A note from Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor: I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Empowering Parents community. Jennie Wallace is a mom of three and a writer whose articles on parenting, family and cultural issues have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple and other national publications. We were happy to learn that she’s been a fan of EP for some time. Read on to learn more, and look for Jennie’s blogs regularly in the weeks ahead. Welcome to the community, Jennie! We’re all looking forward to talking with you on EP.
“Coincidences mean you’re on the right path,” writes author Simon Van Booy. That couldn’t be more true of my new involvement with Empowering Parents. For years, I’ve been a reader, subscriber and a huge fan of the website, both as a researcher and even more so as a parent. A couple of months ago, I had the good fortune to coincidentally meet some of the people who created the site. I’m so excited to be working alongside the very people I’ve looked to for parenting advice over the years. It makes me think I’m definitely on the right path.
The first thing you should know about me is that I’m not a parenting expert. I’m a mom with three wonderful children, ages 9, 7 and 4. My husband and I are working hard to raise them to be kind, respectful, resilient, and independent. We get stuck sometimes and that’s when I turn to Empowering Parents. I believe as a parent, when you know better, you do better. Empowering Parents gives parents like me the wisdom to know better and the tools to do better.
Speaking of wisdom and tools, Debbie Pincus has written a terrific article for you this week about the money we spend on our children and the feelings it elicits in us. Why do we get resentful when our children ask for more than we think they should? And why do we feel guilty saying “no,” even when we know in our hearts and minds that they shouldn’t get everything they want? How much is enough? That’s a question that hit home for me this week.
The holiday season officially kicked off in our house as my son William fished out the first holiday toy catalog from our recycling bin. He and his siblings sat down at the kitchen table and circled all the toys they’ll ask Santa to bring this Christmas. Over the years, they’ve perfected their system. Instead of going toy-by-toy like in the past, I’ve noticed they now circle entire catalog pages and just initial the tops. At least they’re efficient, I tell myself. “Santa” doesn’t have a whole lot of guilt not delivering on all their holiday wishes. But, how will I feel when they’re older and they realize Santa is me, and this Santa sets limits they sometimes don’t like?
Do you ever feel guilty for not buying your children what they want…and then feel guilty that you’re feeling guilty about it?
Jennifer is freelance writer for The Wall Street Journal and several national magazines. Earlier in her career, she was a journalist for “60 Minutes.” She lives in New York with her husband and their three children, ages 9, 7 and 4. You can read her other work at www.JenniferBWallace.com.