Rich beyond measure

January 21, 2009 § 2 Comments

The Begas Family - Karl Joseph Begas

The Begas Family - Karl Joseph Begas

I came across this a while back by way of Danette .   An article from the Washington Post entitled “Three Kids? You Showoffs”.  As the title indicates it was indeed expressing the thought that having more than the typical two children is seen in some quarters as a status symbol, an aberrant indication of  conspicuous consumption.   I know if you are also the mother of a larger than normal family you probably are rolling your eyes thinking over the times where someone has looked at you in the grocery store as though you just crawled out of the closest ditch or even been bold enough to question your reason, morals or understanding of modern birth control. 

Reading the article is more or less an eye-popping excursion a new world as I find myself constantly wondering  “what planet do these people live on?”  The article speaks in a weird language I am only passingly familiar with, “Birkin bags”, “pieds-à-terre” and what the heck is “eco-decorating”?   Having been a nanny once upon a time I understand the lifestyle that accompanies certain social and career echelons.  I have my share of well-healed friends and my oldest goes to school with more than one designer-child.  But at the same time I find this a staggering example of the differences in our “classless” society.

After reading through the long explanationabout the money the wealthy shell out to hire their nannies, pay for private schools and hedge their bets with Harvard on esoteric sports and oboe lessons I had to take a moment to figure out if I wanted to laugh at their self importance or the futility of those things they felt so necessary.  I know several people who went to Harvard and only a few of them hailed from the “proper nursery school”  through elite prep school background.  So I question the motives that are under the “all the very best” for my little sugar-dumpling  mindset.  Having a third child in order to “show-off”, to add one more designer baby to the SUV is very foreign to me.  Even though I have six children I count my children as my wealth not as a way to display my wealth.

I really am trying to avoid any sort of value judgment here.  I don’t think that anyone has a baby just so that they can “show off”.  Which is part of what bothers me about the article.   As the author is preparing to have a third child it almost seems to be an explanation of why she is doing it.  “Please don’t think I am less “upper class” because I am having another baby, it is all the rage to have lots of children just look and Angelina Jolie.”   What is wrong about having a third (or eighth) baby because you just love having children, because a large family appeals to you, because there is more to life than expensive handbags and trips to the latest fashionable vacation spots? 

Nothing in my mind.  There certainly is no reason to justify having children by claiming that they are some odd status symbol.  Though I might use the “I just have a lot of children to show off how wealthy I am” line the next time someone quips “are they all yours?”

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