Growing up, I knew a girl who got $20 a week for her allowance. She also got $10 per A on her report card. That was a lot of money back then. I’d get a $20 bill for an entire Friday night babysitting three kids. Heck, I can still stretch $20 pretty far.
We don’t give our kids money for doing regular things around the house. She empties the dishwasher, he dusts. They pick up and put away their own laundry. If there’s something I don’t feel like doing, I just ask them to do it instead. Isn’t that why we have children? If I want it done well, I might offer to pay them.
They have cash, but it comes in birthday cards or the tooth fairy. The Boy is ready to open a savings account. His 1980s cash box overfloweth.
Lately, though, I’ve wondered if they should start paying me. Like a backwards allowance.
Hear me out. It all makes sense. Parents complain about feeling under-appreciated all the time. There’s a good reason for that. It takes having your own kids to appreciate what your parents did for you.
If they had to pay to have breakfast cooked for them, it’d probably taste better. If not, I’ll bet they’d make it themselves.
I’m not talking about price gouging for everyday things. Reasonable fees for necessary services. Need someone to kiss that boo-boo or read an extra bedtime book? A bargain at $1. Meals are a little steeper, with prices varying depending on the complexity of the menu. I hate doing laundry, so it’ll be expensive. Scrubbing toilets and baseboards are premium services. Throw up is nearly unaffordable. Helping at school or coaching the soccer team can be handled with a payment plan. Kinda like layaway.
I know, I know. I’m setting myself up for an employer/employee situation here. They’ll think they can boss me around if they’re paying me. It doesn’t work like that, my friends. I’d still be the same mom. They’d just have to pay real cash money for the stuff I do anyway.
Want a hug? Yeah, now we’re getting into the emotional support and life lessons department. Might want to hold off on that savings account, kiddo. When I lecture you on not yelling at your sister in the grocery store and remind you that she’s the only sister you’ll ever have, you’re gonna have to pay up. It may seem silly, because you don’t want to hear me say it in the first place, but if you have to fork over the dolla bills, you might listen the first time. You might not, but I’ll charge for repeat lectures. Snuggles and tear wiping: $10. Confidence boosting: $50.
Standard fees are important to point out, too. If I have to say it twice, whatever it may be, it’s $1 extra. Socks left on the floor and dishes on the table go for $2. Refilling the toilet paper, stocking the snack drawer or putting new shampoo in the shower will be $5. The goal here is to raise awareness for the things that magically just happen around the house. That ain’t magic; It’s work, and I’m hoping to finally get paid.
Unfortunately, I can’t truly put a monetary value on what we, as parents, do for our kids. They’ll have their own someday and will yell many of the same things that seemingly fall on deaf ears. They’ll see the eyerolls during every profound lecture. They’ll give the corner brownies to their children, even though it’s their favorite part. They’ll hold a fevery baby for hours, not matter how badly they have to pee. They’ll do it for free, even though it’s worth its weight in gold. During that ah-ha moment, they’ll thank us. Until then, I’m okay with being annoying, stupid, embarrassing and UGH MOM I KNOW. I send invoices at the end of the month.