Author: obsessivemom

Raising Financially Savvy Tweens

Raising Financially Savvy Tweens

The annual visit to the hometown means the children come back loaded with cash. That their birthday is round the corner and that this is the only opportunity for both sets of grandparents to pamper them silly, makes it only worse.

Last year they collected huge amounts of money from various relatives and then had huger arguments over what was to be done with it. I vetoed all their plans and amidst an epic battle deposited it all in the bank.

This year I categorically banned everyone at home from giving them cash. And if someone (who I wasn’t able to intimidate) did hand them some, I appropriated it right away and directed it into their accounts.

Very high handed of me, I know. But I do dislike the constant obsessive discussions about money with little thought for saving.

When the children were younger I tried to get them to save but it didn’t quite work out. And I gave up on the idea.

As they turn eleven perhaps this is the right time to give the money thing another serious shot. I’ve considered giving them pocket money as also paying them for household chores but I’ve not been able to work out the How of it. The questions that bother me are:

How much and how frequently should they get pocketmoney?
Also, how do we demarcate what it should be used it for?
Should I pay them for household chores?
If I do, how do I prevent them from putting a price on ALL household chores?
Or refusing the ones they aren’t paid for?

After much research and thought here are ideas that I think might work for me:

1. Start giving them pocket money (a small amount maybe Rs50 or Rs100 a month). They can use it for candies or small stationery. As I see it, that is all they should need to shop for on their own.

2. Make a Spending Jar and a Saving Jar. I loved the concept. To prod them towards saving I will offer to double whatever their Saving Jar has at the end of the month. Also, whatever goes into the Saving Jar goes straight to their accounts unless they need the money for a specific purpose like a birthday or an anniversary.

3. Take them to the bank and let them handle their Pass Books so they feel a sense of ownership for the money rather than thinking, ‘Mum took it away’.

4. Make them my Financial Assistants: Let them participate in day to day handling of money – for instance when we go grocery shopping or out to places like McDonald’s. They can do the Math, pay the bill and give me an account.

5. Our apartment complex lets kids put up stalls for Children’s Day. So they could put up a stall and try to work out the Profit/Loss. We used to have things like this in school where we’d put up stalls of Bhelpuri or Aaloo chaat – simple things that we could make and sell. In fact, it isn’t a bad idea to get more children involved in this initiative.

6. Involve them in household budgeting, specially for special events. I intend to start right away with their birthday – planning the expenses and deciding how much should be spent on what.

This post is rather exploratory and I know this really isn’t enough but I hope to make a start. I’d love to hear your views on how you get your children to understand about spending and saving. Have any of you tried paying them for household chores? What kind of chores did you give them? Was it a monthly thing? How did you handle it if they missed a day or a few days?

I’d love for you to share.

 

Linking up with  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments. Do drop by for ideas from other mums.
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Birthday shopping and strange choices

Birthday shopping and strange choices

 

The twins celebrate their birthday this week and we’ve been out shopping. The thing is, generally I pick out clothes for them on my own. And it works fine for us. We rarely shop together. But come June and they want to choose their clothes for the big day.

I like shopping. Or at least I used to think I liked shopping till I started doing it for the children, with the children. Now I just plain dread it. Do read my previous post on my experience in the mall.

If you’ve read the post and are back here you’ll know how I feel. Of course the children have grown since then however one thing remains the same – my firm belief that shopping and kids do not mix.

But something’s just have to be done. Hence, it is with great trepidation that we set out for the shopping trip and with even greater apprehension that I enter that first store. In the girls’ section we look for a place for H to make himself comfortable. We move onto the dresses the and N likes one almost instantly which I think is borderline over the top – a white frothy concoction with shiny lace. I prefer another one in a slightly muted colour, a lovely colour, if I may add. She tries both. Pictures are promptly dispatched to the aunt who is perceived as the more fashionable one. (Seriously!) She okays the daughter’s choice. I give in, glad to have gotten over with it in the very first store. We keep the dress aside and walk to another floor to look for the son’s clothes.

The salesman shows all kinds of fancy shirts – formal ones, informal ones, jackets, hoodies as also trousers, shorts and what not. He looks at them, rejects most, tries a few then says no to the rest of them too. I want a plain tee, he keeps insisting. The salesman pulls out all kinds of plain tees but they are all rejected. No one can fathom what he wants.

Never mind, I console myself at least one is done. Down we go to pick up N’s dress. And she refuses to buy it. Just refuses.
What if I find something l like better in the next store, she argues.
But there will always be better clothes out there somewhere, I reason. if you like this one, take it.
She digs in her heels, No she says, I want to check out more shops.

So we leave the dress and go on.

We spend an hour and half sorting through scores of clothes in scores of shops with an extremely bored H dragging his feet, disappearing in the lanes and by lanes looking for ‘something to eat’. And then when we would finish with one shop we would have to go looking for him before we entered the next one. He didn’t find any food and nor did we find another dress. So back we go to the same store, pick up the same dress (which mercifully was still there) and we are half way through.

We then head to a nearby mall for a quick lunch. H spots a branded sports store and drags me there. He picks out a jersey set.
This is what I want, says he with absolute certainty.

What? A teeshirt and a pair of shorts? That, by the way, cost way more than the daughter’s dress and don’t look half as as glam.

It’s their birthday, I remind myself, even as the son is saying the same thing on a loop. So we buy the jersey and head home after a good four hours. I’m not complaining though, I’ve been let off relatively easily this year.

Wait for their birthday pictures people – while she will be looking like a frothy concoction out of a fairytale, he is prepared to look his own version of Messy on the football field.

Choices I tell you!

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Of friends and friendships

Of friends and friendships

Really, writing a post on friends and friendship is so very hard. Not because one doesn’t have much to say but because everything that one would say has already been said, over and over again, till all that remains is a bunch of tired clichés.

I’ve written about it often enough too. Friends have helped me become less judgemental, more accepting. They’ve helped me try out new things, offered a shoulder to cry on, heard out my rants and made me stick to resolutions.

As you grow older you move on from having a single all-purpose BFF, so to say, to a vast category of friends. As I try to write about some of them I’ll go with those that are top of my mind now.

It’s been a week since I got back from my hometown but I’m still a bit hungover so School Friends are bound to top the list. They are the best kind, aren’t they? I mean how can you not be friends with the girl whose plait got yanked by the teacher along with yours? Quite like Krishna yanked the reins of those horses in the battlefield of  Kurukshetra. School friends have been witness to the ultimate insults heaped upon you and not believed a single one of them. They are the ones who’ve known you from the time you were a plump tween battling the bulge and, if you are lucky, they are still with you as you turn into a middle age woman battling the bulge.

The thing is – to them it doesn’t matter.

They only remember you as the girl whose mum made the most smashing tiffin, the one who made a Bollywood parody out of Macbeth, or the one who could touch her tongue to her nose or one who couldn’t stop laughing even when she was sent out of class.

Those are the things that matter to them and that’s why they are special.

Neighbourhood friends were an integral part of my childhood but then as I grew and got caught up in academics and work I thought I’d didn’t need them at all, where was the time? Life seems to have come a full circle and I cannot imagine what I’d do without them.

 

Neighbours might not all be the sexy kind but they’re still a blessing

They are the ones who host you the time the door bangs shut just as you step out to put the trash. They also give you the number of the keymaker and assure you, you looked just fine in your frumpy faded nightdress. They take your couriers when you’re not around and even hand over the COD amount.
 They make rangolis at your doorstep and light diyas for you when you’re out for Diwali.
They’re the ones who hear/see your Taraka avatar with the children. They not only keep your secret but also keep loving you despite that.

How did I ever do without them!

And finally my very favourite kind – the Slightly Crazy-so-not-my-type of friends. This one is a bit of a peculiarity because you are pretty much poles apart and yet you connect at some strange level – the level headedness of one balancing the craziness of the other, mixing excitement and caution for a perfect cocktail that keeps you high but holds you back from going over the edge. These are the friends who got me to do things I’d never have done on my own. Things I would have wished I had done but never actually gone out and taken the plunge. But for them I would never have trekked to a fort with zero level of fitness, run a marathon (not a full one, just a baby one but id did get me walking), bought dangerously high heels or joined a Zumba class. What fun all of that turned out to be. I might soon be heading to Spanish class rather than slogging it out on Youtube as I’d originally planned.

Life would drab and dull without these crazy ones.

There, those are the friends I am grateful for today. Which are the friends you cherish most?

Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays. Thank you for a fabulous prompt Amrita.

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Also linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.

10 top gifts for new moms

10 top gifts for new moms

 Kreative Mommy Deepa asked us to list out ten gifts for new moms. Make it ‘fun and useful’ she said. So here it is, my list. A word of caution – these products have still to make their way from the realms of my brain to the inventors’ tables, so don’t go looking for them at stores just yet.

Crydecoder
Baby’s cry. They just cry. They cry for being fed and cry to be put to sleep. They cry to be held and they cry to be left alone (I had one of each kind and by the time I figured out which one wanted what I was a nervous wreck). The Crydecoder selects one of the 101 options on its dial and tells the mum exactly why the baby is crying.

Poopiesniffer

What’s the big deal with this one, you wonder? We have our noses, right? The thing is by the time the message gets to your nose it also permeates the room and gets to everyone in it. Imagine when that happens in the middle of dinner with guests. Well this gadget is equipped with odour detectors a million times more sensitive than your doggie’s nose and beeps out long before the message escapes the diaper. Trust me, the new mum needs this one.

Peepredictor

While on unsavoury topics I’ll get over with this one too. Without going into detail let me just say this gadget is designed for mums of boys. It will help a new mum predict which way the waters flow, so to say. And if you’re not fond of a sour warm spray on your face (Do NOT ask how I know that) I’d say you need this.

Time turner

We’ll borrow this one from Hermione. A new mum definitely needs more than 24 hours in her day. Gift her this and she’ll thank you forever.

Mumclone
Sometimes the time turner it just isn’t enough. Babies don’t grow up in a day and how long can mums do this back and forth? They’re only human. And so we have a – a Mumclone. It clones the mum to a baby-plus-one – One baby two mums, two babies three mums and so on. Get this and watch mum load lighten instantly.

Blinkamera
It’s not all bad you know, this being a new mum. There are compensations, lots of them. Your little one will give you plenty of heart stoppingly beautiful moments. That moment when he stares at you unblinkingly with a pensive expression on his face, the time he clasps your finger in his fist and refuse to let go, the time his tiny plump hands reaches out for you and oh when he decides to bare his gums in a toothless smile – that’s the time you’ll need the Blinkamera. This is a device that’ll click a picture with the blink of your eye and store that memory forever. The new mum doesn’t need to break the moment to rush for that physical camera – blink and click. Useful, isn’t it?

Breastmilk regulator
Now it flows now it doesn’t. Get this one and with the twist of a knob baby food is ready to be served or stored away.

Burpinducer
The twins’ Ped freaked me out with tales of babies who had choked because they hadn’t been burped properly. I spent entire nights roaming around with a fast asleep well-fed baby at my shoulder patting it on the back waiting for that burp. Yeah I’d have liked a burp inducer.

Tummytucker
So the baby is out in the world and you can’t wait to get back to your old self. Yet no matter how hard you exercise or how many crunches you put yourself through that tiny tummy bump refuses to go away. That’s where every new mum needs a tummy  tucker. Rub it on your tummy and watch it disappear. Nope you won’t find this one in the lingerie department. And No, don’t try it all over your body, it won’t work, just the baby bump.

Mumreassurer
She’s a new mum. She has tons of advice and just her gut instinct to guide her. So basically this Mumreassurer will tell her, as many times a day as she wants, that she’s doing the right thing. It comes with multiple settings. The first few days one can opt for hourly settings and then graduate to just one reassuring message a day. A must try.

Note: ‘Mum’ here denotes ‘primary care-giver’. Most products work just as well with dads or aunts. I said ‘most’.

So much for fanciful thoughts!
If you want to look up some real products for new mums do head over to  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments where fabulous mothers share useful practical ideas.
Kreativemommy.com
Supermom!

Supermom!

When that genetically mutated spider bit Peter Parker his (Parker’s obviously) life changed forever. Something similar happened to me when I had the twins.

At first they were rather inconspicuous, these special powers that came to me.

Before the twins I was pretty much a Kumbhakaran – that gentle giant blessed with a sleeping curse. I couldn’t function without my 8-9 hours everyday. With the arrival of the children I began waking up many times a night – on my own – sometimes to change nappies, to feed and burp and sometimes simply to run a finger under the twins’ noses reassuring myself that they were real living people. Just like that, I was rid of my addiction.

That was the beginning.

As they grew my powers only increased. Like Parker I discovered in myself super strength and agility.

If he had superhuman reflexes that let him scale walls and fly over traffic to save people, I could sprint, do a back flip and dive right in just as one of the twins fell off the sofa.

If he was strong enough to stop a running train, I could stop a running cycle….  make that two running cycles, before they hurtled into simultaneous twin accidents.

If he could spin a web fine as silk and strong as steel, I could spin tales so intricate so elaborate, as to keep two hyper active minds quiet for hours on end.

As the teens approach my superpowers seem to be growing.

My memory might have gone on leave but my senses, By God, they’re in an overdrive. Just like Parker, I find my eyesight sharper, my hearing more acute and my sense of smell can rival that of a sniffer bomb squad dog.

Is that a scream of laughter or distress – I can tell without going into the room. Was the food found under our apartment window dumped by the twins or was it the old man on the floor below our’s – I’d know. (It was the old man, in case you were wondering). Is it an upset tummy or experiments with my makeup kit that was keeping them for hours in the washroom – I can always tell.

I can look through closed doors, listen to merest whispers and smell out secrets.
I successfully busted hair-trimming sessions before the twins had shorn each other off.
I put an end to ice-cream smuggling no matter how soundlessly the freezer door was opened.
I smell burning cookies and douse the flames before they take the house down.
One time I even staved off floods when the twins turned on the taps and blocked the drains to make a swimming pool in the washroom.

As I sit here with a self-satisfied smile writing this self-congratulatory piece I find my mom-senses tingling already. Got to go folks, time to spin another web and reel them in.

Linking up with

Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Also joining Deepa at  Kreative Mommy for #MondayMommyMoments.
Kreativemommy.com