I’m sure every woman has done it – made promises to the unborn child growing in her belly.
I know I did. Twice.
When I was pregnant with JJ and Joah, I vowed to give them everything. I vowed to raise them in the church, to expose them to some of the world’s most beautiful things. I promised to teach them every good thing I knew. The pregnant me would be proud of the mother I am today. In just four years with JJ and two years with Joah, I’ve held true to my promises.
But the other day, when my husband threw around the word “spoiled”, I started to question my original promises.
According to thefreedictionary.com, spoiled means “to do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence or excessive praise”.
“Can I have my birthday party at Olive Garden, Mommy?” JJ asked last July.
It’s one of my favorite places to eat. When I was pregnant with JJ, we lived right across the street from one. And let’s just say, most of my money went to bread sticks, salad with extra olives and chicken parmesan with extra cheese.
My obsession with Olive Garden didn’t change after giving birth. So naturally, the boys have been exposed to the restaurant because of my love for it.
“Can we go to Chicago?” JJ asks us at least once a month. “I want to stay in a hotel again and ride in a taxi cab.”
We took the boys to Chicago earlier this year. They had a blast. JJ talks about The Windy City as if he was born there. When he asks, I don’t think he sounds like a spoiled child. He sounds like an educated child with a lot of experience in a little bit of time.
My husband doesn’t agree. Instead, he hears the requests of a spoiled, privileged kid. And although I don’t agree with him, I can see where he’s coming from. As a child, my husband only traveled with his basketball team, and he didn’t eat at Olive Garden until he was an adult.
When he thinks back to his childhood, he doesn’t remember going to the circus or the zoo – things JJ and Joah have experienced. He said he can count on one hand the number of times he went out to eat as a kid. And while I understand that, I don’t want that same fate for my kids.
My mother gave my brothers and me more than she had as a kid. It feels natural to want that same thing for my boys. But I don’t want my kids to be called spoiled.
How do I find that balance between exposing my kids and spoiling them?
Tunette Powell is a working mom with two children.
You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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