“But Mom, I promise I will…”
It’s an easy trap to fall into, and I will be the first to admit I am guilty. Pleading for advances on allowance, promises of fufilled tasks and months of indentured servitude, grandiose explanations of why I should loan out money “just this once” is something that happens at least weekly in our household of five children. I’ve been coerced into go karts, prom gowns, fashion dolls, ferrets, and pretty much anything else under the sun. To date I am owed all sorts of services and payback. If I cashed in on promises I would never have to fold laundry or empty the cat litter again.
Cashing in…don’t make me call your father!
Making good on promises is not always easy, but it’s something we value in our family. When I stepped back to look at the bad parenting habit I’d unwillingly developed it became very clear…enough was enough. My bad example has led to a subculture of promises and barters among the children. Jobs have been traded, household chores divied up unevenly, and bribery reigns supreme. My eight year old has become a vicious little loan monger; the only silver lining is that she understands interest rates like a seasoned financial planner.
Breaking the Cycle; The Family Job Bank
Solving this dilemma required determination, creativity, and a thick skin. Closing the “Bank of Mom” was no easy task. I was mean, evil, and dubbed Scroogette when the cash flow trickled up. Enter the family job bank. With never any shortage of tasks to be done on our hobby farm, making a list of jobs available for an hourly rate was a quick task. Everyone has chores to do, but if someone wants extra money for a luxury purchase, they need to earn the funds. No cash advances allowed! We’ve even created timesheets in an effort to teach real life skills and a sense of responsibility to the children. And all those previous loans? Well, I’m still working on cashing in. Meanwhile, I’ve got laundry to fold.