Why I Am Not Paying My Kid to Do Chores

Over breakfast, my eight year old daughter broached the subject of an allowance.

“Can I have five dollars every time I do the dishes?”

Go big or go home, am I right? While I respect a woman who reaches for the top of the salary charts, I still shut her down immediately.

Growing up, we had chores we were expected to do. My mom worked and there was typically an hour or two where my brother and I were alone after school. The reminder of what was expected of us was typically jotted on the back of an old envelope. “Jamie–empty the dishwasher, clean your room. Jeremy–take out the trash, fold laundry. NO TV UNTIL CHORES ARE DONE.” No one was there to check on us yet I am pretty sure that more often than not, the chores were done before we turned on the TV. It was just expected, so we did it. Young boy doing housework at home

I have the same expectation of my kids. My daughter is just reaching the age of being able to independently (and correctly) handle dish duty. I don’t make her do it every meal or even every day, but when I ask, I expect it to be done without a fight–and for free. Pitching in is the price you pay for being a part of a family that lives in a clean and orderly house. Quite the trade off, if you ask me.

I was so excited when our community manager in Raleigh, Abigail, shared this article with me about the concept. I was particularly drawn to this quote from Daniel Pink, author of The New York Times bestseller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, about what paying kids for chores does:

“…sends kids a clear (and clearly wrongheaded) message: In the absence of a payment, no self-respecting child would willingly set the table, empty the garbage, or make her own bed. …. It converts a moral and familial obligation into just another commercial transaction—and teaches that the only reason to do a less-than-desirable task for your family is in exchange for payment.”

I want both of my girls to value a dollar but to also value what it means to contribute and what a healthy family dynamic looks like. I refuse to martyr myself over loads of laundry and piles of dishes. There are three capable humans here, so I shouldn’t be doing it all. More importantly, one day my daughter will likely be raising her own family and I don’t want to raise her with the expectation that she has to do it all–or even pay for her family to help her.

That doesn’t mean my kids won’t have a chance to earn money. We talk about basic things that keep our household running–laundry, vacuuming, dishes–as obligations that belong to us. It helps that my husband models this by pitching in regularly and owning specific tasks (hello, mowing the lawn).

But when my daughter wants to earn money for something? There are tasks that go above and beyond–dusting ceiling fans, cleaning golf clubs (you’re welcome husband), or   pulling weeds.

How do you handle chore distribution in your house? Do your kids get an allowance?

8 Great Summer Reads

I am seeing a ton of talk around the best book to take to the beach this summer. I thought I would compile a list of books I have loved in the past that would make great reads when you are able to make some time for yourself. Any books you would add to the list?

Where the Crawdads Sing

I would argue that this is THE book of the year. I have seen so many people talking about it–and for good reason. I thought it was slow to start but about a quarter of the way in I could not put it down. I devoured the final third of the book over two nights and was genuinely sad it ended. Think: love story, beautiful writing about North Carolina landscapes, mystery. Image result for where the crawdad sings

This Will Only Hurt a Little

Busy Phillips has been a favorite Instagram follow of mine for awhile. She’s funny, refreshing and offers a unique glimpse into her celebrity life–all while seeming like a mom you would be glad to run into at school pickup. Her book is an extension of her instagram persona. Think: behind the scenes celebrity stuff, early 00’s nostalgia, parenting laughs.This Will Only Hurt a Little

The Middle Place

I devoured this book last summer at my parent’s place in Hilton Head. Sometimes being with family can drive you crazy and summer vacations are ripe for the opportunity to be annoyed–but this book gave me such great perspective. I laughed. I cried. I felt grateful. Think: great perspective on motherhood, camaraderie, memoir.Image result for the middle place

Seat Arrangements

Beach reads are supposed to be guilty pleasures: slightly dramatic, indulgent and full of love stories. This one checks all of those boxes. It’s set in New England and takes place as a wedding unfolds. It contains all of the romance, betrayal and family dynamics you need to keep turning the pages. Think: rich people, family dynamics, wedding drama.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I love this book. I have purchased and gifted it several times because its one you’ll want to share. Cheryl Strayed has such a way with words and her life experience offers such great perspective on a variety of situations. Think: advice, affirmations, quick read. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give

If you’re married or thinking of getting married, this is a fantastic read. It is so real and raw–a telling of Ada Calhoun’s marriage without falling into the trap of being cliche or overly glossy. She tells the good, bad and ugly while somehow reminding how truly wonderful it is to be married. Think: marriage, humor, essays.

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Hanna Who Fell From the Sky

I am a sucker for anything about cults and religions so I was drawn to this novel about a young girl coming of age in a polygamist community. I was rooting for her the entire time and couldn’t wait to find out what happened–and was truly shocked when I did. Think: page turner, coming-of-age, romance

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The Engagements

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It tells the story of a singular engagement ring as it travels through generations of couples. The perfect beach read because its romantic, fun, and engaging. Think: historical fiction, all of the reasons we fall in love. Image result for the engagements

 

 

Top 5 Parenting Instagram Accounts

It’s raining–and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. What better way to pass the time with a few great Instagram follows? Below are some of our favorites! While you’re at it, be sure to follow PlatinumSitters!

Kid’s Activities

First up, Busy Toddler! This mama of three is constantly churning out the coolest ideas for her preschool and elementary school kids. This is the perfect follow for a rainy day because you will instantly have something to do to keep them busy. Almost all of her activities include household items you likely already have–or something you can Prime in less than a day or two! Plus, I love that she keeps it real with cute hots of her kids followed by the messes they make. It would also be awesome to set up one of these ideas ahead of your sitter’s arrival–then they can handle cleanup!


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Mindful Parenting

Simply on Purpose is an account focused on helping parents get the most out of the journey. Ralphie’s soothing tone and real life examples help make her parenting tips seem practical and doable. I love her whole child approach. She really values childhood and letting kids be kids while also holding them accountable and her stories are a nice reminder in my day to reset my mindset.


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FeedingLittles

Even though I have been at this parenting game for a little while now, I was still a little stumped about introducing my youngest to food. I have always been a fan of babyled weaning and stumpled upon FeedingLittles. I love their take on food and find their infographics super helpful.


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For Keeping it Real

I started following Leslie in the middle of the night while nursing my youngest baby and found myself stifling my laughter as I scrolled her post. She iss funny and refreshing while still recognizing motherhood as a calling. I appreciate the balance and her candidness about things like nursing, date nights and hard topics (her recent posts on talking to her daughter about death were great).


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For the Coparents

Janey is HYSTERICAL so I would honestly suggest you follow her even if you don’t have a coparenting situation. She is also an amazing human being who puts her therapist skills to use on international trips where she helps provide wheelchairs and OT to impoverished children (check out her stories for how to donate to her latest trip). But what REALLY makes me love her is her fresh take on coparenting her oldest son. She keeps it light, encouraging and honest–what more can you ask for?


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Preventing the Summer Slide

As a former teacher, I can attest to how much a student can backtrack during the summer months. There are so many exciting things happening–vacations, lazy days, playdates–that it can be hard to remember to keep skills fresh. However, it doesn’t have to be as humdrum as a workbook. Here are some creative things we do to keep the learning alive:

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Find a PenPal

My 8 year old loves to write letters to her Mimi–and loves getting them in the mail even more! Sitting down once a week or so to share what is happening brings them closer, keeps her practicing writing and grammar, and teaches her life skills like addressing an envelope! You can write grandparents, other faraway family members or friends!

Outdoor Math

Writing math facts on paper? Dull. Writing math facts with chalk or a squirt bottle full of water? Fun! Keep it fresh by varying your materials and location and your kids will actually look forward to practicing math!

Word of the Day

Introduce a fun new word each day–or let your kids pick one themselves. Challenge them learn the definition and work it into a sentence at dinnertime. As the summer progresses, keep track and have a competition. The one to use the new words the most gets a prize!

Basketball Facts

We all know H-O-R-S-E. But what if you had to play to get name the parts of the scientific method? What about the branches of government, colors of the rainbow or the names of planets? The possibilities are endless!

Get Cookin’

Cooking and baking together is a great way to stock the fridge for the endless snacking your kids will do while home–but is also a great way to get academic. Following directions–reading! Halving or doubling recipes–math! Meal planning–budgeting and finance! Making the right choices–health and nutrition!

Family Storytime

Even if you have family of varying ages, you can engage everyone for 20 minutes during family story time. Older kids can read aloud while younger kids draw scenes or hold the book. Its a nice way to unwind after those busy summer adventures!

Free Activities to Beat The Summer Heat

Summer is here! It’s official–and its freakin’ hot already! If you’re like us, school is wrapping up and I am looking at the next two months wondering how we will keep cool, keep our sanity, and keep busy. I did some research on some free (or super cheap!) things you can do this summer with your kids that go beyond just throwing popsicles at them.

Free Bowling

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Sign up to receive up to two free games per child–every week! You will have to rent shoes but otherwise, this a great indoor activity that you can count on each week.

The Library

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The local library offers so much to do! Every summer we do their summer reading program, which can earn you free perks like amusement park tickets! We also attend story time and other programming. The first week school is out, our local library has three different programs for kids!

Toy Stores

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Charlotte still has old school toy stores like Toys and Company that have lots of toys on display. Lakeshore Learning Toys also has a location in Matthews which offer fun, interactive activities for kids. Local LEGO stores often offer building classes, too.

Splash-pads

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Our go to “free day” is a trip to the park–and we always pick one with a splash pad! We bring a change of clothes, bathing suits, and a picnic lunch and it lasts for hours. Many of them have shaded coverings which really helps on scorching hot days. Bonus point if you bring cups and buckets to add to the water fun.

Scavenger Hunts

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We often go online and print out free resources like this to guide outdoor play. Finding shaded wooded areas helps keep kids cool and the guided play keeps them entertained longer.

What other things do you do to save money and keep cool and entertained in the summer? I’d love to hear!

How She Does It: Abigail Schneider

This week’s installment of How She Does It features our community manager in the Triangle Area, Abigail Schneider! She is truly the PlatinumSitters expert and is a magician at finding amazing babysitters, In addition, she is raising a baby of her own! Working from home with a little one around is a true challenge and she makes it look easy. Read on to find out how she does it!

Abigail Schneider

Community Manager for the Triangle Area

Mom to Neil II, almost 1

Partner to Neil

Uses PlatinumSitters: Weekly

Your son is 1 ! What has been your favorite stage thus far?

I have loved it all, but the older he gets when new words enter his vocabulary and he learns new things it is so much fun.

What is your biggest struggle in terms of finding balance?

  With a partner who works long days, travels and is gone most awake hours, I have had to learn to let go and set small realistic goals for myself. I have also tried to learn to time block so that I can be present for my child and devote my full attention to work when focusing on that.   

How has PlatinumSitters helped you in that pursuit?

PlatinumSitters has helped a ton with the days/weeks my son is out of “school” or if I have a week where I am overloaded and overwhelmed. I book a sitter for just a few hours so I can dedicate that time to nothing but getting my things done.

What would you go back and tell yourself as a first time mom?

  To believe everyone when they say “time goes by so fast” and to really enjoy each and every little moment. To also be easy on yourself and be sure to take time for yourself to reset if possible. 

 Quick! You have two hours of kid-free time…what are you going to do?

  Either run for the car to run errands kid free OR lay across the couch while catching up on my shows and doing nothing 🙂

5 Easy Memorial Day Cookout Ideas for Kids

Summer is upon us! This weekend there will bet the collective sound of grills being fired, kiddie pools being filled and cold drinks being cracked open. We thought it would fun to share a few ways to spice up your weekend BBQ with kid-friendly options that go beyond just hamburgers and hot dogs!

Skewers

Who doesn’t love food on a stick? And these taste much better than corndogs.

A plate of grilled chicken kabobs made with marinated chicken and colorful vegetables.
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Flatbreads

It’s like pizza but better! Let your kiddos choose their toppings and everyone wins.

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S’more Pizza, Please!

Speaking of pizza, how amazing is this fun take on a classic summer dessert?

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Grilled Corn

Bright, crisp corn gets taken up a notch when you grill it. No kid can resist!

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Grilled Quesadillas

A kid’s favorite–cheese and tortillas warmed on the grill where you are already cooking for a crowd? Perfection.

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The 10 Phases of Dieting After Children

A few girlfriends and I were talking about what we are doing to lose the baby weight and what we have done in the past that has or hasn’t worked and it made me laugh thinking about what a predictable cycle it can be…

Resolve

Enough is enough! I am doing this. We have a wedding/trip/anniversary/birthday. There will be photographs. Must. Lose. Double. Chin.

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Research

Okay, what is everyone on the Internet doing? Scrolls hashtags: #newmombod #postpartumweightloss #losingbabyweightafter3years

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Shopping

In order to lose the weight, I need all of the things. Weights. Shakes. Supplements. Give me one of each. Shop the parameter. Trader Joes or Whole Foods only–regular grocery stores are a death trap of preservatives.

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Meal Prep

A crockpot full of shredded chicken. Diced veggies. Washed lettuce. Black beans on black beans. All. The. Rice.

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The First Morning

Here we go! We are locked and loaded. Bulletproof coffee. No breakfast–my eating window starts at 10. Headed out for a walk…feeling good.

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9 am.

Been up with the baby since 6. I. am. starving. Why does my husband have to have breakfast? Is he trying to sabotage me?

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10 am!

Time to eat! Don’t want to ruin all of this hard work with junk. Reaching for eggs, avocado and fruit!

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Lunchtime For The Kids

Jaxson left half a nugget. What harm could half a nugget do? ITS HALF A NUGGET. Dipped in ranch. Washed down the remnants of a juice box…

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Bedtime

We are a sinking ship. I am tired. If hearing “mama” burned calories, I would be strapping on some Victoria Secret angel wings. I want cookies. Wine with my husband: yes please!

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Acceptance

You know, I tried but honestly, I love my body. It’s fine. They make really cute clothes in this size. I will just go shopping. I need to model body positivity, anyway. I am so done with this.

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Wash, Rinse, Repeat–Am I right?!

Saving Money for Self-Care

It’s super easy to go on and on about the importance of time for yourself and date nights with your spouse–but practically speaking, I know it can be costly. Have you tried to park downtown lately?! That alone requires the patience of a saint and the funds of a VIP.

I thought I would share a few ways that Rob and I save money so that we can enjoy the events that come to town, date nights and our individual hobbies (He mountain bikes. Mountain biking is the world’s most expensive adult hobby, I am sure of it.)

One thing in, one thing out.

I try to stick to a “if I really want this, I have to give something up rule” when it comes to my closet. More and more, I try to use this approach across our house, too. It helps that we live in a 1500 square foot house and space is a premium but this tactic also helps keep spending down. When I want to bring in shoes, I often can’t think of a pair I am willing to give up, so I leave them.

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Sell, sell sell.

When something no longer serves its purpose or gets used in our house, it has to go. I sell things like clothes and household items on Facebook marketplace, in our local “mom group” Facebook page, at consignment sales and to friends with similar tastes. A lot of times I will pre-plan how I am going to sell one thing to get another thing. It sounds like a total drag but theres also no better feeling than getting what you want without netting a cost.

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Everything is a negotiation.

I comb our monthly bills. Automatic bill pay is not your friend. I keep an eye on our expenses and when things, like the cable bill, increase–I’m on the phone. It’s generally an hour or so of your time but it can mean big savings to call and ask for the best available deal. I have done this with our cell phones, home and car insurance, and credit card interest rates.

Reverse Meal Plan.

I have talked about this a lot on my Instagram stories but I always plan in reverse. I go to the store first, see what they have on sale and what is in season. I mentally plan as I shop (i.e. I see pork roast is on sale. We will have BBQ pork sandwiches.) and then come home and write it down to hold myself accountable. A big thing that helps with this is to have a good mental note of what you already have (I have buns leftover from hamburgers that I can use for BBQ…). I have gotten pretty good at this but in the beginning, I would often take pictures of my fridge and pantry for reference!

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Not Your Average Date Night.

A lot of times we fall into the rut of having to go to dinner, drinks and some sort of event for date night. I definitely love those nights but Rob and I also love doing things that are different–and cheaper! Typically, we will eat dinner at home with the girls (cheaper!) and then head out for a few drinks and some live music. There are usually lots of places with free shows. We also love to go on a hike or go fishing. Anything is a date night if you’re having uninterrupted conversation!

These are just a few ways we stretch our budget. I would love for you to share some ways your family prioritizes self-care and date nights. Leave me a comment below or on Facebook! Happy Friday, friends!

How She Does It: Jennifer McLamb

This week’s installment of How She Does It features my right-hand woman, Jennifer! I am lucky enough to have known her long enough to watch her go from college student to newlywed to amazing mama. I am amazed at how she does it all!

Jennifer McLamb

Sitter Recruiter for the Charlotte Team of PlatinumSitters

Licensed Realtor in NC/SC
Mom to Mitchell, age 1

Married to John

Uses PlatinumSitters: Monthly


Your baby is almost one! How are you feeling as you round out this first year?


Getting through the first year is a huge accomplishment! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, we are on a great routine and get to enjoy lots of fun activities together! 


You and your husband, John, were together for awhile before welcoming Mitchell. How would you say baby has changed your marriage–both good and bad?

 Going from just a dog and a cat to a BABY, dog and cat has been an adjustment, but a great one! John and I still try and have date night as much as possible – I feel that it is very important to remember what brought us together in the first place! 


What is your biggest struggle in terms of finding balance?

When Mitchell naps I try and be super mom and get all my chores off of my to-do list! Laundry, cleaning, groceries, work –  Ultimately that is not always possible but I try and use those times to my advantage so that I can spend time with him the rest of the day! Luckily my job is flexible and allows me the freedom to work when/where I can! 


How has PlatinumSitters helped you in that pursuit?


Platinumsitters has really made it easy for us to have an accountable sitter that we can depend on, should the need arise for a last minute appointment or date night! Its a great feeling as a first time mom to not worry about who is with Mitchell while we are gone, I can fully trust that they have been vetted and background checked. We have used several sitters so we can get to know them in case one is not available! 


What would you go back and tell yourself during the first month of motherhood?

Give yourself time and grace. They dont send you home from the hospital with an instruction manual unfortunately. The whole process of motherhood is a learning curve, especially for me! I read a number of books before Mitchell was born but you have to figure out what works for you and your family and you just make it work! 


Quick! You have two hours of kid-free time…what are you going to do?

Target Run and Grocery shopping all by myself! 

Thank you to Jennifer for taking the time to chat with me! Now we know how she does it! Tell me something in the comments that makes your life easier as you balance work, motherhood and everything else. Happy Monday!