Thursday, February 24, 2011

go-to girl

My blogger friend Grace struck a chord with me today when she posted about being the "go-to" person in the family, especially when it comes to money.

Currently I am financially responsible for only myself and my son. However if something bad happens and I can no longer work and earn, it will force his dad to become more responsible with his own time and money, if possible. So in an indirect way I am the go-to parent, even though at this point in time no one is actually asking me for money.

I get bills that the dad doesn't:
Daycare - which is subsidized but there is a monthly bill to pay plus I have to meet with the social worker twice a year to insure continuation in the program
Dental and prescriptions - which I have benefits to cover but I have to pay the bill before I can get reimbursed.
School - always seems to be nickle and diming me for fundraisers, PLUS I have to come up with a lunch the kid will actually eat, which I try to keep cheap and healthy
Car (gas, maintenance, insurance) - which I might not have if I did not have a kid, plus it sure is handy to have me pick Bean up and drop him off at the bus station since his dad does not have a car
Apartment - I definately would not be living here if I did not have Bean, since it is expensive with two bedrooms

I am not trying to complain, because my life is far richer with my son a part of it. I complain about the reality sometimes but I am still grateful for what I have.

What I try to focus on sometimes is my idea of our future. At this point I contribute to a life insurance plan that Bean can cash in when he gets to his twenties. I also put aside a small amount for his education. I think the biggest most important thing I am currently doing is paying off my debt so that I will have cash in hand for the times that he needs it. Once I have my debts paid off I can aggressively save, and the savings will be for Bean as well as for myself.

Most importantly, I want to teach him to be responsible with money, and to not fill his life with "needs" that are costly and wasteful. One of my strategies is to do almost all the shopping while he is in school or at his dad's, so that he doesn't get "the buys" or learn how to indulge in retail therapy.

I know there's a possibility that everything I teach him can be undone by his dad, but I am doing the best I can here.

Seriously, Karissa

Monday, February 07, 2011

to do this week:

Make banana bread in my crock pot.

Seriously, Karissa

Thursday, February 03, 2011

over-toyed

My kid is one of the ones that holds on. I mean, he likes to keep everything: tiny scraps of paper, sticks and rocks from outside, and toys that he hasn't looked at or thought about for over a year. Currently I have two or three boxes on the go with toys that he has outgrown, but I have not made the time nor had the inclination to decide what to do with them. Options are donation to his daycare, to a friend's daycare, to a friend's baby, or to the Salvation Army. The best toys I can bring down to the consignment shop at the other end of town, along with his size two PJs and last year's winter clothes. I consider them all, and do nothing.

Since xmas we have been tripping over toys, old and new. Bean discovered one of the "hidden" boxes in the hall closet and was upset to learn that I was planning to give them away. He whined and said, "but I'll miss them ... I love them all" to which I frustratingly responded that he hadn't even thought of any of those toys in  months and months. I told him about my friends' new babies, and how much they would love his barely-touched baby toys, and he became really sad and told me he didn't want to part with them.

Meanwhile he has a box FULL of trucks and Transformers (and Transformers that turn into trucks) from xmas that he has barely touched. His favourite toys lately are his large-sized Legos and his Mega Blocks, with which he makes his own Transformers and his real favourites, Bakugans* (this was a whole lot of product endorsement for which I am not compensated). He also has a really cool V-Tech kids camera, and is enjoying running around taking pictures of life as he knows it.

Little kids need a lot of hype in order to convince them that something is worthwhile. Bean hates his swimming lessons but when he is in the pool I keep a huge grin on my face and whenever he looks over at me I clap my hands in applause and he perks up a bit. When I took him ice skating over the xmas break he cried in fear and I had to take him off the ice but as I was undoing his skates I told him that he did an amazing job out there, and now he doesn't mind the idea of trying to skate again. Maybe. When he came home from his dad's with his new camera I got a true brain spark and said excitedly, "I KNOW! Why don't you take pictures of all your baby toys, and that way you can remember them forever and ever!"

All of a sudden I was Mom of the Year (it's going to be a long year). So yesterday while we were snowed in we first picked up all the Legos and other toys that made their way into the living room, vacuumed the carpet, and set out the contents of one box of baby toys. We took pics of them all together and individually. As I packed them back up he got sad again and said he would miss them, so I let him pick out one toy to keep. He picked the stacking animal rings and I gave it some new batteries and he took it to his room and then ignored it for the rest of the day.

I still haven't moved the box of toys out, because now I am afraid that if he looks at his pics he will become sad and make me feel guilty for giving away a (very very) small part of his babyhood.

Seriously, Karissa