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……..