Today I completely lost it. I yelled down my sweet 5 year old. Like, in-your-face-ugly-yelling. First thing in the morning, right before I dropped him off at school for the rest of the day. Not a good mom moment.
Now, I feel awful about it. But at the time, he was running late, he wasn't obeying and wouldn't wear the coat I asked him to. I was super tired and had a big day in front of me filled with things I didn't want to do, and no time for things I DID want to do.
And stuff like this keeps happening:
I KNOW childhood goes by too fast. I KNOW my children's tender feelings and our relationship are more important than getting to school on time or having a clean kitchen.
I KNOW this, so why do I often focus on other, less important things?
I think there are probably many reasons, and I'm not sure I've identified all of them, but sometimes I'm selfish. Sometimes I'm distracted. Also in our society, getting things done is celebrated over relationships, as is the appearance of our lives, rather than the substance. They are all over Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. I often feel like a failure if I have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Something tangible, something to feel proud of. Something to stoke MY ego.
But now I have a question for you:
Do you know what the difference is between a $1 cup of coffee at McDonalds, and a $4 cup at Starbucks?
There could be a few different answers, but a big one is perceived value. We are told that Starbucks coffee is better quality. (I don't know, I don't drink coffee, but when I looked it up, the internet seemed evenly split on taste tests.) Isn't that fascinating--two things, that are roughly the same, have a 300% difference in price, but people gladly pay extra because they perceive that Starbucks quality is superior, and it makes them feel hip and trendy.
Now, let's take that principle, and add another, by contrasting these watches:
A Casio watch is easy to find and easy to afford. You can buy them at Walmart for less than $15. What a bargain! But... they also break easily, the time is not very accurate, and they don't look that great.
A Rolex in contrast, is harder to find, and even more hard to afford. If you look at used watches, you will still be paying tens of thousands of dollars. And buying a new one? Forget about it! But a Rolex, as opposed to a Casio, has a much finer quality of steel and inner workings. They keep time exceptionally well. They are also made out of precious metals, often contain diamonds and other jewels, and are designed to last several lifetimes, instead of just a few years. There is a real difference between these two products. There is real, inherent value in the Rolex, that is missing in the Casio.
So now we are working with two principles: perceived value vs. inherent value.
Strangely, many times, companies will increase the price of a product if it is not selling well, because if it is inexpensive, it won't be valued properly. People won't want it, use it or take good care of it. The prestige of the brand goes down. If people perceive a product as "cheap", often we don't see it's inherent value. When we pay more for something, we tend to value it more. (Hence, Starbucks.)
Sometimes we want things fast, cheap and easy. Sometimes we are willing to pay for better quality. Sometimes we are willing to pay simply for the name of a product-it has power. It all lies in our perception and what we ultimately value.
So I have to ask myself: what is the perceived value of the things I fill my life with? What is the actual inherent value?
Obviously, there is a time and a place for most things. But I think I often skew the perceived value of things in my life. Too often, I spend too much time on things that matter too little. And every choice has a price.
What if Rolex watches suddenly only cost a dollar and you could buy them at Walmart? Would they be the status symbol that they are now? Something tells me that they wouldn't. Sadly, when a thing is common or inexpensive, it loses perceived value. But the watch is still the same. It still has the same inherent value and is meant to last a lifetime.
My time with my children, their chatter, their hugs and their little problems are common in my life at the stage I am in right now. But does that diminish their worth? They are still the most important people in my life--but what is their perceived value when placed against a clean house, or peace and quiet? Parents who have lost a child know exactly the value of these little moments.
Don't get me wrong: the kitchen still needs to get cleaned, and self-care in the form of quiet time when I can read a book uninterrupted DO have their own value. They ARE important.
But my biggest fear this morning is that I have been throwing Rolex moments away, in exchange for Casio quality, speed and expense. I want to change that. I want to recognize Rolex moments and put them at the top of my priority list.
Community Question: What are your tips and tricks for getting all of your many jobs done, and spending time with the family?
Hi, I'm Jen! I adore chocolate, I'd rather read than clean my house, and I haven't seen my abs in I-don't-know-how-long. But I love my husband and kids to death and try to Raise The Good within myself and my family by making wise and uplifting media choices and having a deliberate family culture. You are probably doing the same thing. Let's share what works with each other!
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