Gotta love summer! School ends and the Kids are home for 8 weeks. You and your spouse have sacrificed any vacation time all year to cut back on child care costs. So half of the time is covered (assuming you have a spouse and he or she gets vacation). And now you get some much-deserved relaxation. And the reward? Your Kids gleeful cries, “I’m bored!”, “he’s bugging me!”, “shes in my room!”, (insert wine here).
You remind yourself of how much money your saving. I mean how much you love spending time with your kids. [grin]
This summer, we committed ourselves to putting the kids in daycamp for two full weeks. One in July and one in August. We figured they would like the change of scenery and we could have two weeks where we didn’t have to juggle our work schedules to accomodate having one of us home. All was going well until my son announced one morning, while getting ready for camp, that he did not want to go. So here I was, brushing my teeth, thinking that I could either force him to go and deal with the fallout creating a stressful morning routine, or take him to work with me (hardly a desireable choice). So I decided to let him decide. And seeing how I was discovering that he was ‘money motivated’ I thought there might just be a lesson to be learned (hopefully by him, not me). So, I gave him an ultimatum. “You can stay home if you want to pay us the amount we are losing from your missed day at camp”. He thought about it. I wanted to put the cost into perspective, so I said, “you know that $50 bill you have (it was just past his birthday and Grampy was very generous), well, you will have to give that to me. Why don’t you go brush your teeth and let me know what you decide”.
He went to brush his teeth and came back. He obviously thought about it, because he came back and said, “Can I pay for it out of the money in the bank?”. We had just set up a bank account the week before where half of the momey they were given had to go away for ‘Needs” and the other half they got to spend on their ‘Wants’. “No”, I said, “You don’t NEED to stay home”. He got that thinking look again. “Why don’t you go put your sneakers on and think about it and let me know what you decide”, I offered. He came back and I asked, “What did you decide?”. He said, “Well (sad pouty face). I guess I’ll go, but I’m not going to have fun”. Mission accomplished!
He had fun by the way and I got so much more work done without him “helping” me. Oh, and we both learned a valuable lesson that morning.