Thursday, March 14

Face-Palm Parenting Moments

My oldest son wants a new Ps3 game. Call of Duty I believe, or something along those lines. At night when I go down to his room to say good night, he talks to me about his adventures playing a different war game and how he sniped someone and did something else horrific to another person with a knife. I find listening to it difficult because I don't understand anything and I hate the graphic nature of what he is describing, but the kids like it, and yes, I do believe there is something natural and instinctual with boys and their fascination with war. So I let them play it.

Well, as it is with kids, they want a new game. I am sure I will hate listening to this one too, but that's not the point...I bring this up because the game they want costs $65.

The three boys have decided they are going to pool their money and buy it together, which as a parent I am thrilled with. I love their team work and dedication to a set goal. Moments like this make me stick out my chest a little further and lift my head higher because clearly, I am doing a fantastic job with raising them and teaching them team building and life skills. Thank you Thank you!

When I arrived home the children meet me at the door to tell me about all the things they have cleaned to earn money so they can buy the game. I am so pleased, I love coming home to a clean house, and, yes..MY children cleaned it and it looks amazing! Clearly my parental superiority should be documented not only here, but maybe even in the local paper. I could teach classes.

I proudly walk into the kitchen to start putting the food I just bought away when the kids hand over the list of chores they did and then they say to me, "mom, we did all owe us $70.

WHAT!? I beg your pardon? Can you repeat that please? For a moment I thought you said I owe you $70 for doing one days worth of chores.  One of the boys smiles and mom, not $70..
Well what a relief, I was thinking I heard you incorrectly there..he continues," you owe us $60 for today and $10 from yesterday."

I choked on my own air. What on earth did you do that is worth so much? The children go on to explain that they straightened the boots, and swept the floors, made their beds and even cleaned up the toy room! Gasp!

I rolled my eyes and asked, "and you think this is worth $60?"

I went over to the desk and pulled out 4 pieces of paper and 4 pencils, put one in front of each child and proceeded to do a mini career and life management class.
For this small impromptu lesson, I gave them each a pretend job at McDonalds where they made 10/hour and we began to go through what life costs, what food and clothes cost. How much they want to spend on a car and other such things.

My gloating about my parental genius quickly came to a crashing halt when I discovered in that moment my children had less then zero concept of what things cost and what their time (and their mothers time) was actually worth.

While running through the food portion I asked what they thought we spend on food a month. One child said 300/month and another said 5 million.
I asked, "How much does milk cost? I was holding up the big jug too.
The highest amount that was given for that was $2.50.
When I asked what they thought TV cost they huddled together to discuss ideas and confidently answered $5/a month.
"What do we pay a month for the van then guys?" I coughed when $2000 was given without hesitation.

After I was completely and utterly deflated as a parent, feeling like I had totally failed them as humans who, after this display, will never be functioning adults who contribute to society.  I might need to sign them up for summer school for simple common sense classes,  I had a break through! I decided to explain it in terms of, if X costs this amount, how many hours will you have to work at your $10/hour job at McDonald's to afford it.

The lesson ended with all the children agreeing they would work a few more weeks doing extra jobs on top of regular chores to earn what was needed. And they also promised that they would go to school and get really good jobs when they were adults.

It was an adventure, but we got to where we needed to be in the end!

What a roller coaster this parenting can be.
I need a drink.


I am grateful for all of this. It is like a tornado some days with the children, job, house and attempting to have a life...but it's all mine and I love it.

I am grateful for the left over chocolate bar I found in the fridge tonight.

I am grateful my Italy jeans fit again, and they fit nicely!



Leah M said...

That is stinkin' fantastic!!! I so love your kids!!

Anonymous said...

Puff out that chest and stand tall with pride Joelle. The fact that your kids were willing to do extra work to earn the money for the game speaks volumes. You should be very very proud.

Kirstan C. Sonnenberg said...

Yay for intelligent, motivated children!!