Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sometimes I forget that he is still a child

One of the best things about being a single parent is the close relationship that I have with my son. We are best friends and talk about everything. He doesn't feel the need to hide anything from me and I have always told him that we are a team. We plan vacations together rather than me telling him where we are going. The last time we moved it was an open discussion. We have lengthy talks about conservation and how together we can save the world.

One of the worst things about being a single parent is the financial struggle that seems to never go away. I still remember how happy I was when he was potty trained. Woo-hoo, no more expensive diapers and daycare rates went down. I had conquered what I thought was a major mountain at the time, only to find out a year later that it was one of many small hills. His feet kept growing, which meant new shoes and his appetite continues to grow, which means higher grocery bills. Lord help me when he becomes a teenager!

He knows that when we go to Target it doesn't mean he gets a new video game every time. He knows that when we go to the grocery store he can't have his favorite tortellini unless it is on sale. He knows that when we go to the zoo he doesn't get to buy a new book every time.

When he says, "Mom, I can't wait until we have enough money to  ..."
I stop in my tracks and gasp. My heart sinks. I think why are these words even coming out of his mouth? He should not be worried about this. He should be worried about how long he can stay outside playing or how late I will let him stay up on the weekend.

I don't believe in holding things back from him - I never have. Many people disagree with me about this, but I think he is a better person for knowing the value of a dollar. He knows buying food and paying rent comes before buying a new video game. He gave up his birthday to raise money for the tigers. He is years ahead of his age at times - but sometimes I forget that he is still a child.

Teaching to live within our means is one thing. Sharing too much information and having a child worry is another.

I may be able to have adult conversations with my son about a million things, but starting today money is no longer one of them. As parents we often forget that children pick up on our stress and it becomes their stress. They have a lifetime ahead of them to deal with stress - let them be kids for as long as they can.

Have you ever noticed your child picking up on your stress?

1 comment:

  1. It is such a hard line to walk with kids! We too struggle with it.

    I've been working really hard lately at teaching the kids why it is wise to be frugal with spending (like on groceries), so that we can use that money for other things.

    It's a hard one. Hang in there... they weren't kidding when they told us parenting is the hardest job on the planet, but the most rewarding!