Eddie has been pestering us for months for money for important things like Wii games and Under Armour shirts. Under a freshly inked deal that nets him a hefty raise for house jobs, my Lovely Bride and I get an 8-year-old housekeeper – and a trip to the poorhouse.
It’s not fair, he’s said for months, that his 5-year-old sister gets 25 cents for unloading the silverware out of the dishwasher, while he gets 25 cents for unloading all the plates and cups. (Good point, but Mommy insists equal work merits equal pay. And Carla was too little to handle the breakables.) We’ve told him countless times that he needs to make a proposal. How much should we pay him and for which jobs? Lovely Bride can still remember her father making her write a budget, where she proposed spending on candy, church giving, and so on.
Well guess who learned excel at school this year? (Thanks, Mrs. Clark!)
And the child included hyperlinks to a text document. And a bar graph. And snazzy arrows that I don’t even know how to put in. So today, on the last day of second grade, we signed his proposal, aptly titled, “proposal,” which sets out a price list of 16 house jobs and a weekly pay schedule.
If he does all the jobs once in a week, he’ll get almost $10.
Hey, I want a raise, too.
I believe that some jobs a kid just has to do. In our house, you don’t get paid for setting the table or brushing your teeth. And if you don’t pick up your room, I’ll put your stuff in The Trash Bag.
When my dad told me to collect the trash, I had to collect the trash. I did get an allowance – maybe $5 a week in high school? – without having to do much of anything. I think I got paid for cutting the grass, but it took an hour on our huge riding mower. I just don’t recall wanting to buy much of anything, except tickets to the movie theater 20 miles away.
Eddie wanted two bucks for walking the dog around the block, and we rejected that. Maybe I’m spoiled with having him occasionally walk her for free – but almost always under duress, with loud grumbling. For mopping the kitchen floor, we actually upped the pay from 75 cents to a full dollar – this task requires training and some attention to detail. Maybe this will motivate him to help out more. But something tells me that he’ll eventually choose to ride his bike and not wash windows. Instead of vacuuming, he’ll read a book. And because the new pay-for-work list is optional, I worry that this gives him permission to stop contributing around the house.
And then there’s the question of quality control. After today’s half-day of school and celebratory ice cream, he chose to wash the windows instead of play for half an hour before going to visit Mommy at her office. I never do windows, so I can’t complain about Eddie’s doing 11 windows and seven rooms, even if they do end up a little smurchy.
I can easily suck the joy out of things, so this time I’ll try not to.