Richard - Daddy with a View
Familiarity breeds Contempt. Or does it? Comfort means reassurance - but what else can it mean?
We have a very small house.
This isn’t one of those phrases that I say as a false modesty “boast” – it is, in fact, simply accurate. We do have a small house. When Charlotte and I decided to get married and buy our first house, we prioritised living in a really nice area- with green spaces, good schools, easy transport links etc. In order to be able to afford all of that, in the nice area, we had two options – either take a HUUUGE mortgage, or buy a little (and a little bit dated) house on the edge of the area with a more manageable mortgage.
The fact that we took the second option is probably of no surprise given that we both work in finance – the idea of being saddled with lots of debt when we knew we would probably want children in the future and more flexible working for at least one of us just didn’t appeal.
So, yes, we have a very small house.
But how small our house is isn’t actually the main focus of my blog this time (although it does have an indirect role).
Like most parents of toddlers we have gradually amassed a collection of toys – and also like most parents, we have an ever growing collection of toys that our daughter no longer plays with, but we daren’t get rid of/throw away/take to the charity shop/pass on to grateful friends and family in case SHE (the royal overseer of all things and destroyer of houses) decides that she likes it again.
So where do these toys go? In the loft.
One such toy is a tiger walker. A stuffed toy tiger that is mounted onto a wooden frame to help babies learn to walk – you’ve probably got or at least had, a very similar thing yourself. Rosalind was never a fan of actually using it when she was learning to walk, but since she has learned to walk, her favourite game was sitting on top of it and being pushed down the hall at high speed (adrenaline junkie).
Once she hit 2 though, Charlotte and I both decided that she was probably a bit big for this game, not least because she was too heavy for us both to actually push anymore. So, like all the previous toys she has outgrown, this also went into the loft. For a few months, she largely forgot about it. There was a couple of mentions of “tiiiger” when she went to bed, but after a few days it was like it hadn’t existed.
Dear friends, we were lulled into a false sense of security.
Last week Charlotte had some photos done for her website, and as a part of that, she wanted to use a toy till which was in the loft as a Christmas present for this year for R. Getting that down from the loft was THE CATALYST. The reminder. The prompt for the recently forgotten “tiiiger”.
I’ll be totally honest, I’ve probably created the problem myself. I agreed to get the tiger walker out of the loft “for the day” – with the full intention to put it back up, along with the till, once Charlotte’s photos were completed. I don’t think you’ll be surprised if I tell you that the tiger remains down, nestled firmly next to her cot (along with the till).
I started off this post with a quote, one that you’ve probably heard quite often. The idea that the more familiar we are with something, the less we like it. Obviously, that is not true in the case of the tiger – and my reason for using the quote is poignant.
I don’t think that we necessarily become disdainful of the things we are familiar with – but I do think that we become COMFORTABLE.
Now comfort isn’t a bad thing. Comfort means that we feel safe, that we feel secure, reassured that we are going to be okay. And those are all really important feelings to feel when we are experiencing something new and a little bit anxiety inducing (and I can especially relate to the need of a toddler to feel comfort when everything in their world is changing and developing so fast).
But what about for us as the adults, as parents? What happens we WE feel comfort, and we get COMFORTABLE? I wonder whether comfort breeds satisfaction – and whether that in turn stops us aiming for more.
I am not a financial coach, as most of you know – but I am a parent. One of the things that I think about a lot is how to provide Rosalind with the best start in life – and I think that a big part of doing that is striving for better, aiming to provide her with more opportunities, more experiences, more choices than Charlotte and I had.
That’s not to say that I think being satisfied with our family life is a bad thing – in fact I think it’s great to recognise what you already have, and to revel in the fortune you have already created both for yourself, and your family. I just think it’s also important to never discount the “what next” element of our lives – because without a motivation, without more goals, we can sometimes stop wanting to do better, provide better and be better; and no one is ever perfect!
That’s all from me – thanks and see you next time!