Allowances. I cannot remember for the life of me if we got an allowance. Somehow what I remember most is that my dad sometimes paid us in candy bars. Not your normal candy bar, the kind you sell for school fundraisers. He would buy a case (or maybe we had some left over). I distinctly remember the ones that had caramel in the inside. If we ever did get paid (even with candy bars) it was for chores we did around the house. Did doing chores and my parents never following through with an allowance teach me good ideals about working, money management, or spending money? Not really.
I started working when I was nine years old. I babysat, cleaned a neighbor’s house, polished their silver, and had a paper route. Yes, crazy to think I did that at the age of nine. I guess I worked just as hard then as I do now. My parents would have me put my earnings in a savings account, so I guess you could assume that they taught me about saving. The problem? My dad usually “borrowed” from my savings account never paying me back. I did not have the best money role models. Kids should be taught about money early on, and not be graced with everything with no knowledge or conversation that money does not grow on trees. Which is why I especially love this article from Slate.com titled: “You’re Doing Allowance Wrong.”
“Spending is about modesty, thrift, and the prudence to shell out (and even splurge) for things that bring kids the most joy while avoiding mindless outlays for plastic junk they will quickly break or forget. Saving instills patience in a world that increasingly conspires against waiting, delivering television without commercials and movies without Blockbuster. And giving is about generosity as well as gratitude for how lucky you are to be able to help others.”
The article goes into depth about giving an allowance, a budget, and a list of things they want or need and let them make the decisions on what to purchase. It means letting them fail. As the article states: “Better now then at age 24…” It teaches critical thinking skills, how to rationalize why one purchase makes more sense than another one. Many adults today do not have these skills. What if we started early on learning these life skills? We have gone away from being a saving culture, instead we spend, and rarely give. If you have kids what are your thoughts on this article + topic?
On Sunday we caught up on a long list of items to do around the house. I went for a run, then we snuggled on the couch to fast forward through the Oscars. We paused our DVR to do laundry, and while I usually am the baker in this house, Chris decided to make these easy peasy cookies I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. They only have five ingredients:
Five Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies (from MarthaStewart.com)
Active Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 25 min.
1 cup almond butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, stir together almond butter, chocolate chips, sugar, eggs, and salt until a dough forms.
2. Place 1-tablespoon mounds of dough 1-inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until puffed and tops are set, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Easy peasy right? They were actually quite good. On the gooey side, but I love that they have no flour, contain almond butter, and the only thing that is really bad for you is the 1/2 cup of brown sugar. What is not to love? Plus they only make 30 (2.5 dozen) so that means you do not have to eat through a few dozen cookies.
I do not really think about the idea of feeling mothered too often. Until a few weeks ago. I met a woman who calmed me. It was not anything she really did, but I wondered if the vibe she gave off was one of a “mother.” Random I know. This woman is slightly irrelevant to this post as I may never see her again, but the hour I spent with her began a chain of events in my thoughts over the course of the next few days. Mothers. Mothering. Lack of a mom. My mom passed away 20 years ago. I have lived more of my life without my mom then I did with her.
Yes there have always been individuals in my life that have “mothered” me in different ways. I have tears in my eyes as I remember the ones that had a lasting effect on me. And, while many of those that mothered me are not deeply present in my life today, they are still in some ways always present with me. I saw how they mothered their own children, how they loved me, or how they taught me to love. It is interesting for me to look back over those 20 years of the diverse mothering in my life.
Jump to today. I am a bit of a hard-core person. I go all into a project. Usually it is hard for me to stop until I am done. You know you can count on me, trust me, and that I will not let you down. But with being hard-core there is an intensity that I exude that sometimes is well: intense. This woman a few weeks ago calmed me for that hour. I have no idea why. I have no idea if I would like her, or if she would continue to have that effect on me. It makes me wonder about all my friends, family, and co-workers who have lost parents, siblings, friends, co-workers in their life. How do they continue to feel fathered, mothered, taken care of? Why did this women calm me?
Is it that I need more mothering in my life? Do I need to let go a bit and allow myself to be mothered? I guess it depends on what our definition of mothering truly is. Sometimes I think it is knowing that I could pick up the phone and cry, share of my day, or ask for advice. Other times it is to tell me that everything is going to be okay, or to tell me how proud she is of me. Whatever the definition, I imagine a good amount of us could use a bit more mothering in our life.
I can hardly believe that a year has gone by since my niece was born. I am an addicted aunt. She was walking around nine months, already knows how to clap, blow kisses, and is the silliest of kids (most likely thanks to her fun daddy). If only we lived closer.
To Charlie: “We would come and play with you, and take out your favorite red car (stroller), so you can babble and wave to everyone you pass. We would play the synthesizer together, and build with blocks, and make sure there are fun rides on your new cow (toy). Aunt Tami would be loud and make lots of noise to get you to laugh, and Uncle Chris would be the mellow man that he is and sit and play with you (quietly, unlike Aunt Tami).
You have a heart filled with so much love. I know it after hearing the stories about how you hug other kids and do not want to let go. You are so loved — we can tell from your day care pictures of all the kids surrounding you and calling you Char Char. Never a dull moment in your life. You love your cats, and mommy’s iPad and iPhone. Last but not least you are a sassy little one, just like your Aunt. We could never ask for anything more.
Happy 1st Birthday Charlie!”
Here are a few of my favorite photos of the year. You can see how much she has grown. Charlie, cannot wait to see what your next year will bring!
I found a print over the weekend via the fabulous, Elizabeth Gilbert that sums up what I think about a lot of things. It says: “Own your Shit.” I could never frame it and put it on the wall, as it has a bird on it, and I am not a fan of birds. I like the print because it says what I constantly have running through my head. To me “Own your Shit” means bring yourself 100% to your job, relationship, family, wherever in your life. Know who is counting on you, know what is expected of you, and bring it.
I struggle a lot with others that do not take accountability for their actions. If you say you are going to do something do it. Follow through. Think about the individual on the receiving end of what you need to do. Does your not following through leave them hanging? Does it make them look bad? Does it tell them you do not care?
When you drop the ball, own it. Put yourself out there and communicate that you did not own your shit. Let others know. You own it when you are transparent about when you did not come through. It gives you more credibility. When you do not own your shit, you can lose all credibility.
Whatever story you are telling yourself for why your life is more important, or what you need to do is more important than honoring your commitments, it is bullshit. Do what is your responsibility to do. Do not expect someone else to do it for you. Do not take the easy way out. Own it. Know it. Be it.