Talking about Money with the Kids

Money makes the world go round.

Money can’t buy you love.

 Money doesn’t grow on trees.

We’ve heard them all before. The fact being that none of us can survive without money.  I’m not a big fan of the stuff. I hate focusing on it but as an adult it’s unavoidable. Due to many, many, many, life circumstances, I’m not in the best financial position. This has no direct correlation to the level of happiness that I experience. I’m happier now than I ever was when I was earning more. That being said good money sense is something I want to instil in my children.

So how does one do such a thing? I was cautious because I didn’t want them to think in monetary terms about everything like grownups inevitably do. I do want them to be aware than things aren’t free so there’s a bit of a balancing act that needs to happen.

I’ll often have them make a choice to keep in line with my budget.  The options could be something like this.

Option one: a trip to the local park (free!) and food afterwards (not free!).

Option two: a cinema trip (not free!) but we have to eat at home (more cost effective!).

This way they can see that you can’t always have it all. You need to cut your cloth to suit your measure.

One of the things that I wanted to teach them was the importance of saving money. It’s a life skill that will stand to them. We went and bought little piggy banks and painted them their own colours and this is where they save. The painting gave them real ownership over their savings and is one of the best activities I’ve ever done with them. My middle lad is like a magpie; he’ll spot silver from miles away and often finds a coin on the street.  His little piggy is quite heavy.

They each have accounts in the credit union for windfalls like birthdays and Christmas. If I can’t make it down straight away ‘cause you know, morning tv has me hooked, my mother holds onto the cash so I’m not tempted to spend it. I know, I know, I’m worse than any child.

The credit union had great tips on Facebook this week for their GR8 Savers week. Its practical advice and each tip is very achievable. A good one that I read was to have a savings goal. We do that without over thinking it. The boys will want a new game for the Nintendo switch so we will save for it. This also teaches them that you should consider all purchases and not just buy on a whim. Something I am guilty of more than I’d care to admit.

Another good tip on the credit union site is to reward the kids for saving. I do this by meeting them some of the way for their targets. I know this is not something that’s going to happen for them as adults but they just need a sliver of reality not a full portion. The act of balancing is going well for now. I’m rapidly heading into the stage of pocket money and labelled clothes. Lets hope the work I’m putting in now will benefit us as a family. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to buy myself a piggy bank and take my own advice.

Birthday Parties, They Are Not How I Imagined.

I’m just throwing it out there. Children’s birthday parties are stressful. Pre-child in my oblivious haze it was one of the aspects of parenthood that I’d imagined I would thoroughly enjoy. My fantasies stretched to colour co-ordinated table ware and decorations. There would be a theme and organised games.  The children would play in perfect harmony while the mothers sipped on tea and nibbled on crust free sandwiches. My pre-child day dreams are a great source of amusement to me now.  It’s nothing like I’ve described.

The table ware that I dreamed of is expensive and it’s all disposable. The table cloths don’t cover the tables at your chosen venue so you need 15 of them. I think they cover them in some sort of varnish to take the cheap look off them and this means they don’t stay on the table.  6 year old Billy will go through cups like he’s going to get a medal at the end. Calm down Billy I need some of them for the next party. Continue reading “Birthday Parties, They Are Not How I Imagined.”

I Don’t Know How To Deal With My Physical Boys

Most of my life I’ve been drowning in female company. A young life filled with aunts, female cousins and my only sibling who was also a girl. My complete education took place in an all female environment.  This upbringing showed me that women were bloody awesome. They ruled the world.

Let’s fast forward to my first pregnancy. What would I do if I had a boy? Well I was about to find out! My eldest was pushed from his comfy home in October 2009. He presented at 8 pounds 6 ounces and well at least half of that weight was his balls. I looked at his Dad horrified. ‘Did you see his balls? What the hell is that about?’  The midwife assured us that it was all perfectly normally while I silently panicked about how I was going to rear a male of the species. Continue reading “I Don’t Know How To Deal With My Physical Boys”

I Worry I’ve Passed My Food Issues Onto My Children

I’ve always thought I was overweight. Smaller in stature than most of my peers paired with a round face I always felt fat even as a young child. Truth being told I didn’t start holding weight until I was in my teens. When my breasts arrived it was game over. It was like the rest of me enlarged to keep up with my sizeable assets.

I’m not at the point where vanity is the last thing on my mind. It’s very much a health issue. Every Monday I begin a new lifestyle and by lunchtime on the very same Monday I have failed in one way or another. Food is my addiction and I’ve never been able to overcome it. I would probably give off the impression that it doesn’t bother me.

It does yet I lack the ability to change.

When my first son arrived it was very much do the right thing food wise even though I wasn’t leading my example. I fed him home cooked everything while I munched on take away while he napped. I was determined to start him off on the right foot so he wouldn’t have to suffer with the issues I have. Continue reading “I Worry I’ve Passed My Food Issues Onto My Children”

Would You Let Another Woman Breastfeed Your Child?

I wasn’t the world’s most successful breast feeder. I fed all three myself for a while but nowhere near as long as I longed to. I was so adamant that I was breast feeding my first that I didn’t even buy bottles. Bad luck meant that my precious son became ill at four days old and this hampered any and all efforts. I fed number two the longest for a sum total of 6 weeks. The princess got a fortnight bless her. I think if my experience with breastfeeding had have been more positive the first time around I would have lasted longer.  However long I did it for I am very glad that I did.

I am an advocate for breastfeeding. I think it’s an amazing privilege to feed your offspring. Continue reading “Would You Let Another Woman Breastfeed Your Child?”

Sharing at Christmas

Parenting when you are no longer in a relationship together is difficult. This is especially the case at Christmas time. Along with the presents and the grub Christmas is about family. It brings people home from foreign lands and you visit and talk to people you might not have done for the whole year. We all have that one Grandaunt somewhere. So when your family is not the traditional model you have to change the way you approach things. This will by my fourth Christmas as a single Mammy so I’ve learned a few things over the years.

The first Christmas I was on my own I spent the day crying. Continue reading “Sharing at Christmas”

Snapshot

There are many minutes of many days where I’m so frustrated I feel as though my brain might explode.

Sometimes this is because of my own inaction. I don’t have the clothes ready or I’ve to stop at the shop for a snack that should have been in my cupboard.

Othertimes it’s the behaviour of the children. Their laughs just a little loud. Their needs just a little too much. Three can be too much child.

Then all of a sudden there’s a fleeting moment. A moment where it all comes together. Their clothes fit. There’s no wax crawling out of their lobes heading for the face. Continue reading “Snapshot”

Tales From My Throne

I’m going to write a children’s book. It’s going to be a collection of short stories called ‘Tales from the Toilet Seat’.

What ever it seems to be about children. And I know it’s not only mine. The most urgent of requests. The story that just can’t wait a minute to be told. That drawing that I need to see right now. All coincide with my trips to the loo.

When my mother comes over the first thing I do is run up to use the loo for the sheer luxury of doing it alone. No matter how many times I ask for privacy it falls on deaf ears.

So now it’s become the norm. I check homework. I button up clothes. I brush hairs and I snap chat all from my throne on a daily basis. It’s not pretty but it’s the way it is.

I remember the luxury of the days sitting on the loo reading magazines until my legs went numb. Praying they wouldn’t go from under me as I used the bath to prop me as I regained some sort of feeling.

Now it’s in quickly, pleading for privacy and exit with the niggling feeling that you are not quite finished. So from my throne to yours ( if you are reading this on the loo that is ) Have a great weekend.

Why is the bad stuff easier to remember?

I’m doing my best to instill confidence in my children. I don’t want to rear cocky know it alls that think they are better than anyone else. I want them to be quietly confident in who they are. I point out their good attributes and reinforce the notion that it’s what you know…. not what other people say. I want them to have a strong sense of who they are.

I want them to know that their value is not found in the opinions of others.

All very noble idea’s I’m sure you’ll agree. The problem is the bad stuff seems to stick better than the good stuff. We are living in a critical age. Everything seems to be open to the opinions of others. Nobody seems to realise that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Continue reading “Why is the bad stuff easier to remember?”

When the house falls silent because it’s child free,
All manner of noises crawl out to haunt me.
There’s a beep that pipes up every 30 seconds or so,
I lay flat eyes opened counting that’s how I know.
The radiator is clicking as the temperature cools, 
Replacing deep child breathe and avoidance of drool.
What I hear so clear and loudest over them all,
Is the silence in each room bathroom,bedrooms and hall.
No crying for mammy to come fix my bed,
Or can I sleep in your room I was good like you said.
Luckily tomorrow the mayhem returns times three,
Then I’ll long for the silence and the noises that haunt me.