Much to HRH’s chagrin, I have never been very ‘good with money’. I’m no good at making it. Saving it. Or budgeting it.I am however, very good at spending it. How to ensure these are not weaknesses passed on to one’s children? ( because lets face it, FIVE children who are only good at spending money will result in five adults who will never move out, never get a job and never afford to pay for their mother to have plastic surgery when she needs it.) The solution is simple. Meanness. (Its frightening how many parenting problems can be solved with a generous dose of meanness.)
Case in point – money and teenagers. My 15 yr old son attends a school where the majority of students show up everyday with hundred dollar bills to buy their lunch. Whereas he gets shoved out the door every morning with dinner leftovers and a homemade choc chip cookie. And a grand total of a twenty dollar allowance to budget for a week. Mean mother? Maybe. But I’ve discovered that meanness has planted the seeds of an entrepreneurial spirit as my son has struck upon a few goldmines of earning revenue. Only Im not sure how legal his enterprises are. Or how much I should be encouraging this new found business acumen…because he is –
1. Selling my oatmeal soap to his friends at school as a ‘tried and true’ acne cure. (He’s shamelessly using himself as a walking advert for beautiful unblemished skin.) Great for selling soap but Im not getting any of the proceeds.
2. Doing people’s homework for them and writing their English speeches and in exchange they have to buy him lunch. Yesterday he had 2 burgers, 5 ice pops and a selection of cakes and muffins. Its coming up to exam time and apparently a lot of kids are getting desperate for study aid. Does that make him exploited? Or exploitative?
3. Taking the beef jerky sticks I brought from Cost U Less in Pago…cutting them in half and then charging 5 tala for one piece. And kids at his school buy them. ( they obviously have more money than sense.)
4. Then to top it all off, he was invited to a birthday party in the weekend and the birthday girl gave him fifty bucks – to make her a chocolate cake. Because apparently everybody in his class loved the cake he made for his class end of term function the other month. Is this a sign that girls in the fourth form totally don’t know how to bake? Or that girls in the fourth form are financially loaded and so why should they bake a cake when they can get a boy to do it for them?!
All in all, his money schemes mean that now he turns his nose up at taking leftovers for school lunch. And offers to lend me money when I go to the store for bread. Downside for me is that he’s no longer interested in washing my car for money. Cos he doesn’t need it. So as a result of his ventures, I am getting a bit more savvy. We have new (Mean mother) money guidelines.
* He can’t sell anymore oatmeal soap UNTIL he helps his father make more. And his labor will be compensated…in soap. For his pimples and his friends.
*I’ve asked him to please make an effort to at least EXPLAIN the homework to people before he stuffs himself using their lunch money. So in a way, we can justify his actions as kind and helpful?
*I’ve locked up the beef jerky. It’s non-negotiable. How dare he sell my fave snack food?!)
*I’ve laid down the law for cake baking for cash. Told him that cake orders will need to be negotiated with me. Lets see, total cost of flour, eggs, sugar, cocoa, icing, electricity and don’t forget the rental of my cake tin…AND a percentage for the use of MY cake recipe ( intellectual property rights after all) all works out to 40 bucks for ME and ten for HIM. Ha. Now who’s being entrepreneurial and money-savvy, ay?! Maybe there is hope for my money management skills after all…
Yep. Meanness. It solves a multitude of potential parenting problems. And maybe I can now look forward confidently to children who will NOT be living with me forever. And tons of free plastic surgery options.