I have had an interesting chat with the EFG over the washing up tonight so I thought I would share our musings whilst all the photos load for the French stick post on the laptop.
The EFG has noticed that we have acquaintances who drink, sometimes quite a lot. She can't understand why they feel the need! Neither can I, but then I was talking to her about some of the other things that they do, and whilst this might seem like we were having a bitching session, we weren't. The outcome of the conversation was education for her, and helped me to realise what a mature young lady she has become.
People whose lives aren't perfect [whose is?] perhaps feel the need to escape from everyday life, and I hear that in the comments that one lady makes about needing "a night off" or to "let her hair down". The EFG asked me why I didn't go to an evening with these ladies when I was invited several months ago, and I told her that I didn't want to go to get drunk, and that it would be uncomfortable to spend the evening with them when they were drinking beer and cider, when I would be drinking tea or lemonade. I am not happy in that sort of environment at all, not when the sole purpose of the evening is to get drunk, it seems.
Several of the ladies leave their small children with other people, which I can totally understand on one level. When I needed to go to the doctor's, for example, or the dentist, perhaps, I would also take advantage of a friend's offer to watch my young children when it would be awkward to take them along with me. I looked after my friend's youngsters in those years when she needed to go somewhere too - it was a reciprocal arrangement which suited both of us. But these ladies are doing it all the time, to get a break from their own children, and that I don't understand. At my end of the childrearing timeline, I am realising that my time with my children is all too short, and I regret any time spent apart from them!!
One of the EFG's friends has been left at home for the weekend with his father, who works shifts locally. His mother has gone away for a few days, and the friend himself doesn't seem too bothered about his mother's absence, but he does seem lacking in company, whilst his father is either asleep or at work. This has bothered the EFG badly tonight, probably more than it bothers the lad himself, and she has said to me, "You wouldn't do that to us, would you?" Perhaps it is because she has been used to a near constant presence. I'm not saying that this is wrong, but it is different from what our family is used to, and it has revealed to me how the EFG feels about me being available to her at home. She obviously appreciates that.
These days, it seems that people's expectations in life are different, and not altogether realistic, I believe. We seem to have raised a generation of people who need rewarding for getting through everyday life, for managing the ups and downs of daily activities, and who need to escape from the reality which is life. The L'Oreal catchphrase from the adverts, "Because you're worth it" seems to have become a mantra in today's straightened times for justifying expenses which are not necessary.
And herein appears to me to lay a way into debt. Families who need constant treats to get through daily life are not, in my mind, being realistic about life. Temptations to pay for these treats and rewards on credit must be huge!
Staying out of debt, or getting out of debt, does require a strong mind, and a determined one. Ilona at Life after Money and Frugal Queen are both fine examples of this - and we could all take leaves out of their books. I think that they are up there with Amy Dacyzycyn in the black belt of frugality, and I am a long way behind them, but I am heading in the right direction most of the time....
Amy D shares a story about treats in one of her books: she takes her children to the mall because they have to pick up one gift for someone's birthday [yard sale season hasn't got going yet and she needs to buy one gift for one of her six children] so to distract the six children whilst her husband sneaks off to the car with the gift, she takes them into an ice cream shop and buys them all what she calls "junior cones" which sound pretty basic. The children are thrilled with them and sit and eat them in silence, really appreciating them. She believes that most parents would notice how much the children enjoy the cones and buy them more often, thereby reducing the impact on the children, and then the parents would have to buy more and more elaborate ice creams to keep the kids satisfied. Amy recommends keeping plenty of "space" around treats so that they are recognisable as treats and not everyday events. I think she has wise words to share there.
1 hour ago