Monday, September 10, 2012


Over the last month, we've had a lot of conversations with Lizzy that have gone like this:

Lizzy: Look! There's Dairy Queen! I want a small strawberry sundae please!
Me: Thanks for using nice manners, but we aren't getting ice cream today.
Lizzy: But why?
Me: Because it's just not in the budget right now.
Lizzy: Oh. 


Lizzy: I want Goldfishie crackers for lunch!
Me: You can have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but we're all out of Goldfish crackers.
Lizzy: We need to go to the store and buy some.
Me: You're right--in two days, on payday we'll go to the grocery store and get some other Goldfish crackers, but right now we have lots of other things we can eat instead.
Lizzy: But I want fish crackers.
Me: I know, but we have other food to eat instead. Sometimes we don't always get to eat the exact things we want right when we want them.
Lizzy: I have a holler dollar (hundred dollars) in my piggy bank. I will give it to you and you can put it in the budget so I can buy goldfish crackers TODAY.
Me: Lizzy, that's so thoughtful of you, but your Dad and I will always buy enough food for us to eat. I know you really want goldfish crackers, but we have lots of other things to eat instead for now, and in two days, we can get some more at the grocery store.

Anyway, the "budget" is a frequent conversation around our house right now, which is honestly totally fine by me. I like that Lizzy is seeing that the "budget" translates in a real way in our house, sometimes meaning that we might have to wait a few days before doing something, even if it's something that we really want. I think it's good for her to see that when the budget is tight, we don't eat out a lot or buy lots of extras--those things are special treats, not necessarily givens.

This past Friday, Justin was off work. We were driving by 7-11, and Lizzy said, "Dad, I would love a slurpee. Could I have a slurpee?" 

I was expecting the usual "No sweetheart, not today." {It isn't that we can't afford to buy a slurpee, it's just that our eating out portion of the budget is usually very small, and we try to make sure we don't dwindle it away on junk} Anyway, I was expecting a no, but instead Justin said "You bet!" and we pulled in. Justin turned to me, shrugged, and said, "Sometimes, you just have to say yes." Lizzy was so excited getting out of the car that I thought she was going to burst.


And at that moment, I don't think I could have loved the both of them any more. Because isn't that just the truth? Sometimes, you just have to say yes. Not every time, but sometimes. And this time?  I'm so glad he did.


  1. Isn't that the truth. You know saying yes when you usually say no feels great. Look at her grin. And it is never too young to learn about a budget.

  2. It may be the pregnancy hormones, but this totally made me cry!! First, that she offered her money for goldfish. <3 And second, just the sweetness of spontaneously saying yes. Love it all.

  3. i love that this "yes" was made all the sweeter by the "no's" that had preceded it. such a great reminder, especially for this mama who struggles with wanting to say "yes" too much. hugs!!!

  4. This might be my favorite blog post ever! I love that you're having real conversations with her about the budget - how smart! She's going to benefit from that so much as an adult. I also love how you reframed the situation - I know that being on a tight budget and towards the end of the month is trying for you (and for me!), but I love how you just use it as a teaching moment for her. You teach me so much, Meredith! And I love that Justin said yes to the slurpee. He's totally right, sometimes you just have to say yes.

  5. She's the sweetest. I love that you're teaching her about budgeting.

  6. I think this is sweet, I have mixed feelings on it though. I definitely think there are proper ways to handle talks about money with younger kids. Sounds like you're going about it the right way. I have seen it done WRONG WRONG WRONG. So much so that it gives the children insecurity about their situation, or makes them feel like they have to take on a more parental role (more so down in the future). But I love saying yes for fun, random outings like this. Even better when it's my husband who does it ;)

  7. Warm fuzzies :D
    The best part for me is that I can hear Justin's voice saying "Yep!"

  8. It's sad to me you're raising your child like this. Not only does she not have a positive female role model - as you've abandoned your career, but her father has a blue collar job --- and you mention how deprived your family is. AND you're going to have another child? How are your kids going to feel proud of their family having one parent with a working class job and a just a stay-at-home mom for parents? You lack so much you can't even provide your daughter with basic snacks.

    What exactly are you accomplishing by staying at home?

    Your current situation really exemplifies the sickening nature of traditional gender roles and motherhood somehow requiring more sacrifice or being "greater" than fatherhood. Ugh.

    1. Anon-I don't feel like our family is deprived, nor did I state that -- we're just living within our means. I also never said that we couldn't provide our kid with snacks--just not the specific snack that SHE wanted at that moment.

      While you may think that this post demonstrates the "sickening nature of traditional gender roles", I think YOUR comment demonstrates a basic lack of reading comprehension.

    2. ::eye roll:: @ Anonymous. Yes, because what we should really be teaching kids is how one's status in society is only defined by the paid work they do and that making as much money as possible is the most important thing in the world.

      Believe it or not, some people like to define their lives in a less materialistic way, and more importantly no one cares what your individual ideals are.

    3. Because running out of a certain snack (that her husband and her did in fact provide for her child) and not rushing out at the child's demands to go get said snack make them deprived? Get off your high horse anonymous. And when did having a blue collar job become such a disgrace, if memory serves correctly it's those "blue collar" jobs that make sure your electricity works, or your automobile is fixed, or make sure you have said snacks to eat. I really hope you don't have children, cause if they get sick and need mommy to stay home for a day to take care of them - too bad mom doesn't want to fall into the "traditional" role of being a mother.

  9. This is the sweetest story. What a great little family you have. I think it's so imports t to teach kids budgeting early and often. I'm still super new to parenting, but I hope I can do that soon. And I hope I can say yes sometimes too. Thanks for the awesome reminder.

  10. It's funny how those attacks are always "Anonymous", right? Meredith, I commend the fact that you lead by example. Thank you for being a POSITIVE role model for your daughter. She is learning how to live a life where she is going to thrive. You are teaching her to be a stand-up citizen. She won't feel the need to bash those who work in blue collar jobs or those who put their family first in order to feel superior.
    I, for one, truly appreciated hearing about how Lizzy wanted to help contribute to the family. It shows that she understands what you are teaching her and that she will continue to ask the questions that she needs to in order to succeed! You have one smart cookie on your hands and I know you are going to do just as well with #2.
    Lizzy and #2 are lucky to have you and J as parents and I know that throughout life they will be proud to call you Mom and Dad. Keep doing what you are doing!

  11. This is sweet! I think it's good for kids to learn that they can't have everything at the exact moment they want it- we have a hard time with that in this house with Brayden sometimes, because he can climb to get things I tell him he can't have! BUT that's besides the point. I think it's sweet that sometimes, you just have to say yes, because not only is it totally fun on a whim, but it builds memories too!

  12. ¡Dale Courtney! Exactly what she said! According to Anonymous I must have it all worked out being a full time working Mom with a husband in a white collar job. No "sickening nature of traditional gender roles" for MY daughter. What's that C? You want to dress up like Cinderella and walk outside with your imaginary boyfriend? Oh...sure!

  13. I love this so much!

    First, because you're teaching her responsibility. You're teaching her that she can't always get everything she wants. You're teaching her to be appreciative for what she does have.

    And second, because you are teaching us all that as well. Reminding us to raise up our kids in a non-greedy way.

    I grew up in a very "modest" family as well, and appreciate my parents so much.

  14. I just love this. I don't have kids, but my boyfriend has 2 and we've had to have similar conversations (why can't we go to Walmart and buy more Transformers - I only have 150). These are great examples of how to talk to kids - and I need it sometimes!

  15. Oh my gosh, I'm just getting here now and can't believe that this is what generated anon's comment. EVEN.MORE.ABSURD.

    Such a sweet story and gosh, my heart could burst with the love!

  16. My husband and I both work (he's self employed so I have to work in order to afford health insurance). With the cost of daycare being so expensive we still live paycheck to paycheck. Having two incomes doesn't mean wealth. I would love to be able to stay home with my kids and I also realize raising kids is difficult whether you work or you stay home. We women really should spend more time encouraging each other to be the best moms we can be and less time trying to make others feel bad about themselves.

  17. Hey Meredith?

    I just wanted to say, I think you're doing an amazing job teaching your daughter responsibility and that in life, we can't always have whatever we want when we want it.

    Also, I think the time you're getting with your daughter[s] as a SAHM? Ten thousand times more valuable than Goldfish crackers. (I know you said you had other snacks- I'm just being ironic ;) )

    But hey! That's just what I think ;)

  18. Because for some reason it won't let me 'REPLY' to anonymous... I'll just post a new comment.

    Meredith-- I honest to God tossed and turned last night in bed thinking about Anony's comment. And this is my response.

    1.) In what way is Meredith not positive? Taking her child to church, Sunday School, and Mother-Child Groups. Wow. Those aren't positive AT ALL. OH. And don't forget reading to her...and getting her a musical instrument for her birthday to spur her creativity at a young age...

    2.) As far as Justin having a 'blue collar job'...I don't recall Meredith EVER saying how much Justin makes in this 'blue collar job.' Maybe you should EDUCATE yourself on just how much money some men..and women..can actually make at some 'blue collar jobs.' I live next door to a cement layer, which is a 'blue collar job' and he makes upwards of $60,000 a year, which is pretty dang good. I also know a brick-layer...another 'blue collar job' who makes $47,000 a year. MY DAD works in the semi-truck business. He is in a 'blue collar job' and has put THREE CHILDREN through FOUR YEARS of college. So, before you SNUB YOUR NOSE at 'blue collar work'- kindly do some research.

    3.) This day and age daycare is extremely expense. Look into it. Especially with two children. Meredith and Justin don't live off of welfare. They don't live off of foodstamps. And they don't live off of State Healthcare. So the fact that Meredith is a stay-at-home mom and simply BUDGETING her money instead of spending whatever and whenever she wants is SMART instead of EXTRAVEGANT!

    4.) How dare you say that she is DEPRIVING her child because she's not giving Lizzy icecream and goldfish. It's almost laughable. If you gave a child EVERY snack they EVER asked for (and at that age, they take one bite and they're done) it would cost millions. They want everything they see on the t.v.. And they waste almost every food they eat. What is it teaching a child to give them every food they ask for? Yes dear, I'll get it for you. Yes dear, right away? Okay, at 2 years old, we'll get you a sundae. Yes dear, at 2 years old, we'll run out and get you Goldfish. Then at 10 years old, you can go to the park alone (and possibly be kidnapped). At 15, they can have every article of clothing they ask for? At 16, a car? At 18, boys stay over? Parties? It's setting parents up for tantrums if they you decline them...and absolute catastrophe.

    What I'm saying here is. Your response Anony, was not only idiotic. But, it was callous and juvenile. The next time you decide to post something on Meredith's page, how about you post your name so we can have a discussion about your ability successfully co-exist in the BlogHer world.

  19. Also, before I read the anon comment-I was just about to tell you how this made me smile. There was just some much right in this post!

  20. holy cow. that anon comment can not be serious. that had to be someone just making crap up to be a grinch or something. honestly, it's just too far out there and doesn't even make sense. i'm more inclined to think it was someone who just wanted to get a rise out of you. that being said, i'm a say at home mom and even with my husband making six figures, i still consider goldfish out of our budget. i know we live well below our means but now i can't help but wonder if people think i'm depriving my child because we technically can afford to provide our child with much more than we actually give her. ps- i love reading your pregnancy updates! i'm six weeks behind you with a boy!

  21. All comments aside, what a sweet moment for you guys. :-)

  22. Thanks for being a good role model. My kids nickel and dime me to death and i need to say NO more having said yes too many times has bought junk and a credit card debt i am trying pay back now.


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