Choosing to live with not very much of anything. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 03:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I mentioned in another thread of a family I know who chooses to live very differently than I. I am envious sometimes and sometimes furious. I don't know why I have such visceral reaction and so maybe you smart ladies can liberate me from my narrow thinking.

This family (3 children ages 11, 9 & 5) have one parent work and have almost no $. The sahp could work and is educated (quit a 6 figure job to stay at home), but stays at home instead (the children are all in school). They have no computer, no tv, some toys (mostly books), one car (they bike a lot), one tele, and etc. I guess the biggest part that makes me furious is that whenever the children come to my house (which is a lot) they are ravenous for everything, including food. I don't think the parents actually neglect them nutritionally, but I think they could be a little more generous in thier food preperations. It is actually difficult being their friend sometimes as I have to really kind of corral them in their frenzy to touch every toy and eat every thing.

I get that people choose to stay at home to raise their children. I am one of these. We are a one income household and I totally understand why people make this choice. I also get how much it would totally suck to have to work outside the home for so many hours that you missed out on your children's lives. But isn't there a middle ground? And just because you are choosing a one income household does that mean you have to choose almost nothing for your kids?

I don't feel I am close enough to say anything and don't know if I would anyway. It is really none of my business that these folks are choosing how to raise their family, but I guess I wondered why they are choosing it? Are there certain values inherent in living a monastic life as a child? Why wouldn't you at least earn some $$$ so you can fix enough food? they are all terribly thin.

I just don't get it.
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#2 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 03:45 AM
 
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I do not see anything particularly weird about the family's lifestyle that you are describing. It's not mainstream, but it's not bad.

I am sure that my IL's look at us and think the same things about us. They feel very sorry for us and are ashamed about the fact that we live in a 700 square foot, one bedroom house with our 2 kids. (The fact that we are walking distance from the beach and in a cool 1920's bungalow on half an acer of land studded with huge live oaks on a street with million dollar homes has seemed to escape them.)

We are planning on selling everything, including most toys, and living in an RV for a year or so. Folks close to us are deeply concerned and think we are nuts. Folks are so worried about the kids.

We don't get it. Why do the kids need to have a playroom full of toys to be happy? Won't the adventure of exploring the country provide all kinds of play opportunities? Will we die with out TV? (We have not had television since 1998 anyway. Just a TV and a DVD player.)

We will just have the one car and our bikes (I so want an electric bike so we can extend our biking range.)

We have 2 phones. My cell is the "house" phone. DH has a work phone that is paid for and used for work.

We have computers, but again DH works on his so mine is the "house" computer. We unschool and I consider it a mandatory tool.

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#3 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 06:20 AM
 
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I don't really see this as weird, either. It's certainly not what mainstream media and marketing companies want you to do. I commend them for not buying into the marketing machine that tells everyone that the American dream is to have things, things, things, and more things. The more the better. My own father and stepmother cannot understand why we don't have a gaming system, drink soda, watch Disney, and wear everything Hanna Montana. Each family has their own level of materialism that is comfortable for their philosophy. I quit a job that wasn't quite 6 figures, but would be by now if I had stayed. I have an only, that is in school. I would hate to have her in after-school care for an additional 2 hrs./day just because I'm making money to have "things". I am sure that she would rather have that extra time with me daily, on holidays and summer break than she would want toys. I think it's sad that people really think it's better for kids to have a piece of plastic or a screen and controller rather than their own parents around.

If the kids are going hungry, then my question would be if they have explored all the different programs available to them to purchase food. Angelfood ministries, food stamps, wic, food pantries, etc. If they don't make enough money for food, then they need to explore their options. My guess, though, is that the kids are just naturally thin.
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#4 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 07:09 AM
 
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I'm actually kind of envious of their lifestyle. I'd love to be a SAHM for that long. And I love simplicity- people don't really need much to be happy. From what you describe they have more than we do, and our kids are doing great! If they are in school they have access to reduced price breakfast and lunch. Depending on the school district these can actually be fairly tasty and healthy (the last school district I worked in had great food, nothing like when I was a kid).

But it sounds like there's a manners issue going on here. Would you mind their lifestyle if the kids didn't run amok in your house, if they asked politely before using a toy, and only ate a reasonable amount of food while they were there? I think you are perfectly in line setting some boundaries around what the kids can and cannot do and eat in your house.

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#5 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 08:04 AM
 
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I don't think there's anything wrong with the way they're raising their children either. What I can comment on is this: my children have loads of toys and they get more than enough to eat. When we go to a friends house, they will eat like they never do at home (sometimes) and ofcourse they'll want to play with all the toys they're not used to. It's just because it's different from the food at home or different from the toys at home, not because they're going without at home. Just a different prespective.
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#6 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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I just wanted to comment on the OP's question about why she has such a visceral reaction to the lifestyle choices of these people.

In my experience, I react the most to other people when I feel like their actions / words are an implicit judgment of me and of my choices. So maybe seeing their simplified lifestyle makes you wonder if you consume too much stuff, which in turn makes you feel like you are being judged and found lacking.

I think it's really important to remember, in situations like these, that we are not actually being judged; that what's right for one family isn't right for another. This family probably doesn't give a second thought to your lifestyle-- so maybe focusing on that can help you manage your reaction to their lifestyle.

And I also want to agree with the PP about kids gravitating to what they don't have. My son can act like a complete pig when we go to someone's house and it's really, really not because he's underfed or that he has no toys at home.

Of course, we don't know what level of eating/obsessing you are talking about; if it really is super extreme, you can and should lay down some ground rules.
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#7 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 09:57 AM
 
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I think you just described my children and my life. Do we know each other?

We do live a very simple life; it's by choice. I tend to agree with Marylizah, perhaps you feel as thought their choices are an implicit judgement of your own. I stayed home for 8 years, we lived on a teacher's salary with four kids. It was more important for me to be home than it was to have a television, cable, nice cars, etc. I don't judge what other people do, though, I just do something different.

We eat gluten free, which for some of my kids is unnecessary. Only one of my boys has celiac disease. So, when we're out and about my kids do eat "ravenously" though I encourage them to use best manners and kindness.

One other thing: my husband and I are both college educated with advanced degrees. If we chose to, we could make triple what we do now. I don't feel that it would make me any more comfortable in my skin or anymore loving a mother to have more stuff, more bills, more money.

Try to be gentler in your judgement of people who choose to live differently than you do. If the food thing bothers you, maybe you can ask the parents to monitor what the kids eat at your home.
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#8 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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Well, here's another side of the coin... We are reasonably well off. We don't buy many toys for our kids, but the in-laws, etc buy lots (apparently because they think we're somehow neglecting our kids because they don't have the piles of toys that their cousin has). Our kids don't have many toys (although our living room is still full of them) because they don't really play with the toys we've got. They'd rather carry around the broom or play with my pots and pans than play with the plastic junk that my in-laws buy us. In fact, my kids pretty much ignore the pile of toys they have.... however, when we go to *anyone* else's house, the kids go nuts with the other kids toys. Why? The novelty of it. The kids like their own toys for 3-5 days and then they go in the pile and are ignored. : So, maybe it's not so much that these kids are deprived than that the novelty of SOMEONE ELSES toys just is much more enjoyable than their own. Trust me, even on a very limited budget it's not hard to get toys - there's freecycle, craigslist, garage sales... you can get a huge pile of toys for hardly any cash, but if the kids play with them for a week at the most, what's the point? My son played with our vacuum cleaner for a year straight. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. There's not a single toy in our house that has been played with even half that much.

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#9 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 10:39 AM
 
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On the food issue -which seems most to upset you- maybe they eat so differently at home that when they are over they over indulge because your food is more children "friendly" or "excotic" to them. And if they are struggling w/buying food don't you think your friends would choose to do something different and provide for them kids. What i am trying to say is unless thye are really bad parents (but it doesn't sound to me like they are- I actually envy what they are doing and aspire to be more like that) I think they know what is best for thier dc. If the way the children act at your house is such a problem why not try talking to them about THAT issue.

I know my children can be simular in new/not home places espically w/toys we don't have. My children are very very hands on and active- they can be really overwhelming to others that are not used to them.

But from what you described I'd say its more an issue w/them and what you previce as them doing something different or "wrong". To each their own, try not to judge (I am sure there are those that judge things that you do that are "different" IRL) and look at them w/honest open eyes at the things you like about their life style.
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#10 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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We have plenty of money and still live very simply by choice. My dds never complain (honestly, never!) about our not having a TV in the house, but the younger one just loves to watch it when away from home. That's ok with us. (My older one frequently reads her book right in front of the TV -- she's totally not addicted to it.)

Our girls are certainly not underfed, either (and nobody would think they were too thin), but they love to eat at other people's houses and usually eat too much if I don't caution them to have good manners. I think it's just the novelty more than anything, but surely some people must think I haven't fed them for a week.

That said, I did once know some people whose nutritional choices were very strict (vegan, lowfat, etc.), and their kids really were hungry because they needed more fat and protein in their diets than the adults. If you are concerned that this is the case, it may be worth gently bringing up to the parents. Some parents do struggle with managing their own dietary choices and making sure that the children's needs are met within those choices.

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#11 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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Nothing wrong with living with less, I am going to make a point to not overwhelm our soon-to-arrive baby with too much stuff even though we will be able to afford a lot. I grew up without very much and I never felt neglected for it. I noticed as I got older that we didn't have as much stuff as others, but we had so much fun with what we did have, I very rarely felt even the hint of jealousy. Besides, my parents were the fun ones, everyone wanted to come to our house as my parents played with us and didn't mind rough-housing in the basement and whatnot. The only thing that gives me pause is them seeming so hungry, but it may just be that they are just overly curious about food they don't get at home.

A lot of families live above their means racking up debt like crazy and that to me is much more puzzling than living within or below your means.

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#12 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
I don't feel I am close enough to say anything and don't know if I would anyway. It is really none of my business that these folks are choosing how to raise their family, but I guess I wondered why they are choosing it? Are there certain values inherent in living a monastic life as a child? Why wouldn't you at least earn some $$$ so you can fix enough food? they are all terribly thin.

I just don't get it.
It really is none of your business. How do you know they have "almost no money"? Why do you think they are not fixing enough food? Some of my kids are "terribly thin" but they eat ravenously, both at home and when we're out. I certainly don't consider myself "terribly thin" but I'm far from fat and I also eat ravenously. It's just the way our bodies work. My kids do not have a lot of stuff. We have legos, blocks, and trains, that's pretty much it. When we go to friends houses, they absolutely love the battery operated plastic toys.. for about 15 minutes. Then they move on to the next one. The toys they have at home are endless and can be played with for hours. When my friends come to visit, their kids are very excited to see our toys. That's just how it goes.
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#13 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 11:16 AM
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We live pretty simply, but it sounds like the family you described is even more simple than our family. I have been trying forever to get my DH to get rid of our second car, and I finally succeeded in getting rid of the TV when we moved. We could easily afford a house, but we choose to rent a small condo instead. We will eventually get a house, I think, but I'm just in no rush. No one I know understands this one bit. For some reason, living in the US means that the second you have the money, or don't have the money in some cases, you get into the biggest house you can possibly finance.

My kids have a decent number of toys, but nothing like some of the families I've visited with. We don't put limits on books, and I spend as much as I feel I need to on food for our family to eat a good variety of healthy foods, and I try to buy local. I agree with PP that maybe you just have different food than they have and they really like it, and that your toys are different than theirs. Or maybe it's just plain bad manners and the family has not taught them that you don't gorge yourself on other people's food when you go to their house (I had friends like this growing up, and I don't think it had anythign to do with the parent's starving them).

Either way, it doesn't sound like anything they are doing is negligent or abusive, so it just boils down to how you perceive the choices they make. I am fully aware that my kids may have a lot of problems with the TV at other people's houses because we are TV free, but I hope that we will have some friends who are sensitive to it.
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#14 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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We are a family of six in a very small 2 bedroom house. Our neighbours in similar houses have one or no children and most move once they have one child. We are the nutters of our locality.

My ILs can't understand why we live this way. Many other people can't understand either and think that we must be very eccentric or have some terrible secret or something.

The truth is that I could send my children to daycare and get it paid for by teh state so that I could go to work full time. I could get a full time job and our lives would be easier financially but I don't want to go out to work. I hate going to work and I hate working pushing paper around pointlessly. I don't want my youngest to be in daycare and I home school my 6yo because school didn't suit her. My older children are in school.

I am NOT lazy. I have worked in the past and earned good money. My dh and I now run a business which is not yet making us £££££ because we are paying dh's 10 year old debts from the business profits. We cannot afford to employ anyone to do the work that we do between us so in fact I am doing a lot of work at home during the day and late into the evening to keep the business running smoothly.

Things are hard right now but they will not be this way forever. I have hope that there will be a time when things are less of a struggle but I also believe that once we have money to spare we won't all of a sudden join the mainstream consumer society that exists around us.

I think my SIL feels the same way about us that you feel about this family you have described. She judges me for not working when I could be.She doesn't like telling dh about holidays she has been on because she feels bad that we haven't had a holiday.

For my part I judge her and feel sorry that she feels that she needs to work full time and be apart from her 3yo for such a long time each day just to pay for material things and 2 holidays abroad each year.

People choose to live differently and each of us lives with the consequences of our choices. Whether or not this is good for my children is my business not anyone else's. I look at my children and I see their frustration at not always having what everyone else has in terms of material stuff but I also know that they have an understanding that the possession of stuff is not necessary for happiness which is a lesson that many adults in our society could do with taking on board. If as adults they tell me that they hated their childhood I will have to take responsibility for that too.
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#15 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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Are they actually hungry or do you just have snacks that they don't get at their house. It may be simply you have different kinds of food and kids react crazy to that.
my kids do this when they go to my friends house. She has so many sugar filled sweets and convenience goodies that they want it all. She knows me well so she knows I feed them but we don't have "those" kinds of snacks so my kids go ape. Other than that they just has different priorities I see nothing strange about it.
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#16 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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You might be talking about my family but I only have 1 child so I guess not. DD has a wide selection of good food to eat at all times. Yet when we go visiting she acts like I have not fed her all day. Usually other people have different food than what we happen to have that day. She wants to try everything out and at 4 does not understand that not everyone wants to feed her. I always have something to eat with us when we visit, if you don't want her to eat your food don't have your food sitting out.
Maybe you could bring this up with the parents, maybe their kids could make cookies to bring to your kids for snack time. Are they coming over uninvited ? Maybe this is an issue, they need to ask permission before they come.
Yes my DD could be called thin, we are thin people and she is like that. She does eat, LOTS.
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#17 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
I just wanted to comment on the OP's question about why she has such a visceral reaction to the lifestyle choices of these people.

In my experience, I react the most to other people when I feel like their actions / words are an implicit judgment of me and of my choices. So maybe seeing their simplified lifestyle makes you wonder if you consume too much stuff, which in turn makes you feel like you are being judged and found lacking.

I think it's really important to remember, in situations like these, that we are not actually being judged; that what's right for one family isn't right for another. This family probably doesn't give a second thought to your lifestyle-- so maybe focusing on that can help you manage your reaction to their lifestyle.

such wise words. they really resonate with some feelings of judgment i've been dealing with (feeling defensive and angry about some choices and comments a dear friend has made). Thanks!
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#18 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
This family (3 children ages 11, 9 & 5) have one parent work and have almost no $. The sahp could work and is educated (quit a 6 figure job to stay at home), but stays at home instead (the children are all in school). They have no computer, no tv, some toys (mostly books), one car (they bike a lot), one tele, and etc. I guess the biggest part that makes me furious is that whenever the children come to my house (which is a lot) they are ravenous for everything, including food. I don't think the parents actually neglect them nutritionally, but I think they could be a little more generous in thier food preperations. It is actually difficult being their friend sometimes as I have to really kind of corral them in their frenzy to touch every toy and eat every thing.
The bolded part sounds to me like a wonderful way to raise children. However, the food thing might worry me. If they can't afford to eat, that's a problem, IMO. But if they're just feeding them, say, exceptionally healthy yet boring food, I can see why the kids would want to eat different food at your house.

I really don't think you should say anything at all. Seriously, it sounds like they've made choices about how they want to raise their kids which are different from the norm but not in any way harmful (unless, as I said, the kids aren't eating well)

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#19 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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It could just be that the OP has different food at her home than the children are used to. We don't have a lot of processed foods, sweets, etc. at our house. However, we made a choice that we weren't going to fight it when we are out. So when my kids hit coffee hour at church, they probably look like they haven't had a good meal in weeks when, in fact, they're just pigging out on stuff they don't usually get. I hope it doesn't make anyone "furious".

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#20 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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What is wrong with not having a lot of stuff? Most things people buy will end up in a land fill or polluting our environment in some other way. Everything we buy also takes resources. We live pretty simply too and I think it IS valuable to teach my children that their lives don't need a lot of stuff to be full. I'm not trying to raise another generation of capitalist super-consumers that use precious resources from the other side of the world to make/buy crap that will break and be thrown away in a year. I want my children to be conscious of where things come from and know how to survive without a lot of money and material possessions. ITA with the point that you probably feel judged by their lifestyle and that's why you experience this reaction.

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#21 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I guess I just see these more as behavior issues than anything to do with the family's chosen lifestyle. OP, do you set limits such as "Kids, you need to ask before getting a snack. It's not our snack time right now." or "Hey, let's get the playroom picked up before you need to go home."?

I have 3 kids and we have had a few kids come over who are what I call "dumpers". They come in and basically dump out everything in the family room within 10 min of being there. And these are kids who have plenty of their own things. As for food, my neighbor's kids used to come over and just start helping themselves. I just have to keep giving reminders about picking up and not going in the fridge at someone else's house.
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#22 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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We have a TV with a VHS player (we have a PRECIOUS stash of VHS tapes, all the old school "good" movies we can't wait for DD to watch) but no cable...we're not "toy" people, either. DD gets a kick out of chasing newts around the yard and giggling and squealing with our doggies...most of her favorite toys are cups and bowls and wooden spoons stolen from my kitchen...pots and pans are a big deal too, pots and pans and a cup full of water and she's GOLDEN! We have TONS of books for her and even at just 16 mos, she'll sit and look at them for ages, babbling to herself, switching books around, etc. She likes sticks...when we moved and got all new appliances, the hobo tent she made out of the refrigerator box was a huge hit. Thats just kids though...there are a few toys I want her to have eventually...a leaf press and some good nets and jars, maybe a science kit...she TOTALLY wants a baby doll right now, she's nuts about them...so we'll find a good one and give it to her around the time this baby in me is due to come out. I want her to have a bike for sure and maybe a really great doll house if she's into it...dress up stuff is a must, etc...all in it's time I suppose...she'll grow bigger and tell us what she likes...but we'll never have piles of toys hanging around in the house, no plastic junk piles. I think that's valid, that choice. Children with fewer things tend to treat their things better, IMO..that's how it was for me growing up.

As for food...when we go some place where kids eat more "kiddie style" food, DD GOBBLES it down. She gobbles at home, too, she just likes to eat....but man, there is something about a hot dog and some chips that kids just love, eh? I let her get her fill because we just don't have stuff like that around the house and I remember as a kid loving to go places where people had junk food, etc...

It sounds like these people have made the decision to live simply...we do too. We don't buy "stuff"....instead, we scrimped and saved and now have bought our dream house in the country. In our opinion, this beautiful acreage, millions of trees, animals everywhere and awesome lake are the best gift we can give our kids...there is PEACE here and quiet, safe places for her to make believe outside...I don't think Fisher Price makes peace yet, or huge yards with no cars going past! In OUR opinion, TV is a terrible waste of time, most toys are really just cheap thrills and people *really don't* need as much food as most Americans eat these days.

I don't know...maybe another poster is right, maybe their lifestyle choice feels like a judgement on YOUR lifestyle choices...but then, maybe YOUR lifestyle choices are a judgement against THEIRS? Why do your kids have more stuff than theirs? Because you think they SHOULD...right? It's all in the way you look at it.

It's okay for people to live differently...if you are worried about an actual nutritional issue, that's one thing....but really, the true test of whether their parenting style is okay or not, lies in whether or not these kids are really happy or not...and frankly, from where you're standing, I just don't see how you're the best judge of that, ykwim?

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#23 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So lots of good posts here.

I actually don't see an issue with living simply. I do not "have a gaming system, drink soda, watch Disney, and wear everything Hanna Montana" either. In fact we do none of these things. I would classify us as living outside the mainstream too. I can see where I could simplify my life if I chose to, but I don't really wnat to simplify anymore than I already have. That is why I don't understand my visceral reaction. I am a live or let live type person.

I don't really feel judged by them although I do have a tendency to seek approval from people. Maybe there is something there.

I guess too I am being overly judgy on being 'to thin'. I know that is just how some folks are. Too explain a little further I do see some issues popping up with one of the kids and so maybe that is were my real concern lies and I have mixed up some of my thoughts. I know the deal with eating at someone elses house, and also the playing with others toys, I get that this can lead to frenzy behavior with any child. ONe of the children in particular though seems more ravenous, like she will actually take food out of someone elses hands to eat their food and will eat, eat, eat anything that is given and ask for more continouusly. I see this as deprivation and wonder why someone would choose to do this to thier child. Like buy some cheese and let the child eat for goodness sake. I have no idea if they use WIC or foodstamps or anything like that. My point is that they are choosing to deprive their children. They could if they chose too, do more.

I know they have little money because it is often the topic of conversation, like how we are sacrificing everything now type thing. I do not ask questions, these subjects are offered up.

I don't think no tv and few toys are deprivation. I can't seem to wrap my head around why someone would not allow their children more but I came from a family who had very little in the way of material goods and so I operate from always wanting more than I had. Like I said I just don't get it.

All in all everyones posts have made me see that maybe thier choices aren't that far off and that I just don't knwo that many folks making these choices. Except for the food I guess thier lifestyle could be considered normal and it is I who have some inner exploring to do....

Can't wait to read more.
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#24 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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I guess I just see these more as behavior issues than anything to do with the family's chosen lifestyle. OP, do you set limits such as "Kids, you need to ask before getting a snack. It's not our snack time right now." or "Hey, let's get the playroom picked up before you need to go home."?

I have 3 kids and we have had a few kids come over who are what I call "dumpers". They come in and basically dump out everything in the family room within 10 min of being there. And these are kids who have plenty of their own things. As for food, my neighbor's kids used to come over and just start helping themselves. I just have to keep giving reminders about picking up and not going in the fridge at someone else's house.

Holy SMOKES! I would go BANANAS if some neighbor kid was helping himself...I don't even want to THINK about what I'd do if my own child did that...geeezzz! My mom would have skinned me alive if she had heard I did such a thing!!

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#25 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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i know my kids eat like they are starving when they go over to other peoples houses. it is not that they do not get much to eat here (they have plenty) what they don't get is processed food, meat, dairy or eggs......so when you give them that they go nuts. if you fed them beans and rice they would eat a normal portion at a normal pace and say thanks and go play....

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#26 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OH and one more thing. I actually don't care that these children eat our food. I am happy to provide them whatever they want. Some of it is maybe more child friendly than not but most is your standard whole food, non preservative choices like fruits and veggies (striaight from the garden), milk, cheese, bagels, etc...

Half the time I would like to send them home with a sack lunch but I knwo theire mom will make them throw it away - like cheese sticks and pistachios where once returned to me as the children where asking to eat them Their mom was like, no you can't have it - then to me - you can take this home we won't eat it????
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#27 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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OH and one more thing. I actually don't care that these children eat our food. I am happy to provide them whatever they want. Some of it is maybe more child friendly than not but most is your standard whole food, non preservative choices like fruits and veggies (striaight from the garden), milk, cheese, bagels, etc...

Half the time I would like to send them home with a sack lunch but I knwo theire mom will make them throw it away - like cheese sticks and pistachios where once returned to me as the children where asking to eat them Their mom was like, no you can't have it - then to me - you can take this home we won't eat it????
Ummm, I'm saying this, honestly, SO gently....bolded =

I would be SO insulted if I felt like you were trying to send my kids back to me with "food for later"...like I was starving them or needed charity from you in order to properly nourish them...I would say something to you about it, maybe after posting on MDC about how my friend seems to secretly think I'm starving my kids and "can you believe she would honestly try to send them back home with food, as if I'm really not feeding them!" - can you imagine the responses a post like that would get here??

This poor woman may be picking up on your disaproving vibes...it may or may not be hurting her feelings...but I'd be shocked if she didn't pick up on the fact that you think her parenting style deprives her children of the "basics".

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#28 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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Have you broached this with the mom? Have you said to her "i'm a bit concerned about how thin and hungry your DD always seems, do you think she's ok?"?
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#29 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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This is bringing back so many memories. Did anyone else grow up in a house like this, because I sure did. I have a vivid memory of visiting another little girl after school when I was in second grade. Her mother had made a whole plate of rice crispie squares, which I loved but we never had food like that at home, I just shoved mine down as fast as possible hoping that the mom would offer me another. I remember seeing on her face that she was on to me, and she put the plate away. I also ate all kinds of gross things like toothpaste, baking supplies, those fruits that go in fruitcake. After I left home, I ate two candy bars a day for years just because I could, and I'm still a little weird about food-always wanting to know how much and what type of food is available.

For the OP, I think you could could take a couple different actions that might help you feel better about the situation. If the other mom is a woman you feel comfortable with, you could just talk to her openly and honestly-it sounds like maybe there are concerns and resentments on both sides. Talking about it might help you get a fresh start, but it is always possible that that conversation could result in you not being friends anymore.

The more cautious approach would be to just start meeting on neutral ground at a park or playground, where the food and toys in your house won't be such an issue.

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#30 of 155 Old 10-07-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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I admire people who can live so simply and not be caught up in this very American desire to constantly consume. It is not good for our pysche, the environment, or our kids.

I think it teaches us to never be happy with what we have, We constantly crave more stuff, or desire other people's stuff. We are so busy wanting we often don't realize what we already have.

We are hardly simple living pioneers or anything but you should see the reaction we get when we tell people we only have one TV. "But, what do you do in bed at night?" Well, we sleep or read or fool around.

But, we simply stopped buying stuff last year with the exception of books and music. We are much happier, much less cluttered, and have more money to save for something we really want-a house somewhere remote.
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