Today my 10 year-old asked me if she could save up and buy a kiddie pool to put in the back yard.
My mommy mercenary ears went a-buzzing! Cheap labor! A way out of doing housework chores I have been dreading! Yeah!
“Sure, sweetheart. Do you want to start today?”
“Do you mean ‘money jobs’?” Like she thought this dream might take a long time to realize. No, sweetie. We can make this happen now!
I offered to pay her a dollar each for doing various assignments. Here’s what she ultimately did at a buck a pop.
* Mop the kitchen floor (Sticky from red slush melted and partially dried)
* Straighten her bedroom (Which had her little sisters’ clothes and pull ups all over)
* Pick up the back yard (Decorated with yucky mess)
* Pull weeds in the side yard (The sheer number of thorns in this climate is dumbfounding)
* Make cookies (Which I shouldn’t’ve asked her to do. Cookies are my NeMESiS!)
* Wipe off the stovetop (Let’s just not even imagine how bad it was before)
* Do the lunch dishes (Did I mention I made homemade cream of mushroom soup today? Gray soup. Bless her.)
* Fold a batch of laundry (Her own. I let her off easy)
That, altogether, added up to just 50-cents less than she needed to earn for her kiddie pool, when added to the money she’d already saved up. I’ll have to think of one more chore.
This brought to mind the situation a few years ago when my oldest son wanted to earn money for a DSi video game thingy. I actually didn’t want him to have one, so I said he could get it if he earned all the money for it. Am I the only parent of a determined child who has made this mistake? Serious underestimation.
Despite my horrible, cruel efforts to thwart him (like paying him 25 cents to clean chicken droppings off the floor of the entire sunporch back when I was crazy enough to let my husband talk me into joining the “urban chicken movement”, and another 25 cents to do all these awful jobs like clean out the whole garage), he achieved the full purchase price after several weeks.
Since then, I have softened a bit, I guess. Or else it’s just that a kiddie pool sounds a lot less … brain-sucking than a Nintendo game system. The price per-job has inflated quite a bit since then, too. Ah, the joy of being able to do things on my own whim.
So today was a major case of “everybody wins” because as she did all the chores I’d been avoiding myself, I had a chance to get my lesson ready for church tomorrow, go buy dog food, pull *other* weeds, and get three more pages done on my current writing WIP — which puts me at the halfway point! Yeah! Can’t express what a relief that is, after a rough couple of weeks finding time to write at all.
Daughters are fabulous.
Only downside: we have to now go to WalMart on a Saturday afternoon to procure her prize.
(Almost negates all the positives of this situation.)
Glad I’m not the only one doing that! haha But mine are a lot younger so there’s only so much you can ask of them…. We have chickens and I have my kids get the eggs and wash the poop off of ’em. >:D But half the time our Boxer is fighting them for the eggs so there are only a handful that make it inside in one piece. haha Fun post!
Ah, the chicken years. I know what you mean about fighting the other animals for eggs. Our chickens ultimately drew skunks (who ate the eggs nightly) and one night the chickens were screaming and woke me up. I thought a child was being attacked in our back yard. I had to go out and shoo away the skunk (and save that bird’s life.) (Felt like a pioneeress heroine.)
We don’t have chickens now.
Really enjoyed reading this post, Jen! My girls are getting old enough to start getting paid for some of the chores they do is they want to purchase certain things. Working for pay instills in children a good work ethic – work for what you want – and they also tend take better care of the things they bought with the money they EARNED, than if someone just gave them the item. Well done, Jennifer!
Thanks, Elsie. I agree! They do seem to take better care of earned items. Case in point: same 10 yo’s Kindle. She sat on the one she got for Christmas. Lasted under a week. (Which was sad because it was basically her only Christmas gift.) Then for four months she saved and saved and earned and earned, and the one she got two weeks ago? She babies that thing.
It’s good. You’re right!
And I don’t take credit here. I was the lazy one just being my bossy self: clean the kitchen, make the cookies, etc.
I think the character from literature I identify with most has got to be Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. She sits in her chair all day and tells people what to do. (That or Mrs. Bennet from P&P. The chronic overreactor.)
Yeah! Thanks Mom!