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June 17, 2010

Please Send money

Parenting a college-bound student is a tricky business.  Trying to combine your emotional and financial support with your child's new found independence can seem nearly impossible.  When my daughters went off to college, I wrestled with how to give love and support without them expecting too much.

As a mom, we worry about our kids eating properly, so we send care packages.  They come home on break, and you find yourself sending back half of the pantry and refrigerator.  You are out shopping and you pick up those little extra things they might need.  I have even caught my husband slipping them money “just in case of an emergency.” The girls never fail to phone home when they are short on cash.  It is easy for kids to fall in a pattern of expecting us to “foot the bill,” for all of those unexpected expenses. 

Both our girls seemed convinced that the money they earn over the summer, lasts forever.  Let’s see, $7 an hour for 20-30 hours a week…hmm that’s a fortune.  Unfortunately, Mom and Dad end up supplementing this meager amount, well before the school year is over.

Providing supplemental cash during the school year has become common practice for many parents.  However, my husband has a rule in our house, which is that when the girls are home for the summer, they are off of his payroll.  It is amazing how motivated they both have been to find summer jobs, when their money source dries up.   They have done everything from working fast food and retail, to dog sitting and being a nanny.  However, this summer, with the poor economy, finding employment for college students is almost impossible.

A meager job market has motivated my youngest daughter to come up with inventive ways to earn money this summer.  She and her sister have started an eBay endeavor, hoping to sell off the hundreds of beanie babies that I invested in years ago. It is amazing what they will part with when they need some extra cash.  Anything that isn’t nailed down or truly cherished becomes fair game.  Today I saw an unworn Halloween custom get shipped out.  I warned my husband to keep track of his things or they could end up on eBay.

So far, they have sold several things, but forgot to account for shipping.   Laptops were buzzing as they realized this and they quickly tried to rectify their mistake on other sale items.  I tried to convince them to use padded envelopes in lieu of flat rate shipping boxes, to save on shipping costs.  A quick roll of their eyes, told me to mind my own business.

Part of me wants to offer more advice, but I figure that this will turn out to be a good life lesson for them both.  Unfortunately if this business venture does not succeed, I expect my husband and I can anticipate many phone calls and text messages… “ Please send money.”

This is an original 50-Something Moms Blog post.

Laurie is a contributing author of the book, “Laugh Your Shorts Off.” When she is not trying to keep her husband on the ground, you can find her on her personal blog, “Married to Middle-aged Maverick” or on Twitter at lfab24 .