The older my children get, the harder it is to shop for them. This has become a twofold problem: Either A. They know they want “things,” but they don’t know which things they want, or B. They know they want “things,” but there is no chance in hell I am buying them the things they want.
For example, today my oldest son turns 10. We have had a very busy couple of weeks leading up to today so, in epic fashion, I finally got my ass together and went shopping for his gifts. My child has expressed to his father (notice he didn’t say this to me) that he would like a phone for his birthday.
Come again? Exsqueeze me?
That’s not happening.
I’m not saying it’s completely insane for any and all 10-year-olds to own a phone. I’m just saying that my child, at the age of 10, does not need a phone.
I could see it if both his father and I worked out of the home. I could understand if he was often left on his own, either in the house or at sports practice, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I could see if many of his friends lived in our neighborhood, and he was often riding to their homes, on his bike, without his parents around, but once again, that isn’t how things are around here.
Since I write from home, I’m here when he is here. If I take him somewhere, I am usually there when he is there as well. He already has other pieces of electronics, and at this point, at this juncture in his life, the only reason he needs a phone is as a status symbol … and people, I’m here to tell you, if anyone in this house is going to have a fucking status symbol, it’s going to be my husband or myself.
We don’t drive fancy cars. We don’t have a boat, or a summer home in France. We don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry. I don’t own any clothes with designer labels, or any purses by Louis, or any shoes by Manolo.
And all of these facts are OK; better than OK. Because I’m almost a million years old, and I’ve already been around the block, I know that those things don’t mean anything in the real spectrum of life. So now it’s my job to teach my kids all the things I’ve learned.
But you can bet your sweet ass that we will own one of those things before I buy my 10-year-old a phone for his birthday.
Try again next year.
This article was originally published on