I didn’t realize our kids were spoiled until I noticed all the debri everywhere. My name is Julie and I have spoiled kids.

I don’t know when or how this happened, but I’m pretty sure it began in-utero. Can I blame Babies R Us and all other maternity products marketed to shame us? You’re not a good parent unless you have the Jacuzzi baby tub (dismiss the fact you’ll only use it for three to four months) or the playpen that has every gizmo and gadget on it (that’s in addition to the myriad of toys you should have for every stage of development), and you must have a plethora of outfits since you never know what’s going to happen….oh the fear of the volume of the unknown blow-out, spit-up or other bodily fluid incident that could occur!

Yes, that’s when it began, when we looked at the pee-stick and decided we were going to be the best parents ever. Did I mention we were broke, flat broke?

Hindsight, I realize God stretches every penny we’ve ever had as my husband and I work our tails off. But that’s just it, we work our tails off.

We call it love when we take our son to karate, a birthday party, when we buy our daughter a new Frozen item she loves so much from the dollar spot at Target or the millionth pack of gum, after all, it’s sugar free, nearly zero calories and only a dollar which is all the justification needed to create “happy” kids. If it’s not too expensive or bad for the body, the momentary hesitation turns into a reticent, “I suppose there isn’t a reason not to say yes.” After all, today’s parents are supposed to say yes as often as possible.

Exhaustion, you know the exhaustion many women experience at the beginning and end of pregnancy, nearly snapped the final glow stick for this mama, but nothing gets my feathers ruffled quite like seeing the money we earned lying on the ground.

True story.

At five we gave our son sold a couch to sell on Craigslist to help raise money to purchase an older friend’s Lego collection. He met the buyer, he demonstrated how to pull the couch out and he nailed negotiating the transaction. (Yes, it was a proud mama moment.) He eagerly worked around the house and was able to add hundreds of coveted Lego bricks to his collection.

This boy understands how money works, he knows it will get him what he wants.

Yet there it was, the money he earned from recycling earlier that morning, lying limp on the orange seventies linoleum in our kitchen. Causally I suggested putting it in his bank. Arrogantly he shrugged and walked away…and so did his money, straight into this mama’s pocket. Oh, and yes, I did use that same dollar to pay his commission for his weekly chores. Shameless, I know.

Glad you caught that that last part. Our family is facing a paradigm shift and freeloaders must pull their weight. Want to eat? Get your work done. Isn’t that how it works for adults? You work, you get paid and purchase the items you need, like food and clothes. No, we don’t make them pay for food or clothes (yet…) but we have enacted a policy that chores must be done prior to mealtimes and I’m sure they’ll thank us for teaching them to work when they are able to hold down a job and eat when we’re dead and gone.

The first week under our new regime, our son clearly explained, “I’d rather have nothing, not even a home than have to do this work.” Mind you, the worst of his treacherous work is taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher and scooping our dog’s poop (though he is a large dog and leaves some hefty messes). I told him that we could arrange for him to live with a homeless person for a few days and see how he likes living hungry, cold and uncomfortable. You’ll be glad to know He was shocked at my casual offer and declined.

We’re taking a new approach because figuring out how to live in this crazy world is hard enough. There’s no sense in having to figure out how to earn a living on top of everything else, and who knows what the world will look like when they must pull their own weight. There’s definitely a recoil going on, but boy-howdy, their tasks are getting done and everyone is having more down time than before. The future for this group of converts is looking bright!

So how about you? Are your kids spoiled or how have you prevented it?

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