Back in high school and college, the most important things on my mind were where I was going Friday night and what I was going to wear to said event. I treated myself to regular manicures, blow outs, and somehow managed to purchase new clothes more frequently than I’d like to admit. Who was this girl, and where did this money come from? I still wonder the answers, myself.
When I became a mom, my priorities shifted a bit. Suddenly, it was ok for me to stick to basic t-shirts and the same jeans I’d had for basically ever, because my offspring surely needed the latest and greatest (insert eye roll here). We aren’t just talking about clothes and shoes, either — sports and activities also comprise much of my mindset and my budget. I’ll balk at a $130 monthly gym membership, yet pay almost double that that for my daughter’s cheer and tumbling classes. I’m much quicker to purchase the most adorable miniature shoes for the kids, yet when it comes to seasonal items for myself, I usually opt out. What is wrong with me?
Here are five reasons why I’m buying more for my kids than myself these days:
1. That baby weight. If we’re being honest, baby weight plays a large role. I’m working on being healthier right now, but it’s easy to forgo things for myself when I’m less than thrilled with my body. I’ll find something cute on the store shelves and mentally file it under the “purchase later when I’m happier with my size” category. I do this more often than I’d like to admit!
2. I really love children’s fashion. As cliched as it sounds, I also really love fashion and trends. For better or worse, I have cursed my children with the same love, and we all have fun with it. They love dressing up, and I try to include them in many of the purchasing decisions now that they’re beginning to have preferences. As hideous as some of the middle school trends are (think oversized t-shirts for girls that cover their shorts, paired with Converse), I also respect that they think they look good. I often have flashbacks to my own teenage years, when I thought loose fit JNCO jeans and peasant tops were the pinnacle of fashion. Yikes.
3. Better resale value. You might be surprised to learn that baby and children’s clothes from smaller businesses (which is where we primarily shop) can often have have insane resale value. Scary Mommy recently published an article about the secret world of buying, selling, and trading these clothes, and I’m here to tell you that this article basically summarizes my life for the past several years. I recently flipped a $30 purchase for $150! Purchasing items for my kids is literally a self-funding operation. I can’t say the same for those Express jeans that have been hanging out in my closet for the last few years, or even for the resale value of my designer purses.
4. I love giving to others. Gifts are my love language, and giving them is one of my favorite parts of life. I am the rare mom who loves being invited to countless birthday parties because it means that I get to shop for other people’s kids! I relish in finding someone the perfect gift, and my family is no exception. Seeing their faces light up is one of my favorite parts of life, and even though we only do experience gifts for birthdays (family tradition!), even something like an impromptu trip to the library or stopping at Juiceland to grab a smoothie is such a fun little treat for them that makes us all happy.
5. This stage of life. Right now, we’re at the stage of life where things like family vacations aren’t going to happen because my kids are just too young. I admire parents who can load all the kids into the family van and head out on a road trip, but that just isn’t me. With a three-year-old and 18-month-old, we are not going anywhere far from home anytime soon. My “me time” is also lacking, so my retail therapy is Target and World Market, mainly to pick up something for the house or the kids. My days are spent planning crafts and outings, shelling out money for preschool and extracurriculars, and replacing outgrown clothes and shoes. This stage of life just isn’t about me, and it definitely impacts where my money is going.
Someday I hope to shift my confidence and mindset, thereby making myself more of a priority. Though I long for the days of regular, uninterrupted pampering, though, I have to say that this life with my littles is so much more. Until that day comes, and yes, it will be here before I know it — I’m ok with the fact that they’re taking a front seat when it comes to my purchasing.