As I was sorting through some old papers today, I ran across this old gem. While I was in my active parenting phase, I took my job very seriously. It was very important to me that I raised my daughters to be responsible, contributing members of society. I spent a great deal of time and effort planning and thinking of parenting strategies. Given my military background, I am not quick to accept excuses. Though it may sound a bit harsh to some, here is what the letter said: Continue reading “An Open Letter From Drill Sergeant Mom to Her Domestic Platoon”
Today is a special day, and for me, it is a day of introspection and gratitude. It has been more than three decades since I last wore the uniform, but my time as an active duty military service member helped to shape me into the person that I am today. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out. Now that I’m older, I feel more pride with each passing year. I’m a huge proponent of raising independent young adults and my own experience assures me that it is possible. Military service is a viable option for all healthy young adults, both male and female. Today, I had an epiphany about my personal fears which led to deeper gratitude. I wanted to go the Veteran’s Day ceremony today, but had decided not to because my husband was working and I didn’t want to go alone. Then I remembered that when I went to boot camp, I didn’t have a husband. Each time I checked into a new command (6 times), I did so without a husband or a parent. That realization was all I needed to spur me to action. Within an hour, I was standing tall with my brothers and sisters. I spent a good part of the rest of the day talking to people I didn’t know at the local American Legion post. It was a very good day! I’d like to talk a little about how you can encourage your kids to make the best of the opportunities that are presented to them. Here are some of the things I learned from my personal experience: Continue reading “Launch Lady Veteran’s Day Edition”
A few decades ago in a state far, far away there were two young ladies dispatched to the same military base at the same time. Because they were coming from the same school, arriving at the new base within a short time AND they were both female, they were OBVIOUSLY meant to be roommates. They accepted this belief without question. The young sailors looked at a couple of apartments before they finally settled into a quiet, two bedroom, two bath, first floor unit. The older and wiser of the two was a very sweet young lady with a thick Alabama accent which so intrigued the younger and far more obnoxious one of the mismatched duo. The sweet one could scarcely utter a sentence without having a few of her southernisms regurgitated back to her with a poorly imitated accent. The southern belle was far too kind to smack her roommate so she politely resigned herself to six months of dysfunctional living. Continue reading “You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?”
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But this story is mostly about the best! 2018 was a pretty big year in Launch Lady Land. For the second time in 85 days, there was another wedding. The same week my youngest daughter got married in June, her older sister announced her engagement. Being the frugal one that I am, I suggested that she just step right on up to the priest when her sister was done (don’t worry, my perfectionist younger one, I wasn’t serious). It didn’t happen.
Just as in daily life, their wedding choices highlighted their extreme personality differences. They both received the same wedding stipend but used it so differently. My traditional youngest daughter spent all of hers, and then some, on a more formal event that took a whole year to plan. She scoured the etiquette books to do everything “correctly” according to tradition. Her very practical sister, who had just bought a new home, took the much more frugal route and chose her dad’s and stepmom’s back yard as the venue for the wedding and reception. She couldn’t see the point of having a large, one-time party when she could buy a fence for her newly purchased back yard! The thought of watching her wedding guests ingest surf and turf did not give her as much pleasure as imagining her two large dogs sprinting freely around her fenced back yard. I suggested she treat her guests to a nice ramen noodle buffet or peanut butter and jelly bar, but in the end, the fajita bar was a tasty, yet non-traditional choice. Gluten-free macaroons graced the dessert table which would normally contain a wickedly gluten filled wedding cake. Though it was a small afternoon affair, the tee totaling bride and groom did not deprive their guests of adult beverages. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Weddings- (But Mostly About One)”
As an avid reader of Napoleon Hill’s philosophy, I have read that one of man’s greatest fears is the threat of poverty. Though I have never personally experienced abject poverty, I know well some who have. I do know what it is like to have to make tough choices. I know what it is like to have $5 left until payday with no savings account or safety net. This was part of what drove my decision to enlist in the US Navy when I was still a teenager. In retrospect, it was one of the best things I could have done, though it didn’t feel like it at the time. I was given the chance to be wholly accountable for my outcomes. It was an excellent training ground to learn countless life lessons. I am far from being a financial expert, but I continue to learn. My drive to learn is so I can teach others what I wish I had known at a much younger age. My own daughters have always had a safety net and sometimes find it hard to comprehend (or tolerate) what I am trying to teach them. What I offer is perspective by asking the following question: “When our children no longer have parents to consult with (or get subsidies from) how will they manage to get along financially?” I am a fervent believer in “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; if you teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Here are just a few things I’ve tried to teach my kids that you might find helpful as you try to teach life skills to yours: Continue reading “Teach a Kid to Fish and She’ll Eat For a Lifetime”
Lots of parents today are trying to figure out how to keep their teens productively busy. Most of us will agree that there should be time devoted to just being a kid. But the job of a kid has changed over the years. Being a kid used to mean activities like playing board games, jumping rope, playing softball and hide and seek as well as many other activities that included imagination, physical activity, teamwork, mental stimulation and fresh air. Being a teen used to include hanging out with friends, attending school functions and seeing the occasional movie. Today’s youth seem to have a more limited set of activities, many of which fill time rather than contribute to wonderful childhood memories. Examples of this are watching television, playing video games, and using electronic devices such as smartphones, computers and tablets. Basically, if they need electricity (and Wi-Fi) to have fun, I have alternate ideas. Not ideas for entertainment, but ways to make money while fostering a sense of responsibility, creativity and accomplishment. This is not directed to the parents who are perfectly fine with the status quo. If you are a parent who wants to redirect the energy of your teens without them having a traditional part time job, read on for suggestions.
Parents are always looking for babysitters and a great one can make some serious cash these days! The best way to find a job is through word of mouth. I found a good one when my kids were small. You know you’ve found a professional when she shows up with a backpack filled with activities. She was confident, popular, and not shy about stating her rate. I loved that she had other plans besides watching a movie with my girls! When my youngest daughter was bored, she would go play with the twins that lived behind us. They were much younger than her, but I’m sure their mom appreciated that she kept them occupied for a while and I was happy that she found something creative to do!
I realize that childcare is not for everyone, but pet care is appealing to a pretty wide audience. There are many different opportunities.
- Vacation Care: We used to have a neighbor boy come and take care of our guinea pig and later on our dogs while we were on vacation. It was fun for him because he didn’t have pets. It was less expensive for us than taking the dogs to a kennel. Though they never said, I think the dogs appreciated not being locked up in a cage for a week.
- Dog-walking: Lots of people would love to have someone stop by during the day to walk their dog or provide some companionship. This is a great summer opportunity, but can even be done after school for those who get out early enough.
- Yard clean up: Being a Pooper Scooper is not a glamorous job, but the opportunities are everywhere and there is the potential for higher pay and less competition!
Cleaning Trash Cans
I have a friend whose teens got paid to clean out trash cans this summer. Everybody has one and most people would probably be happy to delegate the job if someone were to just show up and make the offer! Just like Pooper Scooper, the potential for pay is higher than average and the competition will be lower.
With all of the working folks being so busy these days, there is bound to be someone close by who would pay to have someone vacuum, clean bathrooms or kitchens, dust or any other task that can be negotiated. My daughter organized the pantry for me recently, which I appreciated immensely since her organizational skills are far better than my own! I just had a conversation with friends who told me that their 6-year-old assists in cleaning the floors and bathrooms. There is great satisfaction in learning to do a job competently and parents can encourage that with plenty of praise and patience.
Many working families would love the opportunity to come home to the occasional meal prepared by a competent and willing chef. The cuisine does not even need to be complicated…just ready to eat!
I’ve lived in my current home for more than 12 years. Not once has someone knocked on my door and offered to mow the grass. At my house, there were two teenaged girls to cut the grass and occasionally, I did it myself. I’m not going to lie; they didn’t love it, but I was perfectly ok with that. I view the task as an abundant opportunity for anyone regardless of age or gender. The same friends with the floor cleaning 6-year-old have an 8-year-old son. He is already beginning to cut the grass at home while his father works with him to do the detailed work. He even had the neighbors ask him to cut their lawn!
This opportunity is obviously regional and seasonal, but is great for filling a need for someone else while earning money and getting fresh air.
Again, this one is regional and seasonal. Last winter, we had a lot of snow in a short time. I had help shoveling for the first two days, but on the third day, I was alone and exhausted. I had read in our neighborhood’s on-line forum that there was a young man in his early teens who was traveling around the vicinity with a snow blower. I was very excited; not just to find help, but to see a young man who was aggressively pursuing an opportunity to earn. Read more about Tyler in “Today a Flying Unicorn Landed in My Driveway”. https://wordpress.com/post/the-launch-lady.com/98
Some teens are qualified to provide tutoring to younger children. This includes assistance with reading, math and test preparation. Parents of younger children will appreciate having a respectable teen as a role model for their child.
Speaking from personal experience, not everyone is comfortable with today’s technology. Every time I get a new computer or phone, I enlist the help of one of my favorite millennials to get it set up! There are a lot of people like me out there who don’t have their own millennials to ask for help.
What all of these jobs have in common is that opportunities are abundant, flexible and are usually within walking distance. I know that we are all well aware that these opportunities exist, but for some reason, I don’t hear of many teens capitalizing on most of them.
These opportunities to earn are some of the more obvious ones. There are so many ways to grow your family’s economy that can fit in around school and family time yet still allow for plenty of free time for enjoyable activities. Just because we are able to give our kids so much more than our parents gave us doesn’t mean we should. I know many present day teens and young adults who have learned self-sufficiency at an early age because more has been expected of them compared with their peers. I can assure you that they will appreciate money earned far more than any handouts received. Finding opportunities to earn at an earlier age also provides a great start to money management. Earning allows teens to set short term goals like buying a video game or long term goals such as buying a vehicle or saving for college. As you help coach them to find ways to earn, be sure to keep your own gender bias from getting in the way. I grew up in a family with all girls and then I had only daughters. As a result, I’ve defied the boundaries for tasks that were traditionally thought to be assigned to a specific gender. The best part about these options is that they are not only for teens but anyone who is looking to earn spare cash. You would be doing a great service to your offspring if you don’t give them the impression that they are above doing any of these tasks. In my opinion, any job on this list is far more desirable than college debt (or any debt at all)!
What Can a Parent Do To Increase Motivation?
- Severely limit all screen time which just might bore them to death
- Drop them off at the library when they can’t find something to do
- Give them responsibility for some of their wants
- Cars are great motivators to earn
- Smartphones are also great for inspiring one to work
- Cash for movies, fast food, etc.
I hope you find these ideas to be useful or can see them in a different perspective from before. Word of mouth or on-line neighborhood forums are great places to find these jobs. If you see a home that is perpetually in need of yard maintenance, help your teen learn initiative by offering to walk up to the door with them as they ask for the job. My goal has always been to teach my girls to become independent young adults after their formal education ended. Whether you share my goal or if you are just trying to keep them from too many non-productive pursuits, I hope this has been helpful. Please share if you think this can help someone else. Leave a comment if you have some other earning ideas or if you have a story of an amazing child, teen or young adult that you’d like to share.
Yes, I was THAT mom. For more than 10 years, I was a stay-at-home mom. When you can only rely on yourself and your family for low budget entertainment, sometimes this is all you can come up with! I have collected a lot of pictures, but this is one of my most memorable.
This picture conjures up a visual of The Little Red Hen in my mind. To make a long story short, the hen solicited the help of the other farm animals to assist her and her chicks in planting the grain, but they were busy and disinterested. She later invited them to participate in the other activities such as harvesting, threshing, milling the flour and finally baking the bread. Again, they were quite too busy to help. When the fresh hot bread came out of the oven, she asked who would help eat it. Miraculously, the busy farm animals were suddenly available. In the not-so-subtle moral of the story, she informed the lazy animals that since they were too busy to help put the food on the table, then they were not welcome to enjoy the finished product. She, along with her chicks who worked alongside her, finished every crumb while the farm animals sadly watched.
This is how life works. This wise mother hen was teaching her young chicks the value of work so they could take care of themselves without starving. Maybe it was because she wanted to be sure that they could take care of themselves when they no longer had her to depend on. Or maybe it was because there was no basement in the hen house and space was at a premium. Either way, she did her part to ensure that her chicks had the tools to become independent. The rest of the farm animals were never heard from again, so we can only speculate what happened to them.
I hope I have taught this lesson well to my own girls. This picture will always be a reminder to them that in this house, even the FOOD works for food!
#littleredhen #lifeskills #nosuchthingasafreelunch #parentinghumor #parenting #causeandeffect #willworkforfood
My daughter tells me that I’m the most stubborn person she knows. I take that as a compliment! According to one definition from Dictionary.com it means “fixed or set in purpose; resolute”. Contrary to popular perception, being stubborn can be a good thing. The same trait that is often viewed negatively can lead to positive outcomes. In “Why We Want You To Be Rich”, a book that Donald Trump coauthored with “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki more than 10 years ago, our current president asserts, “Being stubborn is a big part of being a winner. Some people have failed because they have given up too soon.” This is not a political post, but regardless of your personal feelings for him, it is hard to deny that he has achieved financial success and harder still to imagine him accomplishing any of it without his stubborn demeanor.
Here are a few examples of people who refused to comply, agree or give up that have benefited all of us:
- Thomas Edison was said to have failed 10,000 times while creating the light bulb (I’ve always wondered who was keeping track since that would be a full time job)
- Steve Jobs refused to give up, even when he was ousted from Apple, the company that he helped found
- He eventually returned to Apple where the IPod, IPad and IPhone were all created under his leadership
- Oprah persevered, step by step, from poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most well-known women in the world by becoming a media icon who excelled at putting people in touch with their better selves
Here are a few more examples that did NOT benefit all of us but I have personal experience with or knowledge of:
- Stubbornness assisted in my completion of 23 college classes in 3.5 years while working full time and parenting 2 teenagers
- Stubbornness enabled me to plow my way through 8 weeks of boot camp at 19, because giving up would have meant going back home and missing out on all of the adventures
- Stubbornness propelled my oldest daughter out of the nest at 19 and across the country to take a job at a ski resort because she wanted to live life on her own terms
- Refusal to succumb to lack of opportunity for her desired teaching position drove one young lady to accept opportunities to teach English overseas for a couple of years to gain experience and better equip her for a career
The next time you go head to head with stubbornness in your own kids, find a way to celebrate it. Help them to harness it and use it to their benefit so they can grow into independent young adults.
I’ve been fostering my daughter’s cat while she prepares to move into a new home. Here are the papers she was served yesterday:
In addition to being a free-loading, pseudo independent yet arrogant tenant, the pictured individual wreaks of entitlement. She demands that her aging landlord meet, without fail, on the “petting rug” every time the landlord walks into the house. The landlord is expected to clean up the tenant’s excrement daily. If the tenant’s meals are not delivered on time, her protests would wake the dead. The landlord is informed daily when the sun comes up whether or not the boundaryless boarder has any particular needs to address. Unfortunately for the landlord, a full moon seems to confuse the domestic inhabitant who likes to sound the “sun up” alarm at random intervals throughout the night. One of the freeloading squatter’s most memorable feats is the “pop and run”. This is when the loitering leech skulks off to the side and rear of the recliner where the landlord rests. This activity always begins with the tenant displaying large pupils. If the landlord ignores her long enough, the crazed occupant will spring up from the side, execute a quick bite, then run like a crafty little coward.
Miss Kitty must vacate the premises no later than noon on Sunday, but preferably by the previous Saturday evening to allow her landlord one good night’s sleep before the new tenants arrive on Sunday).
Despite her selfish qualities, Princess Kitty will be greatly missed.
“It’s not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”. Ann Landers
My role is/was to teach and nurture. The greatest gift I can give or receive is to teach myself out of a job! #teacher #independence #loveandlogic #love #gifts #parenting #success #goals