The End of Entitlement: Our Twin Family Experience

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Always tending toward lifechange x 2, my husband and I recently made an involuntary exodus from gainful employment to the land of lost jobs.

In truth, we feel highly optimistic about our prospects (“First one to get a job with benefits wins!”), and appreciate the fact we are being forced to actually walk our aspirational talk.

For years, Scott and I have bemoaned the societal trend of maximum expectation for minimum (if any) effort. [e.g. “I’ve got my degree, I should have a higher-paying gig.” “I exercised for 10 minutes, why are my thighs still big?” “I was on the last place team, and look at my trophy!”]

With frugality now at the fore, I realize how some of my previous parenting practices unknowingly nurtured that instinct for immediate gratification with our twins.

After reading an iVillage piece by renowned parenting expert and educational psychologist Dr. Michele Borba, with tips on talking about the presently challenging economic times with children, here were my thoughts:

Our twins are seven; and while we certainly wish to retain their innocence as long as wisely feasible, we feel they — much like we — have much to learn about fiscal responsibility and the value of indulgences we’ve previously (and embarrassingly) taken for granted.

A three+ year freelance gig for me evaporated in December with the proliferation of corporate bankruptcies; and last Friday, my husband’s nearly 15 years of employment at Circuit City drew to a close.

Never for one minute did we contemplate “not telling” our children the truth.

We won’t be going out to eat so much. We won’t be buying books impromptu with every visit to Barnes & Noble. We will think twice about “unnecessary” expenditures — budget streamlining we could have – and probably should have – done before. As a result, we think we’ll be teaching our children the import of hard work, prioritization skills and the all-too-often overlooked”treat” aspect of so many purchases/outings previously perceived as the norm.

We are not fearful, and have voiced that truth frequently to our children. There ARE jobs to be had, and while they may not pay what we were accustomed to, they will help us make ends meet until the “right” gig(s) comes along.

Perhaps I sound in denial, or worse, delusional, but there are facets of our current situation for which I am extraordinarily grateful. Windows for re-defining entertainment and family time have availed themselves already, and I am confident we’ll have a clearer, healthier perspective for the temporary challenge.

Is your family confronting economic shift? Have tips, ideas or thoughts to share? Please leave a comment!
cross-posted from our family blog, Twinfatuation

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