My biggest budget busters are enrichment activities for my four children. I want to spark their joy for living and have them sample different sports and hobbies.
Currently they attend a private school that is academically aggressive, and each takes piano lessons. The boys take karate and the girls, ballet. They are also involved in sports, as well as theatre productions at school―none of which is free. We are a one-income family and I stay home with our four children. Our finances are very tight and we end up using credit to make it through the month. It sounds simple enough to just put my children in public school and drop all the extras, but my mommy-guilt says NO. I want the best for my kids. Any advice? Tricia, email
The definition of “guilt” is “remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense.” You have not committed any offense so I don’t think this is about guilt. You are experiencing fear of failing as a parent. The best way to get rid of fear is to replace it with power. And power comes through knowledge.
Experts tell us it is not good for kids to be overstimulated by things or activities. You can push kids to the brink of despair by over-involving them in sports, music, karate, dance and aggressive academia all at the same time. That you are going into debt to enable all of this is even more troubling.
Psychologists say parents who overindulge their kids may actually be setting them up to be more vulnerable to future anxiety and depression. For sure all of the activities are putting your kids under a lot of pressure to perform and to also excel.
Twenty years from now your worth as a parent will not be measured by the number of activities your kids were in, the scores on their SATs or the trophies on their shelves. It will be measured by the depth of their character and the way they live their lives. As for school, don’t ever assume a teacher—public or private, secular or Christian—can take your place when it comes to passing values to your children.
I suggest you allow each child to pick one activity and then make sure they have plenty of free time to just be kids. As for school, I am a huge proponent of public schools and encourage you to get involved with yours should you send your children there.
My daughter is engaged to a man who refuses to find a job. He is 23 and lives with his parents. My daughter pays all of their dating expenses, her car payment, insurance and so forth. He sleeps until noon, plays computer games all day and then waits for her to pick him up. She thinks that as her mother I am supposed to pay for her wedding. I say I’m not putting one solitary dime into a wedding to a man who won’t work. What do you think?
Hold your ground and tell your daughter all the reasons you cannot support this marriage. Is there a therapist or family counselor she would speak with? There’s some reason she is willing to settle for so little in a husband and father for her children. I hope she figures it out before she makes the biggest mistake of her life.
Question: Have you ever been in Tricia’s situation? How did your family resolve things? Tell us here.
Subscribe to email updates today and you’ll receive a link to download my brand new e-book, The Best of Everyday Cheapskate, FREE.
You’ll enjoy excerpts from each of my bestselling e-books to help you get onboard with saving time and money every day!