Little Bun and Class Anxiety about raising him
I wrote about my own current social class experience with being uncomfortable about my parents knowing for certain that I have reached upper middle class status, solidly in the column of “rich” (I guess? I don’t feel like it) when compared to most of the population… and it got me thinking about Little Bun.
I was raised pretty much middle-class (with strange “rich people” tendencies like the fact that my father never worked, yet drove a luxury vehicle in the 6-figures.. .and kids at school found it weird he had a crappy minimum wage job but we had a huuuuuuge house and a fancy car).
And now I think it’s clear by the numbers that I am upper class.. (again, not something I have internalized yet), and now I worry (all the time) about spoiling Little Bun.
I worry that he will grow up thinking that everyone lives in the sky with parents who don’t seem to ever cry, stress or scream at each other about money.
Or that Mommy and Daddy never have to say things like:
No more money left until payday.
We’ll have to really cut back, we can’t afford that.
… Or to not see us do frugal things like use potato sacks for a pot scrubber, although I do cut my own hair but Mommy is always well-dressed (like super well-dressed), and that we have really nice cars…
I worry he won’t develop that grit, that ambition and that drive to reach the next level because… he is already living at the next level compared to most of the population here.
Of course, we aren’t decamillionaires like the people we live with in the building but maybe being in the vicinity of these folks with so much money, Little Bun might then get the WRONG IDEA that we HAVE money like that, when we don’t.
I worry about not properly teaching him about money.
I worry about not teaching him the right values, unconsciously, because I do consciously try to tell him:
No, Mommy has to save for that.
We cannot buy pounds of stickers every week, baby and have you go through them like water.
Stickers cost MONEY.
We also consciously do not spoil him toy-wise, but is that enough?
Will he learn enough just by not having an abundance of clothes, toys and everything his little heart desires?
As he gets older, he will (maybe?) realize that we don’t have a mortgage, and things are paid, and we do have money. How do I mitigate that knowledge? By repeating to him:
Don’t forget. Mommy and Daddy worked hard for all of this. You’ll have to do the same.
Is it enough?
I don’t buy everything for him when we go out, I make him put things back and I don’t treat him all the time.
His “treats” are when I print coloured pictures of things he likes to learn about — planets, numbers, etc…
He goes into a store, and people are so surprised that he isn’t on the floor screaming his head off for candy or whatever is on the shelf. Little Bun doesn’t even KNOW that you can buy this stuff at his age right now.
He thinks it’s just stuff on display to play with, and then put back and say “Bye Bye, Mr. Cat, see you next week“, and Mommy and Daddy like to touch things but we only seem to buy food and “boring” things.
But as he gets older, this is going to change. He’s going to learn from outside influences and friends and I am going to have to navigate how to explain to him that no, his friends may go to private schools and so on, but he is in a public school.
Or that his friends go on vacation every other month, skiing in Europe or going to islands where their parents have second and third homes, but we “only” go to Europe once a year for 3 weeks to a month to only stay with family and not to travel around like global nomads.
I feel like his whole perspective on money and social class is already going to be out of whack because he’s going to be comparing to people who have way more than him, and yet, what we have, is way more than what most people have.
Personally, I don’t want to move and live in a cheaper neighbourhood (I still want to enjoy my money and my hard work), and I don’t want to force him to live in a shack when he is 16 to learn what the real world is like.
How do I explain to him that what we have is already in abundance and not what most people have? How do I show him that?
Will he even get it?
These are all things I worry about.