“For the most part, when you have kids, everything you do for them becomes the reflection of who you are as a person. A poor mother would think, “I should be able to provide my children with a pleasure as simple as a happy meal. But I can’t afford meals for all of us. So I’ll get my children happy meals.” And done. Very little more thought goes into it. We don’t want to limit the normal experiences of childhood for them. So we do what we can to give them even the bare minimum of that.
It probably never even occurred to OP’s mom that she was depriving herself in order to provide something nice for her children. You think “this will make them happy” and then the thought train stops there.”
So many comments in this thread hit really close to home.