I am not unique in my capacity for wearing different hats. My profession has dubbed me “instructional strategist”, but the title I cherish most, and role I play with greatest passion, is that of “Mom”. Occasionally, there is bit of bleed-through that happens, you know, when facets of one role start to show up in another. One such facet that has found its way over into “Mom’s” role is a never ending quest for “teachable moments”. Those moments when you can turn everyday occurrences into an opportunity to teach a life lesson. I wanted to share with you one such thing that has made for itself a wonderful place in our lives. And while it was created to help teach my boys the value of hard work and saving money, in a world now paying for its "have it now, pay for it later" mentality, it has become an exercise of joy for all involved.
Welcome to “The Mommy Store”
See, my boys, are given a weekly allowance of 1 dollar. They receive this allowance simply because, no job or chore completion required. From the age of 2, my boys are given a job that is considered their contribution to the family. For these jobs, they receive our gratitude for helping the family. Now, there ARE many other types of jobs that they can choose to do, or ask to do, if they so wish and these, “above and beyonds” I call them, afford them the opportunity to earn a little extra cash. We track these on a chart because, honestly, I can’t hold it all in my head anymore.
This is where my real fun begins – I get to stock "The Mommy Store" – and I LOVE a bargain! I buy from a WIDE variety of places – Goodwill, clearance sales, grocery store, the Dollar Store and my favorite, EBay! They will occasionally wander over and ask “So Mom, what’s in the Mommy Store?”. We go through the conversations about “Do you have enough to buy that?” “How much do you want to spend?”, “You could afford two of these, but only one of those”, etc. until they arrive at their decision.
Do they always find something they like? No. And they learn to wait until I have added new inventory, or they decide not to wait and later try to complain about having made a poor purchase that they were disappointed with because that money was burning a hole in their pocket.
When out shopping with my eldest the other day, we had just left the aisle where he had picked out the swim goggles he wanted for the pool and a little paratrooper army man - awesome right? Enter the moment of truth……as we were leaving, we passed the Lego aisle and he caught sight of a new Star Wars set that he had not seen before…..I held my breath…..he asked a few questions about the price versus the amount of money he had. We did some math regarding what he would have to put back and if any amount would be left in his pouch afterwards (answers – you have to put all the rest back and no – you’ll have nothing left). I waited, for what felt like an eternity, praying……..
He looked up and said “Mom, I can’t play with Legos at the pool and I really like this Parachute guy. Is it OK if we check on EBay later to see if I can get it for less? And, if I don’t have enough, then can I do some more jobs to save up?”
I share all of this with you to encourage you to find your own teachable moments. Should you choose to try this example, I will caution you, there will be times when it just doesn’t seem to be working, but I promise, if you stick with it – you will be rewarded – eventually!
Those boys are so adorable! Love their smiling little faces! xo
I truly enjoyed this blog. It was like grilled cheese and tomato soup after playing in the snow all day - nurturing and warm.
i like the innovative idea and learning opportunity created. But most of all, I enjoyed the bond between mom and children.
I would love to see more from Maria's writings.
First, adorable picture. It melts my heart.
Second, you go girl! Money skills are a great thing to teach kids. Being a mom is so important and you sure sound like a great one!!!
So nice to meet Maria & her boys!
I love the Mommy store!
Maria, what a wonderful idea! I just know you are teaching your boys many things to stand them in good stead for their lives! What a great mom!
Yes, those boys are adorable. Laughing children are the best way to start a day.
Brilliant idea Maria. What a great way to teach the boys the right way to save and spend.
Handsome boys! Great idea... okay, now you need to write a handbook for moms, as I know there must be more great ideas etc. being used to teach the boys so many useful skills.
This makes good sense. Kids need to learn about how money works. I met my best friend in college because she didn't know how to write a check, yup, 18 years old, had no idea. I think it's great to prepare your kids for budgeting and the real world! XO!
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