We're about a year or so away from seeing this survival of Elly's baffling dread when she gets all panicky and stupid because the snowsuit she bought Lizzie is too small despite her buying it the size she thought Lizzie would be. Instead of simply admitting that she had guessed wrong and that Lizzie hadn't decided to grow larger than Mommy expected she would to be mean to her, dimwit Elly persisted in thinking like the nutbag from the early eighties and GROOOOOOANED!!!! in despair. This led to her going on a shopping spree to buy expensive new clothes for the children and Mike wondering howcome she never seemed to buy any new things for herself. The intent of this was clearly to make the kids look like ungrateful monsters who refused to see that because they made demand after demand, their poor mother simply couldn't enjoy life BUT the problem is that sane people see something entirely different.
What sane people see is a woman who was taught to martyr herself growing up as a sort of means of getting the attention her imbecile parents seemed to lavish on her kid brother just for breathing and also as a means of making herself look better to a mostly imaginary group of Quality Women who decide her worth for her. We know that Elly could very easily have bought herself something nice for herself but her conscious mind told her getting stuff for herself when the kids were there made her look like a failure as a person and thus unworthy to join the Respectable Ladies teamed up with the subconscious mind that wanted her children to wail piteously about how terrible and cruel they are to expect her to give and give and give to keep her from doing the smart thing.