Posts Tagged ‘money

Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.netWhen I last talked about the kids, I was saying how helpful they were when we were camping.

Amazingly, oldest one is now being even more helpful than that.  Let me explain why.

A while back, I got fed up with nobody helping at all, so did pocket money on a new system.  They have a book. Each time they do a chore, they earn 10p, and I write it in their book.

We went a while with nobody earning anything much.  I hadn’t been to the toy shop, which meant they hadn’t been lured by the vivid shades of plastic to want to save up for anything.

Then, late last week, oldest one got fed up with never being allowed to use mine or loved one’s computer when he wanted to, so he decided that it was time to earn lots of pocket money to get himself one. After taking a moment to digest this rather dramatic U-turn, I talked it over with him, pointing out that he would have to do about ten chores a day for the best part of a year before it could be his (not to mention rules about appropriate times to use the computer, even if it was his). He was still determined.

We haven’t managed ten chores on most days, but he is being extremely helpful nevertheless. I rather like it.  I hope it lasts and he doesn’t get fed up with it.  All this help will be worth the price of a new netbook, as well as sneaking some real-life lessons in while I’m at it.  I’m going out of my way not to do stuff so he can do it when he gets home from school.  Utterly fabulous.

Long live bribery.


Half term.  A double-edged sword.  On the one side, the kids can stay up late, there’s no hurry to go anywhere or do anything.  On the other, the kids are tired and grouchy from staying up late, they’re underfoot and bored.

image courtesy of stoke museumsOften I plan lots of things at half term.  If I do that, I tend to come out the other side wondering what happened to it.  Occasionally I plan nothing.  Then the kids drive me up the wall.

It’s tricky finding a balance.  Doing enough that you feel like you’ve achieved something, but not doing so much you don’t get a break.  I feel I should emphasise that half term is not just for the children, I need the break at least as much as they do, if not more.  Not only that, but spending time with the children that stocks up the cupboard full of tender memories you hope one day to go through and reminisce fondly.

As with all topics to do with parenting, it’s very much a case of getting out of it what you put into it.  Without collapsing with exhaustion and turning all those treasured days into a manic blur of business.

Then there’s the financial question.  Money = Time.  If we want to go on that fabulous Disney holiday, for example, I would have to put the studies on hold and go and find a part-time job to pay for it.  Less time.  More money.  If we want to go on lots of exciting excursions, it mounts up.

There are of course plenty of activities you can do that don’t cost a penny.  New playgrounds we haven’t yet visited, walks, bike rides, baking, obstacle courses in the garden, treasure hunts, museum visits (the free ones), so it’s not like we’re short of options…it’s just planning it all takes time and effort.

image courtesy of squidoo.comFunny how all my posts end up with me coming to the same conclusion.  I need to be more high-energy to be more effective and to get the most out of a half-term break.  Improving my energy levels will have a domino effect on so many things, in a good way.  In the meantime, I’m not.  So we’re doing one big day trip, and one slightly bigger camping trip.  I think that’s about the right level at the moment.

Work/study/family/health/life balance.  Nobody said it was easy, but I’m going to keep working on it.  Every time I get it wrong, I can chalk it up to experience and do a better job next time.  Especially if I can find more energy…

We were on our way back from church this morning when middle child decided she’d like to have a go at Football Club at school.  ‘Wonderful!’ I exclaimed, relieved that at least one child was even vaguely interested in something sporty.

‘Thanks, Mummy.  I need shin pads and trainers.’

Oh. Bare legs and plimsolls are no longer sufficient.  We about turn, since we’re all in the car anyway, and head off to the sports shop on the other end of town.  Just as well she didn’t need proper football boots; I’d have had a hard time swallowing that.

En route I remember that oldest one’s tracksuit now fits middle child perfectly, but makes oldest one look like a dingle dangle scarecrow (without a flippy floppy hat). So I make an note to hunt down an appropriately-sized tracksuit for him while I’m at it.

Oldest child pipes up as we’re parking. ‘Mummy, please can I have some PE shorts that look like BOY’S shorts? I don’t like the ones I have.’

I admit, I only got those cycle shorts because they were nice and cheap.  But I don’t blame him.  So, shorts are added to the list.

We do the sports shop thing and I come out sixty-two pounds poorer (yes, I chose the cheapest option right the way through, and that’s still the price I had to pay).  Then I come home, sort out their winter clothes from their summer clothes, chuck out (or give away) the ones that are torn, stained or more likely don’t fit any more and suddenly we have not enough clothes to last a weekend, or indeed a week at school.

Tina Phillips /

I see May is going to be an expensive month, then.  And I haven’t even had their shoe size checked yet.

I think I might eke that out till June, or else my bank card may start to give me disapproving looks and make tutting noises…