Dad and I have a pretty decent coparenting thing going on but this is really getting me down!
I have always been a sahm and he has had a career for all these years and the income to match. His house is kid heaven with video games and every movie known to man. My house is rice 'n beans with coloring books and scrabble. I save up for months to buy a nice new coat and then he buys a better one. I don't think its intentional but its SOOO frustrating!
Awwwh :( If you have a good co-parenting relationship could you chat about it? Maybe coordinate purchases? There will always be the one house has more x than the other place.
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
Video games and toys have nothing to do with how fun your home is. Kids respond much more to how approachable you are, how hands-on you are, and how much fun you have being around them. There are so many fun things you can do with kids that cost almost nothing. Kids don't care that much about what they eat as long as it's palatable. There are tons of ways to have fun and play interactive games that can bring out the silly sides in all of you that make for a lot of great memories. When they grow up, they're not going to remember how many times they beat Mario Cart or whatever, but they will remember most of the bedtime stories you read to them, the silly songs you sang, and how much fun they had building gingerbread houses.
Also, I recommend shopping at Goodwill rather than saving up for things like coats. The one near me does a 50% off everything Saturday once a month. Some of the nicest clothes, boots, and jewelry I've ever had, I got at Goodwill for $5 or less. Also, I just found out about a website called Thredup.com where you can get a whole box of nice used kids' clothes. There are so many ways to get the things that you need without breaking the bank.
Living happily and loving it!
I just wanted to say that I come from a blended family perspective (stepmom), and I get what you mean by "fun house" vs. "boring house". You have to look at it from a different perspective: no matter what YOUR house is like, and no matter what HIS house is like, you kid will love and admire both mom and dad. Even when they are cranky, even when they say they wish they had this video game system or that, even when they slam the door to their room because you said "no" to an unreasonable request, they will love you to no end. Wether they want to go over there for a weekend, because something fun is happening, or they want to stay with you today, because you are baking cookies, kids love both parents and under normal circumstances feel loyalty to two parents: mom and dad.
There was a time when DSD's mom couldn't understand, why would dsd want to forgo a weekend trip to the beach with her vs. hanging out in a one room apartment with her dad who doesn't even have cable TV. There were times when I couldn't understand why would DSD want to hang out with her mom, while we are going to a faire for a day. The thing is, you just have to realize that it is nothing against you. *hugs* Kids are just kids, they want to do certain things for certain reasons and it never means that they don't love you, or prefer the other parent. They just want to have fun, whatever "fun" means to them in the moment. I am certain that DSD WILL remember our board games, even though she complains at times when we have "game nights". But I also overheard her once telling her friends "my dad has cool unusual board games, and these are the ones I'm good at...", AND her bf of six months now, comes from a family that LOVES to play board games and has pretty solid family values. Also, I know that we usually pay more attention to her Christmas wishes, and usually do better with guessing the presents she likes, even if we don't spend much; but I promise you, she LOVES her mom, and in her eyes, the woman can do no wrong. So dsd's excitement over presents at our house never diminishes the fact that she loves her mom.
You just have to accept that the memories you build with them are no less valid than the memories their dad builds with them. It's okay to have different structures in two different households. As long as the kids are loved, it will be okay. They are not going to love you any less just because their dad got them a better jacket, they are simply happy about a new jacket.
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
I want to add one more thing. My grandparents divorced when I was really little, and it must have been an ugly divorce because the tensions were always high when my grampa was around. No one ever bothered to explain the situation to me, but grampa was the "fun" grandparent...well, he took us to Sea World, bought us bicycles, video games, etc. My grandma was a warm lady and used to put on Mozart while I helped her water plants, sweep the patio, clean the bathroom, and fold laundry. We had a ton of fun. Then there was my mom, who was angry at my grampa, and whenever he bought us stuff, she would say things that would make us kids feel bad. This is something that still affects me today. I have trouble accepting gifts, feel that I don't deserve them, have trouble giving gifts, and had to work hard to get used to saying thank you. It really messed with my head at a young age. Maybe that's why I married a guy who was rotten at giving gifts, who didn't think I deserved anything, and who saw me as a possession with zero rights as a person once he had acquired me. That actually attracted me to him because taking "giving" out of the relationship took away my burden of guilt for being unworthy.
All this to say, your kids will internalize how you feel about things, even if they don't seem to notice. It's especially important that you don't feel bad about it. It's beyond your control. Be happy for their happiness because it teaches them that being happy is acceptable and good. All they need is the basics and lots of love. Money is not a measure of love.
Living happily and loving it!
Thanks everyone. I really needed to vent/be heard.
My kids clothes are all secondhand. The only *new* clothes they get from me are a new coat and church clothes every year. So its important to me to do that for them and upsetting when someone "takes it over" and now that I think about it that sounds a lot like its my own issue more than anything else. Yikes!