Sitting here in the Franklin Lakes Starbucks, typing on my iPad and watching the people come in and out....men, women, teens, kids and babies, a question popped into my mind, as I watch a young teen ask for some complicated concoction from the ever friendly staff. How in the world do you stay grounded in a town such as this? Better yet, how do we ensure that our children stay grounded?
It's wonderful to be living here....it's beautiful and quiet...we've got a good school system with great teachers...I've made some amazing friends...I found a hairstylist that knows exactly what I want (we all know how difficult that is....thanks Vic for your cutting edge style....ahem....check out The Chateau Salon)...and it's been interesting to see how many times I have to tell my kids...I don't care if so and so has such and such, we are not getting it!
Does this conversation come up in your household? Am I the only one who feels that kids these days are way too spoiled?
You see, if you are new to town or to any of the surrounding towns in Bergen County, let me give you a brief overview of life with kids in an affluent town. You will notice that I have only covered a few topics, but it will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about (this of course is only the opinion of a lowly Franklin Lakes Housewife).
Computers: With all the advancements in technology, our kids now have the luxury of accessing the world wide web (do you think kids even know what www stands for?.....ha ha ha) from an itty bitty sherbet colored, blinged out smartphone (can you tell I have girls?) but, it doesn't stop there. Nooooo.....one day as you're looking around your house, feeling good that you are able to provide your family with two PC laptops and now an Apple computer (not to mention the cell phone that you just bestowed upon you oldest daughter), your ever loving child will ask you for her own Apple laptop....are you serious? Why? Oh.....because your friends all have their own and you don't want to deal with other peoples accounts on the main computer.....I see, well then...FORGET IT! We're family, deal with it. Do you have any idea how lucky you are to even have a computer? When I was your age, we didn't have cellphones, personal computers, DSs...the most exciting thing I remember as a kid was the electric typewriter...spoiled kids (grumble grumble)...
Houses: After years of hard work, you and your spouse have finally purchased a house in beautiful Franklin Lakes. It’s everything you dreamed of...there's plenty of room for the kids to roam, they each have a separate bedroom, you have a kitchen that allows more than one person in at a time and you actually have a yard....then, your child goes on their first playdate and comes home, takes a good look around and says...so and so house is sooooo big and beautiful...how come our house isn't like that? What?! Who says its not?! Pop-pitty-pop...pop...pop... Your little happy bubble just collapsed and you look around at the broken steps, fallen gutters, dug up lawn (courtesy of the four legged pet you agreed to in a moment of weakness) and you decide to take this Hallmark moment and make it into a learning experience. Do you realize that we are very lucky to be living here? Daddy works very hard so that we can live in this house...plus, how can mommy make the house look nice when you guys never pick up after yourselves, you eat in every room...leaving crumbs everywhere, Kiki (the furry destroyer of all things) tracks mud and dirt into the house and you guys constantly bounce from bed to sofa as if on a trampoline...there is NO way I'm getting nice furniture until you are all off to college...and that includes the dog!!! Ridiculous!
Clothing, shoes, etc: Now, I must say that so far I've been pretty lucky when it comes to my kids wanting certain things....that is...so far, they are pretty much content with driving me insane with all the electronic stuff (ugh). However, I'm sure that designer jeans, brand name tops, juicy this and couture that are all in our near future. How can we avoid it...honestly? You know you’re in trouble when a kindergartener is told her family must be poor because she always wears the same shoes to school, or when your teenage daughter has accumulated a thousand and one outfits in one year because she can't possibly wear the same dress twice...are you kidding me?Have you encountered anything as bizarre as this?
You see, although I love living here, I must say that it comes at a price.
Among the mini mansions, luxury cars, state of the art digital apparatus and couture clothing, how do our kids stand a chance? How skewed will our children’s view on life be? And how do we keep them from becoming self-important little monsters who feel as if they are entitled to anything and everything?
I want to be a good mother, but how can I steer my kids straight when my own compass wavers on occasion....and doesn’t always point due North? (I really did need those shoes....I’ve been looking for that perfect shade of red...and, now all I need is a dress to go with it....What? I’ve put in my time...a girl’s gotta have something...)
But all kidding aside, it’s very important to me that my kids know that they can’t have everything their little hearts desire. Just because a friend has something doesn't mean that they have to have it too. So, for now, if they ask me for something that I feel is not a real necessity, I resort to a firm “No”, or an occasional “maybe” and in a desperate attempt to end all conversation, a teeth baring, guttural, crazed eye “NO! And if you ask me one more time, you're in big trouble....and I mean it!!!”
Do you have the same concerns? How do you keep your kids grounded in Franklin Lakes?
Well, that’s it for today, I just finished my venti-decaf-light-mocha-frappucino-no whip and....oh my god, is that the NEW iPad....it’s so thin...and that cover is sooo cool....huh (as I glance down at my own “older” iPad, it suddenly feels so heavy)...man, this thing feels like a brick...I think a lighter version would be a lot better...hmmm...
* This is an article I wrote for an online news site