Sunday, May 22, 2005

What Does a Homeschooling Mother Do With Her Own Birthday Money?

What does a homeschooling mother with a tight budget do with cash she receives as gifts for her own birthday?

In the past I have used it to buy great children’s books that I had not been able to purchase due to low funds, in the past. I once mentioned this to another homeschooler and she said she did the same thing. Further inquiries to book-loving and book-addicted homeschooling moms yielded the same answer. Some use it on curriculum, saying that what they were currently using was so boring or causing problems with their child that to be able to buy a different curriculum was what they wanted most. I imaging that the experience of a happier child was a gift in and of itself.

I know some of my friends and acquaintances would think this is odd or disturbing. Some may say this is a sign that a homeschooling mother (or a stay at home mother) has no identity separate from her child, that she puts her children before her, and perhaps is an unhappy martyr. These other mothers could find no end to the list of things they’d want to buy for themselves. Women addicted to shopping or those who love being a consumer have a huge wish list that is constantly edited and added to depending on the latest fad and trend. The fact of the matter is that I don’t want to buy a lot of the things that other women want. I don’t like the latest fad and style of shirt, so I refuse to buy it, “just to be in style”. The truth is I want to look good, but if I were to put on a skin-tight shirt that reveals my bare midriff, it would not be a pretty picture. I defer to looking good over using my body to display the latest clothing fads. I just don’t want the various things that so many women want, or that the women’s magazines feature as great things to buy.

The fact is that quality time spent with my children reading aloud a new, great book is what I like the best. Perhaps it is the time with my children and not the actual book that I want most, but also to share that book with them, what THAT book has to offer with them, is also special.

As I begin to receive cash gifts for my birthday I am seriously pondering what it is that I’d buy “just for myself” and so far have come up with just one thing: a backpack style pocketbook (for ease of carrying when hands are full due mostly to child-related causes). I’d like one that is durable so that taking it to the playground and placing it on the ground will not ruin it. I’d like it to be washable in case something spills on it. (I have ruined two gorgeous Coach leather pocketbooks due to things spilling on them—because the stains don’t come out.) I think I have found my answer although it is a trendy thing (albeit not a brand new trend): a Vera Bradley backpack or a knock-off. I mentioned this to my husband, though, and he offered to buy it for me for my birthday. That still leaves me with this cash for books….


Jeannine said...

LOL, I've been doing the same thing for years. This year my father has had enough, and he said for my 40th birthday this summer, he's going to take me shopping to make sure I don't do it again. :-)

Amy said...

I am so glad to hear I am not the only one! When my husband and I had a "date night" for my birthday, he didn't even need to ask where I wanted to go! Off to Borders for coffee and books...

christinemm said...

Update: I checked out the backpack I thought I wanted and it was too big. I bought a smaller pocketbook instead and saved over $20. I realized this was the first pocketbook I've purchased with my input in about 16 years and I was glad to have input as to the style, etc.

I also am taking the cash I get from relatives and buying a sewing machine for myself. I want to re-learn to sew.

I didn't buy anything for the kids with my birthday money!!