Tonight I came across notebook my daughter had been writing in throughout the day and one page said, “Why do mommies and daddies have to fight? Why do we have to be so broke and not have money to do things? I don’t understand.”
This broke my heart.
We had a bit of a day when, what was supposed to be a quick trip to Publix turned into a forced outing. My wife had asked me to grab a few things so I asked my daughter, Maddie, if she’d like to go and maybe make a few other stops just to get out of the house. She suggested shopping with her newly acquired babysitting money and I said, sure, but to ask her mom to join us if she’d like.
We asked. She didn’t want to go. She went anyway. The day pretty much went downhill from there.
I won’t get into details because there’s just too much backstory to get the full picture as to why our dynamic is what it is, but we shopped and had fun(ish) with just a few minor aggravations. To an 11 year old though, those minor moments are her whole world and that’s easy to forget.
As parents, it’s easy to throw your problems around at each other because you know the other can take it. You know your spouse is IN on why there’s a problem, even if there should’t be one. But when you do that in front of your child, they just see the argument. They don’t see that you’ve made a conscious decision to trade money to do things for time with them. They don’t see that while mommy and daddy are mad right now, they talk about it later and make up. They just see struggle.
Today I’m bringing awareness to myself and to you — if you have kids, be conscious of what you say in front of them. Be aware of the image you’re portraying as to what marriage, life, finances, etc… look like. Remember their limited view of those topics and edit and educate so they make better decisions than you have. Let them be little, but also prepare them to be big someday. It’s your job. It’s my job. It’s THE job.