Dear Kids, About that Allowance You Never Got from Me

An open letter to my kids, all six of them, about that allowance that they never got from me no matter how hard they begged, no matter how hard they worked, no matter how hard they tried to state their case about how much they earned it. Dear Kids, you’re welcome!

Dear Kids, About that allowance I don't give you. You're welcome. Love, Mom

Dear Kids,

About that allowance you never got from me? You’re welcome. All of you have asked for it over the years (except you, Bubby, my youngest and current favorite, but you will). You see, I’m one of those moms that doesn’t believe in a traditional “allowance” because, really, I already pay you enough. I pay you too much, in fact. Let’s dissect allowance, shall we?

Allowance

  • the amount of something that is permitted, especially within a set of regulations or for a specified purpose.

Huh?

Every time you broach this topic, my dear lovelies, I scratch my head. Can I have an allowance? By definition, it makes no sense. With practicality in mind, it makes even less sense.

You cleaned your room and you want an allowance? That’s earning your “keep”.

You washed the truck? Wait. Did you want to take that truck to the prom? Earn your keep, kid.

You did well in school? Good for you! I actually did quite well too and I was proud of myself for working so hard and making my parents proud.

You put your clothes (that I picked up out of your bedroom floor, washed, and folded) away? Wow, amazing. You are an overachiever. Maybe you do deserve an allowance.

BUT you don’t. AT. ALL.

Let me ask you, allowance-hungry children, something. Do you pay me for dinner? Do you pay me for putting a roof over your head? Do you pay me for driving you to school every day and picking you up? Do you pay me for those school clothes and supplies? Do you pay me for doing your laundry? Do you pay me for that TV you watch or the video games you play? Do you pay me for your never-ending electricity (that I try to keep down by constantly turning off lights and fans you hap-hazardly leave on)? Do you pay ME for buying your food (all of your favorites, you’re welcome) and cooking all of your meals and cleaning up after you, even when I don’t (which is almost never) eat that food myself? Do you pay me for any of my many services?

You do NOT. I don’t ask for payment. Why? It’s my job!

Instead, I ask that you “occasionally” clean up after yourselves, my loves. I ask that you flush and close the toilet. I ask that you show me respect and love. I ask that you appreciate that you have food, clothing, shelter, and so much more. Those things are your “allowance”, dear children, and you’re very lucky to have the things that are afforded you. Many children do not have what you have.

Don’t ask me for extra payment for “extra” things you do. Seriously, it’s stupid and you won’t win this argument. You want to charge me? Let’s play that game. Every time you do something, I’ll pay you. BUT every time I do something, you pay me too. My palm is itching. Look it up, I’m about to come into some big money!

Hey! I just unloaded the dishwasher that I loaded after I cooked your dinner that you loved and you remembered to put your plate in the sink. You put your plate in the sink? I owe you $1.00?

I bought the groceries, cooked your dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, and unloaded it. You owe me $50. Wanna just give me that $49 and call it even?

Or do you want me to pay you that allowance for ALL THAT YOU DO?

Your allowance?

I feed you. I clothe you. I buy you everything you need…and more. I clean up after you. I do your laundry, your dishes. I work and I provide. And as busy as I am, I still take the time to talk to you and love you. Yes, you’re welcome.

You say you want an allowance?

I allow you to stay here because you’re my children, I love you, and that’s what I signed up for. I allow you the finer things in life. Again, you’re welcome.

You know what? I grew up on a self-sufficient farm. We got up early, took care of animals and a garden, then we got ready for school and got good grades. We helped my mom clean on weekends (the what you say?) and do you want to know how much “allowance” we got? We got love, food, clothing, and shelter. We didn’t even get video games or cell phones. *GASP*

It was enough. My parents gave me life and the things I needed in life. It was enough and I didn’t DARE ask for more. Why would I need more?

Why do you?

So, my loves, my minions (look up the true meaning of that word…not the yellow guys…and you’ll know why I use it so often). Know how much allowance I owe you? You’re already overpaid considering the services you provide.

You’re welcome.

You may not like it right now, but I’m attempting to raise good humans, productive members of society. That’s hard work, y’all. I deserve a little more payment. Don’t pay me in complaints. Don’t pay me by asking me for more. Do the things you’re asked (which seriously are tasks a 5-year-old could accomplish with ease), and appreciate what you have.

Does all of this sound a little harsh to you? I really am doing you a favor and some day you’ll “get” it (ask Bry, she’s grown and she gets it now, or ask Paetyn who is now a parent herself…she totally gets it). You four youngest really have NO clue at this point in your life. You will, but you don’t now. Have patience. The lightbulb will go off and you’ll thank me.

Life gets harder (like super hard) when you grow up. You’ll honestly have to work for a living and that “allowance” and you’ll look back and wish you didn’t get one again.

So, about that allowance I don’t give you now? You’re welcome.

With Love,

Your Mom (who will never pay you an “allowance”, but will always be proud for raising good humans)

PS – Bubby, when you get old enough to read this and think it’s OK to ask for an allowance. Don’t. Just do what mommy asks and appreciate what you have. You’re my current favorite for a reason. Don’t sully your reputation.

Everyone’s Not a Winner in this Era of Entitlement

Today’s kids, Generation Z as they are being coined at the moment, are going to face a huge wake up call when they grow up and leave the nest. Personally I think they should be called Generation E or The Entitled because they are truly growing up in an Era of Entitlement, and as parents, we are to blame.

Generation Z: We're raising a generation of brats during this Era of Entitlement and it's time to stop!

Let’s face it, the kids of today, well…they’re pretty spoiled for the most part. I know there are exceptions, but let’s don’t go there, I’m talking the typical American kid here. They feel entitled while they happily grow up during the Era of Entitlement. Mine are no exception and it honestly drives me insane (so I guess insanity is an option). We all want the best for our children so we give them stuff, we let them do things, we want them to have a better life than we did, but are we, as parents and educators, really doing the right thing or are we doing them, and the future of our country, a disservice?

Hear me out. I love my kids just as much as you do, but we’re raising a generation of brats that think life is all gum drops, lollipops, and unicorn farts when, in fact, it is not. We give in to picky eaters, we take them to amusement parks, buy them new bicycles, sign them up for dance (or whatever) classes, and we literally move heaven and earth (and our work schedules around) to accommodate their every whim and attend all of their functions. They are the sun, and we are merely planets. Why? Because we love them of course. But you know what? Our parents didn’t do this crap. If a child acted poorly and simply apologized, that wasn’t enough. It was appreciated, but it wasn’t enough. It shouldn’t be enough now. And because it wasn’t enough, most of us grew up a little more ready for the real world than these children will that are being raised during this Era of Entitlement.

You know why they won’t be ready? It’s our fault. As parents, grown ups, educators, and mentors, we’re failing this generation by teaching them that everyone’s a winner because everyone is not a winner at everything. You win when you work hard. The end. Think about it. You can just “join” sports teams now, no try outs required because there’s a rec center in every town. Field Day? Everyone gets a ribbon, even that super smart kid (that might be your kid’s boss one day) that runs slower than a snail. Yup, he gets a ribbon too…for coming in last place. That kid should be getting his reward in the classroom because that’s where he’s working hard and that’s where his focus should be (because smart people rock). The kid that outran everyone in that race? That’s the one that should get the ribbon, along with the two that followed behind him. We should be guiding our children to do the things they love, and those that we know they will succeed in. We should NOT be telling them they are perfect and that they are great at everything. No one is. I’m a grammar ninja, but I can’t “math”, I’m probably the slowest runner on the planet, and I can’t lift heavy stuff. I know my limits, so should they. We’re not teaching them that.

B used to gripe about this Era of Entitlement and the “Everyone’s a Winner” thing a lot. I used to tell him that they were just babies and no one wanted to hurt their feelings. Unfortunately, he took that to heart too much and he’s just as guilty as I am now of being an “offender”. If the babies have acted up all day, but he really wants to go to the beach or on a bike ride, he’ll give in and take them anyway. If I put my foot down and say Bubby needs to try what I’m cooking for dinner, I’ll make him try it, but he won’t eat it and says he’s starving, I’ll give in and make him something else. Enough!

It’s not just us. If you’re reading this, you know you’re guilty too. Sure, we all discipline our kids, but we still give in way too often and we’re doing them, we’re doing all of us, a huge disservice. It’s better to teach them now, the way we, Generation X and The Millennials, were taught. We’re not all winners. We are not all good at everything. If we were bad (especially we Gen X’ers), we didn’t get stuff. We were ready for the world. Will this generation be? I think not. Let’s stop raising our children in an Era of Entitlement and start raising them to be future leaders in a world of equality. Let them be the change. If they are going to do that, we’ll need to do some changing first.

I’m ready to make that change. Who’s with me?

My Baby Girl Is Broken and I Can’t Fix Her Alone

learning disabilities, parenting, discipline

A while back I made a bold stand and explained that my baby girl was different. She’s a societal square peg being shoved into a round hole. I stand by that. She doesn’t fit any mold and I celebrate her uniqueness and I support her no matter what. She’s my baby. That’s my job. I love her unconditionally, and I always will. But lately, she’s been trying that unconditional love theory. She’s been trying it for 6 years in fact and I’m beginning to think that I can’t tackle these issues alone.

She’s a bright girl. She was in the GT (gifted and talented) program at school until earlier this year when I pulled her and moved her to a different school. She’s no dummy. At. All. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and she amazes me every day. But she’s broken and I’m afraid I can’t fix her alone.

I have to be honest with you because honesty is important to me. At times, she’s just bad. She doesn’t mean to be. I know she doesn’t. But she pitches fits (like frightening fits), she talks back, she’s always right, she’s mean to her brother and I (think bully here), and she steals. The stealing is what has me concerned about her broken state because now she’s endangering herself and it scares me. She’s been stealing from our house ever since she learned this “trade” from her half sister 2 years ago when she lived with us. She steals little trinkets, unimportant stuff, but she also steals food.

She’s not hungry. She gets breakfast at home before school, sometimes she eats a second breakfast at school, then a snack and lunch I pack for her at school, a snack when she gets home, then dinner. She’s not hungry, yet she steals food. I buy snack cakes and fruit snacks weekly to put in their lunches. One sweet snack per day. That’s what they get. But the other night, my baby girl ate a whole pack of oatmeal creme pies while we slept, at 2:00 am I would guess. She’s eaten B’s Atkins Bars. She’s downed whole boxes of fruit snacks. I’m worried what she will steal and eat next.

When you ask her what, WHY, she just looks at you and rolls her eyes, and says nothing. She knows it’s wrong, but she continues to do it. What’s next? What will she steal that will hurt her? A mother’s worst fear. And so I’ve moved on to the next phase. I don’t want to, will not, shove her in that round hole, but I will protect her no matter what.

We went to the counselor at school, that was a bust. I talked to a counselor that was recommended by the school. That didn’t go well in my head. They recommended the “m” word until we can break through. Medication. I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t want to medicate her, but I don’t want her to hurt herself sometime while I’m in the bathroom trying to pee, while I’m outside with the dog, while I try to sleep my 4 hours per night. I want her safe. So I’m considering the “m” word and although B doesn’t want it, he said he won’t fight. That’s his baby girl, he wants her safe, he acknowledges the problems.

I ran this by my closest friends the other day and one of them said something that hit home. “She’s sick and you’re taking her to the doctor to get better. Don’t worry about what type of sick or type of doctor.” And she was right. My baby is broken and she needs to get well.

I’m not talking about any kind of spectrum here. She’s not on any spectrum. She’s brilliant when she puts her mind to it, but she’s sick and she needs to get well. Wish us well. Pray for us if that’s what you do. Know that I know that medication is NOT the answer to everything. Know that I KNOW that my square peg should be allowed to be different. But know that I KNOW that my square peg has hit a road block and she’s endangering herself. KNOW that my only intention is trying to figure out how to fix my baby so that she can be the healthy square peg she was meant to be. And know that I KNOW she, we, will get through this phase and I still think (KNOW) she will make a difference in this world.

She’s amazing, she’s beautiful, she’s different, and right now…she’s broken. We’ll fix this. I know we’ll fix this.