Georgina Fuller admits she spends way too much on her daughter.
Only two, Jemima is one lucky little girl not just because her mum loves spending so much money on her but because there’s so much more to buy.
Walk into any children’s department and you’ll often be faced with endless choices for girls and a token selection for boys.
Because girls love to shop, and so do their mums, especially in the Western World where we’ve been weaned on Gilmore Girls and other shopaholic-esk influences.
Georgina has written a confessional essay for The Telegraph in the UK called “Why I spend more on my daughter than my sons”, saying she spends more money on her daughter than her two sons combined.
She explains this by citing research into Western mums who just love dressing their little girls up like dolls – well, they just look so cute all dolled up – where as when it comes to boys it’s more about functionality.
Retailers use lots of tricks to get us to spend more. Article continues after this video.
Plus the fact her youngest received all of his older brother’s hand-me-downs so there wasn’t much need to shop up a storm for him.
“In my case, this is partly because four-year-old Edward was handed down most of his belongings from his brother Charlie, seven – but mainly, it’s because clothes and toys for little girls are so much prettier,” she wrote. The study she cited came from Sainsbury Bank which found that parents spend just over $500 AUD more on their daughters than they do on their kids in a calendar year. According to the Family Finance Report released by Sainsbury Bank, this overspending on daughters continues until they are at least 18.
There’s just one problem with all of this.
By spending more on her daughter than her two sons combined, is she valuing her daughter above her sons?
By lavishing her daughter with every cute outfit on the market, is she highlighting this fact to her boys?
She says her boys don’t really care about stuff. They just want to get dressed in anything, run around and play where as her daughter – at just two – appreciates and values each and every new purchase.
But what is this teaching her daughter? That material possessions equal love and happiness?
That the goal in life is to acquire more and more stuff?
I'm the opposite, and not by choice. I struggle to spend any money on my daughter but only because we are the lucky recipients of bags and bags full of clothes, toys and shoes from family and friends whose daughters are older than mine. All my money goes to my tech-happy eldest who constantly drags me to EB Games, followed closely by JB Hi-Fi and then a couple more hundred in the technology department of Officeworks.
Even Georgina alludes to the effect spending different amounts on children in families can have, explaining that a feeling her brothers received preferential treatment while she was growing up.
"I suspect my behaviour is partly a result of my own upbringing. Growing up, I sometimes felt my older brother received preferential treatment to my sister and I, not least because he was sent to a prep school whereas we went to our local primary. My mother was also treated differently to her two brothers - they were often given steak and chips for supper while she had cheese on toast."
I too was given less than my sisters - particularly my privileged oldest sister - growing up but instead of leading me to repeat the same behaviour it made me realise how important it is to treat your children equally in every way. I take this philosophy pretty far, ensuring each of the children in my family receives the exact same amount of ice-cream.
The oldest doesn't get the most, despite the fact they are bigger and can probably eat way more than their younger siblings.
"It sounds grossly unfair, but I understand. I know that Jemima appreciates lovely things but Charlie and Edward don’t notice them," Georgina says. "As long as they’re fed and have (relatively) clean sheets, they’re happy." Sorry Georgina but it's highly likely that's only the case because they are still so young.
My sons aged 12 and 8 have plenty of ideas for how I can spend money on them starting at EB Games, pausing at JB Hi-Fi and then seguing to the nearest toy shop where they think grabbing items fast means I'm more likely to buy them.
"I do sometimes worry that I’m overcompensating," Georgina said. "I love my three children equally and I certainly wouldn’t want Edward and Charlie to feel that they aren’t as cherished as their sister, nor do I want Jemima to feel she is superior. But I disagree with the idea that you should dole out the same to all of your children, given that they have different tastes. After all, we may spend more on clothes and accessories for Jemima but she gets the same amount of time, love and care as her beloved brothers. I wouldn’t have it any other way."
And she's right. What I want Georgina to know is that her boys are getting older and if they haven't already noticed how much stuff she buys for their little sister they soon will. And as the boys who are aged just four and seven get older, they too will find something they want to buy more and more of.
Will she have any money left for them?
I think all parents should strive to raise our children as equally as possible because equality starts in the home. Nobody is more special due to their gender or age or love of new things. Each of our children is equally valuable and sadly one of the ways in which this is demonstrated in modern society is by our shopping habits.
That's why if I buy a toy for one of kids, the other two get one as well, even if they aren't there.
Nobody gets a bigger scoop of ice-cream.
Everyone gets the same amount of everything, even if they decide not to take me up on the offer.
My children know they all receive the exact same amount of special treatment and they will never feel inferior to either of their siblings. Trust me when I tell you that your children will notice this and as they get older, the consequences will become more obvious.
Read more from Georgina Fuller via Twitter.