No Quarter – Parenting Tales From the Trenches

No Quarter - Parenting Tales From the Trenches
No Quarter Parenting Tales From the Trenches

The ease with which we earn, spend and owe money is the basis of many a parent’s stress. Our pay, in most cases, is deposited directly into our bank accounts. Even those of us who work for ourselves, either via freelance or consulting, are increasingly benefitting from e-transfers as a form of payment.

In terms of spending, we do it fast and furiously. It’s just so easy to do so. Online shopping. Amazon Prime. Debit payments at the mall. Click and checkout. If there was ever a barrier to buying anything our heart desired, Google and Apple pay eliminated it forever. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and ye shall receive, shipping and handling included.

Is it any wonder then that our kids have jumped on the virtual money bandwagon?

“Mommy, I need money for the bake sale,” one of my twin boys tells me seven minutes before he’s about to leave for school.

“Please?! They’re going to have cupcakes and cookies and…”

His voice trails off when he sees my face. He knows what’s coming.

“I don’t have any money. I don’t have cash. I haven’t been to the bank.”

His identical twin brother jumps in for additional support and pressure to bring home the point:

“But we need money!!”

I again explain to them how I don’t have any and, unlike their big sister, they don’t have bank cards that I can transfer money to, so it seems like they’re out of luck.

Of course my maternal guilt is into high gear at this time, with visions of my sons being the only two boys in the school not partaking of baked delicacies. Once again, the frantic hunt begins.

“The Hunt” is the frenetic, furtive search for what seems to be the elusive pearl in a sea of oysters. Money. Cold, hard cash. Since it’s been many years since using this form of payment was the norm, not the exception, it’s no surprise that the search is usually futile. Once upon a time, there was a “change jar” in most people’s homes, but with the advent of digital payment and banking, who needs the bother of coins jingling around in one’s pocket — or, in the glass jar as was the way it was done in less technologically-advanced times? Coins, bills and similar forms of payment have been, for the most part, rendered obsolete. Welcome to the future.

It’s been many years since using cash as a form of payment was the norm, not the exception.

As a result of this shift, parents are increasingly finding themselves in situations empty-handed — literally. They don’t carry cash although schools and similar institutions often only take coins and bills. You’d think that we’d smarten up and get ahead of the game, but even when we do, it never seems to work out.

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