Raising Spouses

Elle asked me the other day if she could have a fireplace in her new bedroom if we build a house.

I answered with a NO.

I continued, “Even if I could afford it, I wouldn’t do it.”

Elle was surprised that it wasn’t about money for me and asked me why she couldn’t have a fireplace.

I responded, “I have an obligation to your future husband.”

I went on to explain that I have an obligation to her future roommates, her future husband, and her future self not to create a monster– to not create someone who is entitled, spoiled, or expecting. Someone who has lived such a high life that anything else is a step down. If she has a fireplace in her bedroom as a tween, how is she going to handle a college dorm room?

If Chad and I provide everything and more for Elle, she may expect her husband to provide everything for her too. I don’t want Elle to be a spoiled girl that goes into marriage with a regular guy and then is bummed when hubby can’t afford what daddy could.

If she and her hubby, working together, can only afford a little one bedroom apartment with hand-me-down furniture, I don’t want her to be let down with her life. I want her to be happy with any space that is theirs together. And then if a walk-in closet or a new couch or a fireplace in the bedroom should eventually come along, through their hard work, I want her to be stoked. I don’t want her to expect these items as if everyone has them because she’s always had them.

I also don’t want my kids to go to college and not know how to share a bathroom or a bedroom or closest space with roommates. Elle does have her own room, but it doubles as the guest room, and every night a different sibling is in bed with her. She does have a walk in closest too, but I store lots of the guest items in there so it’s not all her space. Also, she and her sister share toys and closet space, and I force them in the same room occasionally so they can learn to live with another potentially annoying human being.

Along these same lines, my daughters will not know pedicures, manicures, tanning, waxing and hair color paid for by me either. I don’t believe in funding luxuries that don’t develop character. I’ll pay for a camp or a class or an experience, but I won’t fund aesthetics.

Again, this is something I want them to work for and look forward to. I got my hair colored for the first time when I was 25 and I could pay for it with my own money. I had a college degree, a real job, and my own money in the bank. My girls may choose to spend their personal money on grooming and I may take them for a special trip here or there, but beauty will not be a regular thing that I fund.  They can pay for the perks themselves when they can afford it.

Afterall, I am thinking about their future.  I want their lives to increase in opportunity, privileges, luxuries, etc. as they grow, not decrease. I would much rather have them add on to what they know, then have to have them scale back their lifestyle as they move to adulthood.

Don’t worry fellow feminists. I have the same expectation with my sons. I won’t fund their luxuries either, although I am not sure what that looks like for boys? Right now that just means that Crew buys all his own gas station treats and video games.

As I raise my boys, I raise them with their future wives and roommates in mind as well. My boys share a room and a closet so they are getting practice every day in give and take. But they also help with dishes, put away their own laundry, clean bathrooms, cook meals, etc. because I want them to be competent individuals and good, helpful partners too.  I don’t want to create monster husbands either.

With my daughters and my sons, I believe that I’m not just raising lemons, I’m raising future spouses as well. Meanwhile, Chad and I will be drawing up plans for a fireplace in our bedroom.

4 kids


7 thoughts on “Raising Spouses”

  1. Once again you put words to my thoughts!

    “I don’t believe in funding luxuries that don’t develop character.”
    loved this so much!

  2. very interesting post. i really admire your stand… and yet it is foreign to me (personally). i have (personally) always strived to give my children whatever they have asked for, but onlyl after a serious (and often weeks-long) discussion of where else the money could go and is that the best use of it. having grown up in a (series of) household(s) where almost nothing new or novel was a possibility, i feel compelled to at least entertain such ideas until they can be rationalized into or out of existence.

    having said all of that, i do loooove your direct approach of answering requests. and all the things you say are sooo spot on.

    xoxo, buf

  3. Excellent post. I often worry about the kids of this generation and their sense of entitlement. I think a lot of parents want to make up for what they didn’t get to have as kids. I just saw some FB pics of a college apartment belonging to a friend’s daughter. I’d say it’s decor is better than my own home (and I’m not living with second-hand stuff). I think the key, as with EVERYTHING, is balance. Just not always easy to achieve.

  4. This is exactly how I feel, but I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. Thank you for putting words to my thoughts! Your timing is impeccable and your message gives me confidence to stand my ground…with a better understanding of what ground I’m standing on!

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