If I had a dime…

We could all use a little extra money, right? It’s so easy to spend a bit here and a bit there, and before long, those bits really add up! I’ve decided it’s time for a new savings plan. Just something simple for a little extra cash. But what should my new savings plan look like?

I considered a few options:

1) A swear jar.

  • Pros:
    • It would add up quick.
  • Cons:
    • It would add up so quick I’d go broke.
    • If I start calling out others on their language, they’ll start calling me out on mine. And I’ll fucking hate that.

2) Go vegetarian a few nights per week.

  • Pros:
    • Buying less meat would save money and help the environment!
    • We’d increase our intake of veggies and teach our children valuable lessons along the way.
  • Cons:
    • The only vegetarian meals my family find satisfying and delicious involve a lot of pasta and cheese. They get full, I get fat.
    • Any other vegetarian meals lead all members of my family to eat multiple post-dinner bowls of cereal. This ends up more expensive than meat and creates more dirty dishes, which sucks for me and the environment.

3) If I had a dime… How many times do you think “If I had a dime for every time…” I think it a lot. What if I actually got a dime every time? Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

  • Pros:
    • I’m getting free dimes from the universe!
  • Cons:
    • N/A

Practical Applications:

1) When you buy a pair of shoes do you ask the retailer how much money she’s going to make on the transaction? How about your kids’ teachers? Do you ask them how much they stand to gain from your children’s educations? No? I don’t either. Nor do I ask my doctor, UPS guy, or pharmacist. I imagine no one does. For some reason, however, upon hearing the words “blogger” or “writer” people immediately ask about income. “You’re a writer? Do you get paid for that?” “How much money do you make from your books?” “How much do you get paid to write on XYZ website?”

Writer Income

This isn’t limited to bloggers or self-published writers. I have friends with books published through traditional publishing houses and they’re constantly asked about how much money they make, if they get paid for speaking engagements, etc. Maybe this is something that happens in all creative fields. While I won’t answer the question, I’ll tell you this: there’s a reason no one’s Get Rich Quick Scheme looks like this:

Get Rich Quck

2) Not only am I a writer, but I’m also a mother. So my work happens in the same place as my family responsibilities. Now that both my kids are in school it seems that I have a ton of “free time.” I’d like to have a dime for every time I’m asked, “What are you going to do with all your free time?” That way, I won’t have to actually write every day or ever publish anything again. If anyone asks what I do all day I’ll just direct them to my giant piles of dimes.

The truth is that I’m not yet entirely sure what my life will look like with two school-aged kids and I’m trying to figure that out. I feel pressured to have a meaningful answer, some excuse or reason why I’m still valuable. When I’m asked what I’ll do with my free time, the implication is that writing or taking care of my household have no value or don’t count. A dime for each time I’m asked would certainly help to take the sting out of it.

3) I’m going to go ahead and ask for a dime every time my kids do all that shit they do: needing 101 things after bedtime – dime! Stripping and discarding their clothes on the floor anywhere in the house – dime! Asking me where their shoes are – dime! Sneezing directly into my face – dime! Fighting over something stupid… this list is extensive. In no time you’ll find me here:

I know you don’t normally come here for financial advice, but I think I’m onto something. With this savings plan, my family will have extra cash on hand for any unforeseen expenses or a splurge here and there. I see more date nights in my future, so this is even sound marriage advice! Truly, I think I’ve outdone myself. All this and the kids haven’t even been in school a week yet. Just think what I can do with all my newfound free time!

If I had a dime

Image sources:

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4458&picture=pocket-change

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23484&picture=typing-text

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=20851&picture=dollars-and-euros-background

Scrooge McDuck, Disney

Letter to my daughter on her 5th birthday

On each of my kids’ birthdays I compose a letter. My plan is to one day hand over a book of heartfelt letters, proving to an ornery teenager that I do, in fact, know and love him/her, and that my goals as a mother go beyond ruining his/her social life.

Dear Sally,

Today you turn five! Happy birthday! You have a big year ahead of you. I hope that you find as much happiness, wonder, and adventure in five as you found in four. I’m confident you will because that’s the kind of person you are.

Being your mom is one of my life’s greatest joys. You’re such a phenomenally fun kid, and so different from me in so many ways, that I know I’d love and admire you even if you weren’t my daughter. But I’m lucky, because I get to be your mother. I get to revel in messy-haired good morning snuggles, remind you to keep eating during a million and one silly mealtime distractions, and marvel at your laid-back, easy cheer.

I know you’re going to thrive in kindergarten this year. You’re endlessly curious, determined, and not afraid of hard work. These traits have you biking and swimming and doggedly trying to figure out reading, which you’re going to love. I can’t express how proud of you I am when I see you working on something over and over again, trying to master a new skill, wanting to keep up with your big brother. The truth is that you impress me. And it’s a strange feeling for a grown-up to be so impressed by a little kid.

kite

A big part of me wants you to stay little forever. I love your hugs and kisses, your riotous giggles, your little-kid-ness. You’re my baby and always will be.

cuddles

The rest of me is so excited to watch you grow up, see the person you become, watch you stride confidently into the world relying on yourself more and more.

As a four-year-old you’ve been talkative and giggly, independent and creative, intrepid and athletic. On any given day you’ll sing dozens of songs, (or the same song dozens of times, usually from Frozen,) draw some pictures, run around with your brother until you’re sweaty and exhausted, talk to your toys, put your dolls (and random objects) to bed, and tell me a hundred stories, usually starting with, “Did you know…” You make all of us laugh. You can reduce your brother to a pile of gasping giggles at any time with your unique brand of ridiculous humor. As a five-year-old, I hope you continue in all of this, and surprise us with a few new things along the way.

You’re in school now and with that comes some hard work and a new set of social norms and challenges. I’d like to protect you from so many of the difficulties that you’ll face as you go through school, but I can’t. All I can do is offer my listening ear and open arms, help you when you need help, and love you no matter what. I hope that your spirit and confidence only grow as you navigate the new world of school. I hope that you remain unapologetically yourself, unembarrassed and sure.

I’ll miss all of our time at home together now that you’re in school. You have always been so good at entertaining yourself, and you are ever the engaging (if silly) companion. I might be working at my computer only to look up and find this at any given moment:

Dress up

Your flair for dress isn’t limited to when you’re at home.

Fashion Sense

You’re going to grow up a lot this year. It’s probably time to stop accidentally biting your own fingers so often when you eat. And it’s definitely time to drop the baby act. (Please don’t immediately replace it with eye-rolling.) It’s your crutch, and you don’t need it. I want you to always know that no matter how adorably cute you are, and no matter how often that’s the only thing people comment on, you are so much more than that. You have my admiration not because of your smallness or cuteness, but because of your cleverness, kindness, and pluck.

I love you absurdly much, my sweet, whimsical, brave, charming, tenacious, and silly girl. I hope you have the happiest birthday and a wonderful year ahead!

Love, Mom