November 01, 2007

Filthy Lucre

When I took three years off from waged work in order to stay home with our little man, I was surprised to discover that one of the hardest parts was, well, the lack of wages.

It wasn't that we were desperate for money. (I'm a confirmed miser, so we had some savings, and planned to run through them. One of my friends (bless her heart) said, "Well, if you wouldn't spend savings on that, what would you spend savings on?")

But depending entirely on those savings and the earnings of my partner was really hard on me. I felt like I couldn't buy anything without justifying it to myself six ways from Sunday. And now that I'm back in the work force, paydays are some of my very favorites.

I'm not sure what all this means, but I do think it bears reflecting on. Especially as we think about our son's relationship to money.

When I was growing up, discussing some of the money-related details of life just wasn't done (at least in my WASPish family). If someone asks me what our mortgage payment is, I'm likely to bristle. But surely keeping kids completely in the dark about the financial realities that underpin our lives isn't the way to go, either. I recently had cause to ask my home town credit union how long I've been a member there; my parents opened an account for me when I was six! (I had a bank account once, but have since gone back to credit unions, which I consider to be vastly superior; don't even get me started.)

How do you think about money and parenting? I'd love to hear.

14 comments:

Jenn said...

We don't know how our son (6) became obsessed with money. "Everybody should just give me money. I love money! I need more money so I can buy toys." Surely it's something we did or said, but we can't track it down. I hope his head won't explode on the day that he understands that we actually give money to organizations that help families that don't have enough to eat etc.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think all children should be enabled to develop a sensible relationship with money. I think there's equal responsibility on parents and schools. I guess there's also need for lessons on anti-consumerism too but I know that wouldn't be seen universally as a good idea!

Ther said...

My nieces seem to have a good sense of it. I bought them coin banks that either barks or moo when a coin is dropped into it. They started saving more just to hear the dog bark or the cow moo regularly. I don't know if it did instill a good sense of money to them. But at least they're saving something. =)

tumblewords said...

Nice response to this prompt - it's always such a fine line between too little and just right.

Wendy said...

gosh, shelley, i have to tell you i've been feeling so weird about money. i've always worked, ALWAYS, and now as a SAHM, i feel like i'm in a financial void. i try to barter when i can. i've even traded one of my bracelets for some ashley goldberg prints for satchel's room.

it's really making me question my sense of worth...i didn't realize how much having an income played upon my sense of worth.

(sigh)

i've been pondering this issue for quite some time now.

would love to hear more about your realizations.

Catherine said...

Children do need to learn about money, but it needs to be at a level they can cope with. I can imagine children getting very anxious if parents shared too much of their money concerns.
We introduced Christmas stockings from Santa in our house, and filled them with little things like sellotape, balloons, chocolate coins etc. We thought that the children should know Mum and Dad gave the big presents, so they didn't have an unrealistic idea about what Santa might give them

Redness said...

You've raised an excellent point! Pocket money and saving is a great start for a momentous task - Good Luck!

paisley said...

it sounds as if on some level you equate money with freedom...

gautami tripathy said...

My nieces and nephews do know the value of money. They get allowances are gifts and s[pend those on something they really need. I for one seldom give them money as gifts but do buy them what they need. They don't make demands which are outrageous.

forgetfulone said...

I felt that "miserly" way when I took ONE year off from work when I remarried and relocated to a new area. It was tough.

Patois said...

I am amazed at how less my children are left in the dark regarding money compared to how much my parents left us in the dark when we were kids. Nice take on the promt.

Secret Agent Mama said...

We teach our children to value money as it comes by hardwork, not easily. They each have their own accounts and we encourage them to save as much as possible. My sons are very good with saving, my daughter likes to spend. I wonder if it's a girl vs. boy thing! LOL

Lisa said...

It's a tough job to teach kids about the values of money, especially in a society where the line seems to become blurred between need and want of things. And also where money is portrayed as a need to be happy.

UL said...

It makes sense to make children aware of properly utilizing money, so they can grow into responsible adults - esp. when it comes to spending.