Earlier this week, I was nursing my 10 month old daughter while sitting at my computer and my 3 year old son ran into the room holding a cardboard roll that looked suspiciously like it came from a roll of paper towels. I followed him into the kitchen to find that he had “rescued” the (almost completely full) roll of paper towels from its holder on the wall, and proceeded to unroll them all over the kitchen floor while my attention was elsewhere.
I calmly took the cardboard roll away, explained why we don’t climb without mommy and take things without asking, and proceeded to have my son help me fold up all the salvageable paper towels so we could put them on the counter to use later. But my very first internal reaction upon walking into the kitchen had been a very sharp feeling of anger, not about the climbing or the destruction exactly, but about the waste of a dollar. I controlled this feeling and did not take it out on my son of course but in my brain I kept coming back to “A whole roll of paper towels totally wasted! This can’t be happening!”
Yes, our rolls of paper towels cost about $1 each and at first glance I thought we would have to discard the mess he’d made and my internal reaction was to get all worked up and upset over the $1 waste. We did manage to salvage most of the unrolled towels so it ended up not a huge waste at all, but still. All this internal angst over the possible waste of a single dollar.
I wonder if I am starting to cross some line between frugality and obsession. The fact that my initial response to something is calculating the money just wasted might be useful in some circumstances, but it seems a bit… odd. Weird. Strange. Off. I need to find a balance. I still don’t know what that balance is. I don’t think its this.
I’m going to further ponder this phenomenon. Insights welcome.