If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know that we have kids who have been on a budget since they were 7 & 8 years old. You can read more about that here.
What we’ve never really discussed, however, is that when the budget meetings are held, I am nowhere to be found.
Sure, Bret and I came up with the idea that kids should be on a budget. It was even my idea that it needed to be done, Bret came up with how it would all work. And it was me who felt very strongly that the kids need to learn from their mistakes, even when those mistakes are hard.
I absolutely believe in consistency. I absolutely believe these are lessons the kids need to learn. But at my core, I’m still a mom and something about being a mom makes me really tenderhearted with my own kids.
So during one of our first budget meetings when one of the kids blew all of their monthly food allowance on a la carte items at school in one day, I wasn’t happy, but I was ready to give a warning and another chance. This was uncharacteristic of me as I am never one to give warnings and second chances when the kids know the rules.
Bret took me aside and reminded me that we were going through this process specifically so that the kids would not do what they had just done. If we bailed them out, the lesson would be lost.
The next month when a kid spent all of his “fun” money on more Magic the Gathering cards (there’s a special spot in the Marketing Hall of Fame for the people who develop collectible cards that require an outpouring of hundreds of dollars) and he wasn’t able to afford a movie with friends, I didn’t want to bail him out, but I really thought he needed to know what I thought. I was just about to let the kid know how stupid I thought his card collection was when Bret noticed the steam coming out of my ears, and took me aside again to remind me why we were doing this.
After that, it became obvious to everyone that my presence at the meetings was just way too stressful. I literally could not sit at the table and let the kids experience the process we’d set up. So I was banished.
To this day, seven years later, I’ve not been a part of the monthly budget meetings. Bret works with each kid individually at the kitchen table. If I happen to be in the room so much as refilling my coffee cup, I literally have to bite the inside of my cheek to keep myself from inserting my opinion.
What is your parenting Dirty Little Secret?