Earning Their Keep

I will never forget my first trip to Mothercare when I was 5 months pregnant with Teen Queen. How much for a packet of Pampers? Sorry? How can you justify more than a fortnight’s wages on a pram?! Stressed Husband and I didn’t have a clue where to start and so enlisted the help of an assistant who resembled a ‘kind aunty’ and who, unbeknownst to her, changed our lives forever: “Oh, you must have plenty of breast pads and remember, muslin cloths are a life-saver” Stressed Husband and I just followed her like robotic sheep, popping strange item after even stranger item into our trolley. We didn’t have a clue what half the paraphernalia was that we were buying, or how to use it. All I knew was that once we got to the checkout SH grew white as he emptied his wallet and as I looked down at the expensive Russell and Bromley pumps I’d worked hard for (I could see past my bump if I stuck my foot out) I realised my spending days were over. Well, no actually. My spending days on me were over, but on the bump, they were just beginning…

Fast forward a few years and as our brood grew, we got used to the change in our spending habits. Now there were 5 of us, we spent more than we ever did but not on things we particular liked; gone were the romantic meals for two at fashionable restaurants, instead it was plastic meals out at dodgy eateries with plucky names like Wacky Warehouse or Charlie Chalks, where we sacrificed quality of food for the gaudy, germ ridden ball pit that kept the kids amused and us free to knock back the wine in a restaurant where the kids didn’t moan about being bored. In or house, the motto definitely was: “happy kids, happy parents” and so that was the way of life in the Writeonmum household until now…

Not that we don’t want our kids to be happy, of course we do, but now that Teen Queen is 18 and My Boy 16, it is definitely time that we got some – as Lord Sugar would put it – return in our investment…or at least a little help and a break from the constant emptying of our purses for singing lessons, football tickets, nights out, days out, new shoes, festivals, new shoes again…the list, as any parent of teenagers knows, really is endless.  Be warned parents with toddlers, it’s much more expensive than having little ones. And so, resulting from the conversation below, SH and I felt things were going to have to change…

My Boy: Ere mum, I bet my mate Barcelona would beat Chelsea

Me, reading magazine and not listening too intently: That’s nice.

My Boy: Yeah, but Barcelona lost.

Me: And…

My Boy: So, I bet him that if they lost I’d have my eyebrow piereced.

Me:……YOU WHAT?! 

My Boy: So, like, I’ve been checking online and it’s gonna cost, like, £30 or £40 quid. And I’ve spent my birthday money so can you pay for it?

Me: CENSORED (this is a family blog, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you how the conversation went, though I shall leave that to your imagination).

And now, after ‘The Talk’ which, summed up,  pretty much told the teens that if they didn’t start earning their own money then they weren’t going to get any from us. They could stamp their feet, sulk (oh my, they are good at that), swear (under their breath or in their room), or hate us, but we were not going to keep dishing it out for them to have everything their little hearts desired. Been there. Done that. So, now My Boy is working hard at weekends on our new house to pay for his eyebrow piercing!

And Queen Teen has just got a job as a waitress in a local restaurant.But judging by her list of Clothes I Need – I love how she writes need rather than want as if her life actually depends on it – I’m really hoping they are paying her well.

What about Little Angel? Well, she is obsessed with making videos and movies and is saving up her pocket money for some high-tech editing software that costs an arm and a leg and is only compatible with an iPad or iMac, which costs the other arm and leg. I tried explaining to her that perhaps she should be aiming slightly lower – else, totting up her allowance, she’ll be saving until she’s at least 20! But she said ‘It’s okay, daddy will help me pay’.  Uh-oh, I think I can feel ‘The Talk’ coming on…


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