Materialism Mummy

By Dr Leanna Lindsey Hollis

After 12 hours in the emergency room, I groaned as I reported to the doctor taking my place.  “Why are we doing this crazy job?”

He laughed. “I don’t know about you, but I am working so I can buy anything I want.”

Money was not the reason I chose medicine as a profession, but it was definitely one of the perks. As the years went by, I accumulated a farm, expensive furniture and a sports car. I had lots of toys but no time to play with them. Then I married and had a son; my priorities began to change.

From the time our son, Ryan, was born, family and friends showered him with gifts. Our house quickly filled with toys and, before long, Ryan thought he should have everything he wanted. 

Soon I realised that others weren’t the only ones feeding Ryan’s frenzy for stuff.  I, too, bought anything Ryan or I wanted; I was the ultimate materialism mummy.

A shopping fast

I wanted to make adjustments, but I had little success ... until I heard about going on a shopping fast.  I would abstain from eating out and buying new clothes. Change had to come first in my heart before our home and son would be different. The shopping fast shifted my attention away from stuff to more important things. 

A heart change

As my husband and I looked at dealing with our finances, we talked about what needed to change in our lives.  We explained to our son how much work was required to earn the money we needed, and we translated that into my hours away from home.  When Ryan realised that spending less meant his mummy could be home with him more, he began to be more enthusiastic about cutting corners. 

The changes were gradual and not always easy, but they began with changes in my heart and the example I set. Ten years later, I left my medical practice to pursue a simpler lifestyle. I walked away from what most people considered a gold mine. As for our son, Ryan is no longer the child who wants everything.

Do you want your children to have a good perspective on stuff? Begin now.

1.Check your heart. Children mimic what they see at home. Examine your attitude to money and possessions.
2. Make giving and donating a way of life.
3. Make a budget. Include your children in the planning. Show them how your money is spent, and ask for their help to find ways to trim expenses.
4. Model good attitudes. If you desires exceed what is appropriate, call it greed and cut back.
5. Talk to your children. Include your children in decision-making process. Admit your mistakes and make changes.
6. Look for non-monetary rewards. Spend time with your children. Take advantage of free and low-cost entertainment. Picnics, board games and walks in the park are all activities to enjoy at little or no expense.
7. Ask for help. Excellent resources are available to help you become fiscally responsible.

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