Today is the first day of school for my two youngest children, Hannah, 13, and Matthew, 10. I took the day off as I usually do on the first day of school so that I can get them ready, make them breakfast and have cupcakes and cookies waiting for them when they get home. It's our little tradition and I love it. It makes me feel like a "real mom" to be able to bring them to the bus and be waiting for them when they get home so that I can hear all about their first day.
This year, it also gave me some perspective on what a wonderful blessing this blog has been, not only for me, but for my family as well. How? Well, being a working mom, I don't always get the benefit of bearing witness to "bus stop talk," those unguarded moments when my kids just chatter with their peers about whatever is on their mind.
This morning, I came to realize that "Mom vs. Debt" has had quite an impact on my kids. I smiled as I listened, saying nothing.
All of the girls at the bus stop were comparing all of their new clothes, backpacks and sneakers. Compliments were sincerely tossed around and then came the tales of shopping and who paid what for which item. It seemed as though they all shopped at the same store; the most popular store for their age group and also the most expensive. Hannah listened intently as her friend "Courtney" bragged about how she had paid $49.50 for one tank top that she was wearing under her $39 plaid shirt. "It's all lace and so worth the price," she said. I watched Hannah's face as she replied to her friend that she looked "so pretty." The other girl at the bus stop, "Julia" bragged that her Mom wanted to scream because the sneakers that she picked out were $110. "I love them!" Hannah enthusiastically replied. No envy there. Good.
Finally, the girls turned to Hannah and told her that she had the best outfit out of all of them. Hannah thanked them and then casually gave them what they were waiting for. "I shopped the sale rack and had a thirty percent off coupon, so I only paid $5 for this shirt. I got the jeans on the fifty percent off rack and with the coupon I got three pairs for $30." She then went on to tell them about all of the other outfits that she got (at the same store that they shopped at) and the $90 she had left over that she is saving for when all of the full-price stuff went on sale next. "I refused to pay over $15 for anything. It just seemed wasteful to me".
The looks on their faces were priceless. Although she didn't mean to make them feel bad, they felt not-so-smart and even said so. I wanted to cheer a big fat "THAT'S MY GIRL"! But instead I said nothing and smiled. She had said it all.