Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Retail Therapy

Monday, January 3rd was a day off of work with babysitting! I sort of felt like I'd won the Mommy Lottery.

I wanted to do something that is tough (or impossible) to do with children in tow. So after a quick analysis of my options, I decided on Lenox Square Mall shopping. I hadn't been there since before Drew was born. In fact, these days I'm lucky to get to Town Center or Northpoint for a quick essential shopping excursion.

I arrived at Lenox, vallet parked, picked up a Starbucks latte, took a deep breath and looked down the marble path to shopping utopia. Ahhhh. This is the life!

As I walked through the mall, I began to covet many things: Louis Vuitton suitcases, Stewart Weitzman pumps, Gucci dresses, Dior sunglasses, Manolo shoes, True Religion jeans, FENDI purses, Cartier bracelets, Burberry scarfs, Prada shirts, etc, etc, etc. Suddenly, I felt more like I was playing dress-up than shopping because "shopping" indicates that you might actually purchase something.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I almost started to feel sorry for myself. Like I should be buying these things. I mean, I work as hard as anybody else does.

About that time, I walked into Kate Spade and passed a grown woman, literally crying, begging her Mom for a $750 sweater. "But Mommy, it would be perfect with leggings!" (And yes, she was still saying "Mommy" in her mid-thirties.)

And I thought to myself, 'Seriously? Is that the most compelling argument that you can make?' Good grief. Rich parents are wasted on the stupid.

Her Mom sighed, turned to the salesperson and said, "Okay. We'll take the shirt, along with the other two things that she tried on."

I didn't stick around to find out the total purchase price, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if Bailey (even at 9 years old - forget 35) was crying in a store, that she wouldn't walk out of there with so much as a stick of gum.

I left and started walking toward Neiman Marcus. I entered the department store right behind a mother and her two daughters, who were probably 10 and 12 years old. The older of the two daughters walked by a necklace display and said to her mother, "I'm going to grow up and marry a rich husband!"

Her mother's response? "Oh, yes, baby. I mean, you have to." Then she began to explain to her daughter in detail how if she wanted to have nice things, she would have to marry a rich man.

This mother never even considered empowering her daughter to earn her own money through hard work, education or entrepreneurship. She also never mentioned that it was fine to marry a man with money (and not for money) as long as you loved him, because without love, the rest of it will never make you truly happy. Ask anybody in a loveless marriage how many necklaces they would give up to have somebody to love and to love them back.

And I thought, 'Geez, what is wrong with people these days?'

Then I realized that I was right there with them - seeking happiness from things that are simply things. I was letting a designer handbag and a couple of pairs of expensive shoes rob me of my Mommy Lottery joy. Hello, reality check.

So I began to think about all my riches. My supportive parents who taught me how to love by example. My family who I consider my friends and my friends who I consider my family. My husband who still looks at me like we've just started dating. And my precious children who bring pure joy to my life.

Suddenly I realized that I'm loaded! :)

I continued my window shopping at Lenox Square Mall for the rest of the afternoon. I left there that day, emptied handed, but feeling just a little bit happier than I was when I walked in.