking about the sacrifices we’ve been making as parents. I’m sure you’ve made yours we all have is my take on it. Then it occurs to me that we’re a much more selfish generation (maybe one of the worst in history). I was once talking about how we’re so selfish as parents when another blogger chimed in and said that all kids are more selfish then their parents because our parents want them to be better then how they had and in turn work hard to provide more. I’ve been thinking isn’t that circle making it much worst for the future generations?

In having a similar discussion of the new graduates of college working in the PR industry one senior PR person joked these kids dont even want to get coffee or do real work; they all just want to sit around and try to become celebrities… I get it, clearly look at the cast of jersey shore – right?!

I worry about the future for many reasons – living in NYC I need to deal with education prior to Kindergarten, so we’re juggling the whole 2 income with school or nanny/child care or 1 income and barely making but with a stay at home parent.  I know my wife and I are really feeling the sacrifice these days mainly because we just had our second time alone from our child for more then 3 days.  It was great other then the fact they were some of the busiest days we’ve had in over 2 years.

My mom hung out for a while with my wife tonight and she even made a comment about how life’s a sacrifice and she’s proud that hers gave true to the fruits that are now me… and (here comes the mom jab) that I need to step it up and do more with my son…. (if you heard a car crash sound it was just me driving off a bridge)… I’m pushing myself to limits here to build a better life for my son.  Talking with my wife day in and day out about how we can do more with less or get more to do more… while others say money doesn’t buy happiness (I completely agree) it does afford you better aspirin! No really I get it – in NYC to live a good life you need some moderate amount of money…

I guess the long and the short of it is – are we always sacrificing for a better life for our kids? or are we sacrificing for our future? or is there a good balance of not just living in the now but not missing out on our kids?

2 thoughts on “Parenting the endless sacrifice or the sacrifice for the future?”

  1. I think that I could always sacrifice more. No matter how much my wife tells me that I am a great dad I feel major guilt whenever I work from home and watch Eva at the same time. I hate using the idiot box as a babysitter while I work even if it is only for an hour or so. As for sacrificing money and such we try to budget really tightly so that we can afford things like vacations that we can pay for with cash. We did the Financial Peace University class at our church and that is one of the best things we have ever done as a couple and as parents. It really opened our eyes to the importance for sacrificing for our future and for Eva’s. I grew up working hard for my Dad who has worked his entire life with his hands. I’ve seen his sacrifice for us. I hope that somehow I can instill that in Eva, although it is hard for her to see me as working when I am on a computer, the same thing that she uses to play games.

  2. First – we need to take what our parents say with a grain of salt. It’s been a while since they had small kids; they don’t always remember too well.

    Second, and more important, stop. This idea of living life as a sacrifice is really bad idea. You end up where your mum’s at. What she is telling you is that she sacrificed her life for you, and now it’s your job to make it worth it. She’s making you responsible for her life being a good life. She’s putting you in a position where if you make decisions that are good for you but not what she wanted, her life is not a success. And she probably did already when you were much younger. It’s a terrible way to rule through guilt.

    You can’t put that kind of responsibility on your kids. No-one can be responsible for the happiness of others that way. Your responsibility is to your life, to make your own life a good life – and to do so with your partner and your kids. Your mum is responsible for her own life.

    Of course, when you have kids, you can’t have instant gratification. You have to do what is right, not always what you would like to do right now. That’s not sacrificing yourself for your kids, though. That’s making an informed decision – working on a bigger want (having kids, family) and foregoing a smaller wants (watching the ballgame, having a new car).

    There’s a cost to doing what we really want – having kids, starting a company, going back to school for that MBA, taking two years off to travel the world. We do that because of the satisfaction of doing something we really want to do. And because that satisfaction is sometimes slow in coming we should remember to always do things we like to do, right now. Don’t be tricked into thinking of sacrifice. Don’t think it’s wrong to go to the ballgame once in a while – that you have to sacrifice things you like to do. You don’t. In fact, it’s part of the responsibility that comes with being a father that you must nurse your own happiness. Because nothing is better for a kids than happy, loving parents. And few things are worse than sad, grey parents who load up the kid with responsibility for everyones happiness.

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