Friday, September 12, 2008

I Dare You to Put an Hourly Wage on Mothering!

Money is a funny subject with the Heathen Family. It's funny because if we didn't laugh about it, the subject would suck away our joy like a ... a giant joy sucking vacuum. Our family is constantly on the precipice of financial ruin. Is funny, no? The fact is, we choose to live this way, sort of. I could get a job and work part-time, shuffling Violet from Grandma to TeeTee when Aaron wasn't home, but then I would be sad. I mean, I would need to be medicated. When I do the math on what I might expect to receive in the way of hourly compensation, I become indignant. My time is worth way more than $10 an hour (what my last job payed). I can accomplish all of the following in a really productive 60 minutes:
1. Do a load of laundry.
2. Make a meal.
3. Read 5-10 picture books.
4. Wipe things/ people repeatedly.

That list does not look like $10 to me. It cannot be valued. It is priceless. I am priceless. Of course, I can also accomplish nearly nothing tangible in a less productive 60 minutes:
1. Cuddle with Violet.
2. Stare into space.
3. Pinch various parts of Violet's adorable anatomy (they don't allow that in daycare I hear)
4. Blog

There is some really complicated philosophical math going on here, but in a nutshell:
I am worth more at home than I am at work.

I don't want to toot my own horn, but I make all the fun possible in this house. Sure, Aaron makes the money to buy groceries and pay bills and purchase the occasional plaything, but I'm the one who plays, dances, cooks, cleans, kisses, reads, wipes, blah, blah, blah. If I had a job, we might have a little more money, but we would have no time for all of the things that we enjoy most as a family. So, what am I teaching my child about high finance? Nothing. Violet is the one doing all the teaching right now. She's the one who showed us that money is absolutely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Time is what matters. Violet can love an expensive toy for a day or two, but she'll spend her whole childhood enjoying the time she has with us (and a cardboard box or two). As for practical learning about the use and management of money? Violet and I will learn about that together, starting with her piggy bank (and a little professional guidance)and we'll fill Daddy in on our progress along the way.

The Parent Bloggers Network and Capital One are sponsoring a contest on teaching kids about money. It got me thinking about my own lack of sophistication in the economic arts and how that might ultimately affect my child.

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