Monday, December 2, 2013

Mommy dollars -- resurrected

I thought my teenaged boys had grown too old and sophisticated for Mommy Dollars.  "Mommy Dollars" sounds like something for little kids, right?  And the boys sure loved them when they were younger.  Fun.  Educational.  But not quite up to teenaged standards of cool, or so I thought.

But the boys -- particularly J-son -- keep asking for Mommy Dollars to come back.  He wants bling to stuff in his pockets.  My magpie child wants to be able to flash cash, even if the cash is pink and purple and orange.  And N-son would be happy to go along.
One disadvantage of a weekly allowance is that -- especially when you're an ADHD kid with impulse control issues -- that a week is, like, forever.  I thought moving from daily Mommy Dollars to weekly US Dollars would provide some valuable lessons in delayed gratification.  But I was premature.  Both boys need more immediate response and reward than the weekly salary.

So, to much hullabaloo, Mommy Dollars are back.
There's a slightly new design, to thwart any attempts to subvert the new system with old Mommy Dollars. But the design of the dollars still celebrates the members of our family.  The sisters are all proud to have their faces on valuable currency.  The dog is indifferent.

The Mommy Dollar system kicks in with a new set of ways to earn moolah (and also, to keep interruptions to a minimum, when to bug me for cash):
$1 feed dog and give him water and tell Mom right away
$2 make bed & clean bedroom floor before school
$5 make dinner (Mom must approve the menu)
$1-$3 write a letter to a relative
Bed-time checks:
$1 bring home school books (CA, Social studies, science)
$1 clean out backpack and hang it up
$1 bedroom floor clean
$1 brush and floss teeth
There are also, of course, ways to spend their cash:

$5 half-hour of TV time
$8 One US dollar. Redeemable only on Saturdays 5-6 p.m.
$1 Bedtime gummy vitamin
$2 (per mile) car ride to an appointment
$1 return phone late (every 10 minutes late, another dollar)
$1 buy back shoes/clothes you leave on the first floor
$8 leave light/radio until morning

I know we'll tweak this as we go along.  But I'm excited to have this fun new project swirling around in our home now.


  1. I'm still impressed by your system and by your responsiveness to your sons' needs. It's also a creative way to meet those at-home needs like TV time.

    Will you also be doing a cash allowance for school spending, or must the boys convert mommy dollars to cash?

  2. Darned good question. We're not sure yet; we're going to see how things go.

    Right now, N-son has ample cash in his bank account and not a lot of desire to spend it, so the question isn't urgent on his side. In fact, today he told me that he gave his Mommy Dollars to his teacher as a gift.

    As for J-son, he's badly in the hole financially, having stolen a pile of money he needs to repay, plus lost a bunch of stuff (library book, cell phone, bike), so he'll have no spending cash for a long while yet. Even more significantly, until we get him headed in the right direction, the whole question of real money is moot.

    In some sense, part of the purpose of the Mommy Dollars is to give us a break from "reality" while we recover and regroup. But as that happens, the transition back to US currency will be an interesting one! -MM