Mommy Memoirs: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Cold Hard Cash
We're a multinational family: the Mister's from Europe, I'm Canadian, and one of our kids was born in the United States where we now live. So in addition to having more citizenships and passports than you can shake a stick at, we also have a transnational mentality of entitlement and diplomatic negotiation.
As in, "if you say no to us, we'll just ask that other country and they'll probably say yes." (Otherwise known as the Go Ask Grandma Maneuver)
It's served us well in the past, but now it's coming back to bite us in our collective heinies.
I once mentioned that we don't parent by The Book. The Book says to give children a small, age-appropriate allowance and teach them how to manage their own money. When aforementioned Book was quoted by eldest child in her quest to buy a Nintendo DSi, Daddy said "no".
So she asked Mommy who said "yes"--with the caveat that instead of an allowance, she'd be working for her wages. (Daddy finally agreed with my wisdom when I pointed out that all other attempts to get those rascals to tidy their rooms had failed spectacularly.)
This is how our Saturday mornings go down then: a list of available jobs is posted with their corresponding monetary values (calculated using a highly scientific method of tapping thoughtfully on my chin and then pulling a random number out of the air that ends in the word "cents"). The kids gather around, and after some negotiation and review assign themselves 5 tasks each.
It all feels so American and democratic and capitalistic and perfect. You know: Life, Liberty... all that good stuff.
But when Mommy comes home from a long day of errands and asks for help unloading the groceries, the last thing she wants to hear is: "What are you going to give me for it?"
Back in the olden days the answer would have been "a swift kick in the rear, my dear," but apparently it's frowned upon to say such things in the 21st century.
Thus begins a series of negotiations to find the lowest bidder among my three opportunistic offspring. Cash only - a hug and kiss from Mommy is not legal tender 'round these parts.
These future Donald Trumps have even mastered wage negotiation. They understand bonuses, cost of living increases, and fair market compensation. I never realized having a kid in the smartie-pants math class would be a problem until Economics Week.
Thank goodness for this rotten economy, otherwise my squad of child laborers might take their talents to another employer.
Parents: do you give allowances, pay for chores, or leave cash out of the equation entirely?
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This is too funny. I never got got allowance to do chores when I was a kid, but times are changing where kids want to be paid for everything they do for you.
@Suelyn - then you should charge him $5 for his dinner. And then $5 for breakfast, $5 for lunch, $5 for driving him and his buddies to the movies, $5 for washing a load of his clothing... :)
This is what my older boy said "I will clean up my room "IF" you give me $5" Ah... I don't think so. hehe.
Well, my 2 year old doesnt get an allowance...but he already knows what money is. If he ever finds some somewhere he stashes it under his bed, my boyfriend always teases he gets that from me because Im Jewish ahha
Ohhh I remember those days all to well.The only thing my son would do was take out the garbage.But his bedroom a different story!It was the scariest site and he eventually knew to close the door because I would cringe when seeing it I'm such a neat freak.When he actually cleaned it it would go right back to a dumping ground by the next day.Now that hes grown up and on his own surprising he has changed.I think all young kids like to rebel.
@mamaluv: omG! Yes it was K'nect!! :) :) I still remember the first advertises I saw of that! Awwwwwsome :-D
@Becky, I do believe you mean K'nect :) And yes - that's so important to hold up your end of the bargain. I've learned that lesson too! Only I generally don't reward for doing homework. I consider that to be non-negotiable (though they certainly try...)
Haha! This is too funny! Oh the things I have to look forward to. I think your idea is great but I do see the pitfalls if they want to be compensated for everything. That's a tough one! Let us know when you figure out a solution. So I can copy it, of course.
@mamaluv your story made me laugh :-) Whenever we wanted something from our parents, I would write up a "legal document" detailing what we want, and how if we're given that, we won't ask for anything else until we're X-years old, and if parents agree they have to sign (two names with underlined areas to sign) and we kids have to sign. Those legal docs never did last past a few weeks after our getting what we want :-) I'm pretty sure my mom has kept them all too! lol :-)
@takoda - that was my husband's position too, that some things our kids need to do without being paid. We've managed to negotiate Room Cleaning, Feeding The Pets, and Clearing The Table as freebies. Everything else is paid but you know what? I'll take that small victory!
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