Thanks, Mom

This morning’s New York Times headline, “To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without” gives new meaning to the word “Duh.” 

The article alerts us to this year’s surprising holiday retail phenomenon that today’s moms “weathering the first severe economic downturn of their adult lives,…are discovering that a practice they once indulged without thinking about it, shopping a bit for themselves at the holidays, has to give way to their children’s wishes.” 

I beg to differ. Not that moms are still bingeing or treating themselves, but that this is news at all. Women have been sacrificing for their kids forever and even with the ups and downs of recent years, most moms are the vigilante momma bears protecting the kids’ happiness and the family wallet before indulging themselves.  

Who doesn’t remember growing up wearing some cute matching outfit while mom made do with last year’s style? Sure, there are wealthy moms who may seem to deny themselves nothing while catering to their kid’s every wish, but over the past several years of interviewing and listening to thousands of moms, what we’ve seen is that the mom sacrifice doesn’t start at the holidays nor end at the toy phase. And even well-off mothers are turning more frugal. 

Moms scrap their relocation/promotion plans so that their kids can stay close to their school and friends. Moms delay retirement so they can afford to pay for college and even support their 20something children’s return to the nest. Look at the new or used cars that are bought–bet the few that move this season are for teens, not Mom. Look at who gets the new Blackberry Storm while Mom pecks away at her old cell.  

Moms, (and I might add personally after a quick shopping trip to Saks for my goddaughter’s 21st where I bypassed the gorgeous markdowns for me while sorting through the perfect bag for her) cool aunts and grandmothers, are trying to keep the wheels on this careening economy without the ability to print money to bail themselves out. 

Moms, as they have every year, will make the best of the season they’ve been dealt so that perhaps their kids will grow up with memories they’ll repeat for their own kids. That’s not news. It’s everyday life we can all be thankful for. 

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June 14, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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