Our toddler has been clingy lately, at school and at home, and though I chalked it up to his being 23 months old, I did wonder whether there was something else going on. One of his teachers left his school recently, an it ocurred to me that I haven’t seen several of his classmates in a while.
I was still thinking about it as I walked him into his classroom, where he promptly attached himself to my leg — very unusual for my outgoing little man. When one of his little friends came up to greet him, my boy, still wrapped around my knees, held out one pudgy arm, keeping his friend at arms length. When the friend tried again, my boy pushed him away. “No! No hug!” he said, loudly.
Embarassed, I stooped down to tell him that we don’t push our friends, and then turned to the other little boy to say that my guy just wasn’t ready for hugs yet; in true toddler style, the friend didn’t seem to mind, thank goodness. A few minutes later, their teacher told me that particular friend was leaving at the end of the week. “Home day care,” she said. “It’s cheaper.” Apparently, a few other kids in the class have gone that route as well.
While I can totally understand the need to save money, and while I agree (wholeheartedly!) that child care is expensive, I can’t see myself switching daycares or pulling my kid out of school to save money. I’m not second-guessing the other parent’s decision, I’m just using it as an opportunity to examine my own, I guess.
Another opportunity to do so presented itself in the form of an article at CNN.com yesterday, in which “iReporters” (a.k.a. readers) share how and why they’re trying to make do with less money. One mom has pulled her daughter out of gymnastics class. Another has given up allowances for her kids, among other things. And I wondered… how bad would things have to be for me to let it affect my kids?
If I were single and childless, I would happily eliminate all sorts of things that have become semi-necessities for us. Cable. Land-line phones. New clothes. Going out. But while I’m content to restrict my own spending, I’m reluctant to stop spending money on things for my kids.
I pinch pennies like crazy — in fact, I’ll talking about how to do more with less right here at The 36-Hour Day on Wednesdays. Inspired by Mary O. at Owlhaven, I tried to do 30 Days of Nothing, but I failed. So far, I’m cutting expenses by packing lunches, cooking from my pantry, and sleeping less so I can freelance more. But cut kid-related expenses, especially major ones like school and childcare and extra curriculars? Given the way the economy is going, I may have to face that at some point, but I’m loathe to do so.
How far will you go to save money?