Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's working for us: Money Mantra

So parenting does not come easy for me. I feel like I work really hard at trying to be a good one (whatever that means). But Passion --not patience --has always been much easier for me... So right off the block I feel like I've got to work doubly hard to be successful in this area.While motherhood may be my divine calling, it seems my disposition is much more geared to the corporate world. So to compensate for my lack of skill set, I read.... A LOT.

I know plenty of child-rearing adults who are super anti-parenting book. I get that - no judgements. Some may think: "Who are they to tell me how to raise my child?' And I get that. Each child is after all an individual, and I can already see that somethings that worked for Holden (e.g. "OM-ing him to sleep") does not work with Zoe.

However, I read anyway.

I read textbooks, and handbooks, the Internet and pamphlets. I'm constantly researching and keeping my ears peeled for what the experts say "I'm supposed to be doing." I look for different approaches and new ideas. (For example, I read the Dr. Sears Sleep Book AND Babywise. The former works better in our house than the latter.)

I read what science and the research has to say. I take into account the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization's recommendations. And after combing through all this and more, I check with my head, my heart and my husband and try to feel out what's best for us.

Setting up Epic Battles are a Favorite
As you may have heard, we lean way more to the Attachment Parent side of the spectrum. Things that work for us include co-sleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding and some part-time EC-ing and cloth diapering.  (I'm sure I'll touch base on those again sometime). Those are particularly helpful with Zoë -- now almost 16 months old.

Something that has really worked for us with Holden has to do with money - particularly his money and letting him spend it on whatever he wants (assuming it doesn't have a gun, is violent or has high fructose corn syrup). :)

When Holden asks me if he can have a toy 99.7% of the time I say "Yes!"

"Can I have this pirate ship?" - yes!
"Mom can I have Lego transofrmers?" -yes!
"Can I have this doll with the bicycle?" Yes!
"Can I have these superhero villains?" YES!
Holden and Zoë: Busy Bees
"Mom can I have play dough doggie doctor?" YES YES YES!
(Actually, he technically can't have the playdough doggie doctor because it hasn't been made since the 90s).

But the answer is pretty much almost always "yes."

We go to the Disney Store: a kid's orgy for consumption. Yes, yes yes... yes to all of it. Pretty much anything you want.

So you may be thinking: 'You can't be serious Sabrena... what about the plastics, and the batteries, and the Made in China-ready for a landfill mentality... what about the environment Sabrena? And isn't your child becoming a spoiled brat if you say YES to everything?!?!'

Well actually, no. Because after the Yes, there's an implied add on; sometimes I say it, but most of the time I don't have to. The magic phrase is:

"Yes, if that's what you want to spend your money on."

Hey Johnny Cash, love your creation but
This playroom will need to be picked up before
we'll be able to watch any Backyardigans
Thanks to an awesome chapter in "Love & Logic" I realized that there really was freedom in letting Holden have what he wanted. And he absolutely can have pretty much anything he wants, but that doesn't mean I have to buy it for him.

He knows if we're going to Kid to Kid that he'll want to bring his money. And if we go to the Disney Store and he doesn't have his money, we can take a picture of it to remind us what he's saving up for.

I don't actually have to say No.

If he asks for something and wants it on the spot (and if I expect a little pushback), the conversation usually goes like this:
The Tower of Babel... ok, not really. 

"Mom, can I have XY or Z?"
"Sure, did you bring you money?"
"No..." And either he puts it back, or the conversation continues and he says:
"But I want it..."
And then I say, "Awesome, let's take a picture so we can remember you want it and we can get it later/next time."

It may sound crazy but it totally works in our house.

We don't give Holden an allowance yet. Right now, he just saves money he gets for birthdays, Christmas presents or loose change he finds lying around the house. He doesn't get paid for his daily jobs (bed made, teeth brushed, showered, dressed and play room straightened... NOT coincidentally all the things that need to be done before he can have ANY kind of screen-time); but he can earn extra money with a few odd jobs like rolling in the garbage cans, unloading the silverware from the dishwasher (thanks for the suggestion MDSoffe) or, on occasion, keeping his sister entertained (and alive) while I work on a project for 15 minutes or so.

I feel like we're not only avoiding meltdowns in public, but I think we're helping him to learn responsibility and to start gaining some understanding of how much things costs. He's constantly asking me the price of toys and if he has enough money...

Like I said, it's working for us.

1 comment:

Erin said...

This is a really terrific idea- thank you so much for sharing! Jonah CONSTANTLY asks for stuff, and I hate always telling him no... or giving in and saying yes when I don't actually feel good about it. I think we will start incorporating this same method and I hope it works as well for us as it has for you. (Taking a picture to remind you later is brilliant!)

Thank you love! P.S. We are coming to UT this summer and we must see each other!