I think a lot of our parenting styles are derived from our own experiences as a child. We either do the exact opposite our parents did or we copy it exactly the same way. I’m motivated to expose P to certain things because my parents did not and I felt left out. Music for example. They never played the Beatles, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones or Nina Simone so I had no idea who these people were until I was in college. Money is another one of these issues.
I am not a financial wizard and I do not have a good relationship with money. I am an artist so that could be an excuse but really I think it comes down to the fact that it was never talked about. Writing checks, savings accounts, IRA, credit cards, cash flow; none of this was ever discussed. I was not even allowed to have a job!
Unlike me, my parents are extremely good with money. I didn’t say they had a lot of it but what they did with what they had is extremely amazing! On the other hand, I feel there is a lot they haven’t enjoyed or seen in the world because they never spend it.
When I started working in my 20’s I had MY money for the very first time. I blew through a lot of it. I wanted everything I didn’t get as a child. I went to Italy with my father when I was 17 for a tennis tournament. He wouldn’t let me buy anything except for food, not even a ticket to a museum. I had to beg and plead to go see the Sistine Chapel! I went to Italy again when I was 28. I came home with EVERYTHING!
I want P to have a healthy relationship with money. I want her to see the value of work, the importance of saving and the satisfaction of buying the things that really make you happy. When do money management lessons start? How do I not spoil her because I didn’t have?
I know most of what she’ll learn is what she’ll pick up from me. I’m trying to be smarter. Money is one of those all encompassing issues that seems to be present everywhere. When my husband leaves for work how does P interpret what work is or what it does for us because he works to get money. When we’re at the store and we buy things, how much we buy and why we buy what we buy; this is about money. When we’re at a fountain and she wants to throw pennies in: it’s about money. My parents would have died before we threw a penny away. But throwing a penny in a fountain, shouldn’t that be whimsical and fun? Or should I be thinking of my IRA and its maturing rate?
A few weeks ago P picked up a check book and said “Pappa”. Clearly the associations are building and I need to get one step ahead and be on the ball…or the penny.