A lot of mothers — both married and single — sometimes do without to make sure their children get what they need or want.
As a mom, I know this to be true.
A story in today’s New York Times just bears this out.
Moms, it seems, are putting off their own needs to make sure their kids get their Christmas wish lists fulfilled, according to the story “To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without.”
Moms, does this resonate with you?
Do you put off buying things for yourself or doing things for yourself to ensure that your children are taken care of and have what they need?
Do you put off exercise and doing other things for yourself because of your children’s schedule or routine?
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My husband keeps saying we’re in a recession, we need to save money, we’re heading toward a depression.
I hear him. I hear the news. I see the effects of the financial crisis around me. People are worried.
Our children are aware, too. They listen to us talk, and I don’t want to scare them, but it’s good they know what’s going on … why Mommy might be a little hesitant to buy a spur-of-the-moment trinket.
Our youngest daughter, after hearing this topic discussed, selected a cheaper party favor for her birthday party. “Is this one OK, Mommy? It’s cheaper.” It kind of broke my heart, but it also made me proud that she is trying to help.
It’s not that our family has made major cutbacks yet. But we are considering our purchases more and thinking, “Do we really need this.”
I had told the girls I would shop for a new dining room table - we’ve used a card table with folding chairs for more than three years. (Some people are shocked by this, but I didn’t want to buy something frivolously) I also told the kids we would even look at some new bedroom furniture.
But this weekend I had second thoughts. … I listened to the news, the bleak picture, the bailout plan. Maybe we should wait just a little while longer to buy new furniture, I told them.
So, before I went to the grocery store, I clipped my coupons, made my list and tried to keep to the list as much as possible. I canceled a hair appointment. I cooked stew this weekend and made plans to cook more at home.
These are little things, but I’m trying to do my part. And, if my kids can learn something from it, I hope it’s a positive lesson, one about trying to make a difference in our own budget and learning that you don’t always go get something just because you want it. — Linda Lynn
My four-year-old son earlier this week brought home his school’s first fundraiser (sort of): a Scholastic Book Club flyer.
While it provided a great opportunity to buy inexpensive books without leaving my house, I also felt somewhat guilty.
I assumed there will be other club flyers this year, so I only bought three books. I also assumed his mother would buy books.
However, would I be a bad parent if I didn’t buy at least one item from my son’s school fundraisers, including $1 books from the Scholastic Book Club? I’m a newbie at the whole public school thing.
Any help would be appreciated.
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— Brian Sargent
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The school year was only a week old when I saw it: the dreaded packet that meant it was time to start hawking gift wrap, candies, candles and other expensive trinkets all to benefit my daughter’s school. Then yesterday, I received an email from a good friend with pictures attached. Surely they were of her cute kids. I was partially right. It was two pictures of her adorable son, fresh from his third day of kindergarten asking for people to go online and buy from his school fundraiser. His class can get an ice cream party if everybody participates and he wants to win a flying stuffed pig. Honestly, the approach is very parent friendly. Go online, click on what you want to buy, enter the student’s ID number and voila! No door knocking for kids or parents. No going desk-to-desk at work and trying to collect money. Personally, I prefer the approach I found tucked into my daughter’s fundraiser envelope, which invited parents to simply write a check to the school. Still, I’ll no doubt pass around the fundraising catalog and buy from the other kids we know. After all, it’s for a worthy cause. But I hope my daughter doesn’t win a flying stuffed pig. — Christy Watson
Shopping for school supplies can be more than an errand, it can be a great learning experience for your child.Parenting expert Michele Borba recommends having your child help you make a list of supplies, then look for store flyers to find the best deals. Younger children that can’t write can cut out photos of the supplies they want.
Together you can make a budget with your child, and then hit the store to gather the goodies. Borba said allowing your child to pay for the items (using a gift card or your credit card) also can help teach them financial responsibility.
Borba also recommends that families stock up on supplies that are real bargains. Sure you may only need five notebooks, but if they are 5-cents each, why not buy 50?
What advice do you have for buying school supplies? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I found wire bound notebooks for 10 cents each and got one in each color! I considered a Hannah Montana backpack, but decided it didn’t go with most of my work attire. I don’t remember what to do with a compass, but really really crave one.
Now is a great time to stock up on supplies, for you or your child. I think many stores undercut the prices of many basics just to get you in the door. Of course, they hope you’ll buy other things as well.
What are the best buys you’ve found? Have you splurged any? Comment here or e-mail me at email@example.com
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
In theory, it sounds great. Work four 10-hour days and then get a three-day weekend. Who wouldn’t love that?
But for parents that depend on child care, it can be a nightmare. Many daycares charge the same whether your child is there four days or five. And not all are open long enough hours for parents who travel any distance to work.
I could work 7 to 5, but if daycare doesn’t open until 7 a.m. or later, I’d never make it to my desk on time. Plus, I really wouldn’t want my kid to be class for 10 hours each day.
What do you think? Are four-day and 40-hour work weeks a fit for your family?
Yippee for the Yippee Yi Yo Show!
My family went to this variety stage show for kids on Saturday at the City Arts Center Theatre. The theatre is in the State Fair Park, which made it easy to get to and park. Tickets were $10 at the door (they were $8 in advance) and worth every penny.
Most of the children at the show sat on mats in front of the stage, where they were encouraged to sing along with the performers, which included show regulars Cowboy Frank, Wild Bald Billy and Harmony Jane, along with special guest Sara Hickman, an Austin singer/songwriter who wowed kids and parents alike.
We had a blast, and for only $10 a ticket. Compare that to the price of a Hannah Montana show or Sesame Street Live.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I’m taking my daughter to the upcoming Jonas Brothers concert. I know, I know. It’s a splurge.
My husband’s already mentioned the cost to me several times. (He calls them the “Donut Brothers.” He just doesn’t understand.) But I want to indulge Katie, 13, a little in what has teetered between a youthful crush and a small-time obsession. (Afterall, we missed the Hannah Montana concert. Yes, I’m still a little miffed at the whole experience of trying to buy those elusive seats.)
So, pricey, yes. But this is something she will remember when she gets older.
She’s excited. Her friends are excited.
But not everyone has tickets to this exciting summer concert. So, Katie’s friends enlisted her help recently when a local radio station was having a call-in to win Jonas Brothers tickets. You just had to be the 100-and-something caller to win.
She checked with me first. That was sweet. …. I said it was OK.
So she and her little sister, Kaci, pitched in to start calling, and I went on about my business.
A little later Katie came back and asked, “Is it costing money if I stay on the phone?” No, it’s a local call.
She was relieved, explaining that Kaci had been waiting on the phone for 15 minutes, but the line was busy. …
… It took a few seconds, and then I began to chuckle and explained to her that if the line is busy, you have to hang up and call again.
“oh, man,” she said.
Needless to say, she didn’t win more tickets. …
– Linda Lynn
The vacation spot that looked so good in those glossy brochures is a distant memory.
By mid-April, as I watched the fuel prices climb, the “Big summer vacation” quickly became “What vacation? Did I say we were going on vacation?”
The good news is we don’t have to spend a lot of money to have some fun. It’s a fact that most good moms and dads must pass on to their children.
Sissy Osteen, Oklahoma State University associate professor and resource management specialist with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, knows where I’m coming from.
She offers the following suggestions for spending time together without overspending:
1. Do your homework. Be smart. Many hotels and resorts are offering rebates on gasoline and airfare. Go online and look for deals. While on the road, a motel pool is cheap entertainment for children and a free continental breakfast for a family of five is $50 that can go into the gas tank.
Above all, if you haven’t budgeted for a trip, don’t succumb to the temptation of using credit cards to pay for it.
2. Stay close to home. Route 66 still offers kicks. The car is still the cheapest formof family transportation and Oklahoma has more miles of the historic roadway to explore than any other state. Visit destinations the family can reach and return home in a single day, and pack a picnic lunch to save on food expenses. Also communities throughout the state offer a wealth of free summer festivals and celebrations.
3. Let’s get together. Growing average life expectancy means retirement is getting longer for Americans. Hobbies are essential to happiness during retirement. This summer pursue an activity the entire family can share for many years. Begin learning to play tennis, golf or another sport. Learn to play a musical instrument. Take a class together. Buy cameras from a second-hand store and take up photography.
4. Not just for kids. The summer reading program at the public library is an experience the entire family can enjoy. So are volunteer programs. Teach children the rewards of philanthropy by involving the family in a community service activity this summer.
— Carla Hinton