Yesterday, Sonya (9) and Viv (5) were talking about toys. Viv said she wished we had more. (Side note: More? I can’t walk from one side of the living room to the other without wading through old stuffed animals and stepping on LEGO pieces. MORE?). Then, Sonya interjected.
Sonya: “Okay, but do you want more stuff or do you want to go to Paris again?”
Viv: “I want both.”
Sonya: “We can’t have both. You have to choose. We can spend money on toys or we can spend money to go to Paris.”
She’s not exactly right, we aren’t going to Paris again anytime soon (last year, we travel hacked to Ukraine and had a 12-hour layover in Paris, which was like the worst day of my life but the best day of the kids’ lives, so that’s how we “went to Paris”), although I’m hoping to repeat our trip in two years.
But she is exactly right in that everything is a trade-off. Maybe Sonya has been listening to Paula Pant on my podcasts saying, “you can afford anything, but you can’t afford everything.” Maybe all those times that she says “can we go out to eat” and I say “yes, but you’ll have to quit one of your activities” has sunk in. Life lessons: we have them in spades around here.
I worry a little that I’m overly focused on money with the kids – I hear other people say “we never talked about money in my house,” and in our house, it might be too prevalent in our discussions. But today, I feel pretty good that, at the very least, in their heads, money is neither taken for granted nor seen as an impossible scarcity; it’s a tool for making the choices to live the kind of life you want.