Okay, I’ll admit it…I used to rob my children’s bank accounts!
This was not for any frivolity mind you; it was because my husband and I were always broke.
They were all pretty young when this escapade was going on and since they never kept track of their savings accounts (in those days you had these wonderful little books where they posted your deposits) I was able to abscond with their money. I always deposited the Christmas and Birthday and First Communion and whatever holiday came along, and then the inevitable would happen!
The taxes came due or the car broke down (I drove a 1963 Chrysler Newport that kept blowing voltage regulators and my husband drove a 1964 Chevy Nova that had a hole in its floor!) or the antique house that we lived in had the boiler crack or one of them had to go to the ER and we had spotty insurance. With four kids it was never ending!!! This was all during a period where I was freelancing and work wasn’t always steady. There were plenty of times we were short on money but the mortgage always got paid… even if they did shut our electric and water off once in a while. There was no candy in my house and we actually pulled the plug on Cable TV to which I spent a few weeks listening to the moaning and gnashing of little teeth.
I learned how to feed six people for two weeks on $100 for groceries! I cooked everything from scratch. I even made my own oatmeal bread. Funny, now everyone is on this kick of healthy eating and I never realized that I was ahead of THAT curve.
When we first got married my husband had two demands. The first was that we would always have Maxwell House coffee in the house. This was WAY before DD or Starbucks! The second was that we would always have steak at least once a week. On our “budget” this was never going to fly! So I became creative… Maxwell House was way too expensive in those days so I would save the MH can and buy generic coffee. I would fill the MH can with the cheap coffee and voile´…he never knew the difference.
The steak bit was a little more difficult. He always wanted a good cut of meat cooked to medium rare perfection. I got around this by making stews with the excuse that we needed to spread that steak around for the kids to enjoy. With this little ploy I was able to buy cheap stew beef and just simmer the hell out of it to make it tender! Problem solved.
But there were plenty of weeks where the paychecks or freelance checks didn’t meet and so there was nothing else that I could do but lower myself to ravage the “Kiddy Banks.” There always seemed to be just enough in those little savings books to help pay the oil bill or keep the phone connected and so, reluctantly mind you, I raided these little treasures.
Now I got away with the kids asking for their money by always using the same line…”Oh no honey, that’s for your college education some day.” It worked for the longest time until one day when my youngest daughter wrote me a letter. She had to be all of seven or so at the time and with those big fat pencils you start to learn how to write with I was left a letter that I had no answer for. It said…
We need to talk. I want my money. I’m sick of it.
I was caught! OMG I was caught! So I had to explain to this little kid what was going on in our lives and what I had to do. Of course this wasn’t a good enough answer for any young child, so I was not a popular mommy for a while.
Of course the years passed and all the girls grew up to be beautiful young women in their own right. And just so you know that this story doesn’t end with me being the ultimate bad mother you must know this…
That money came back to them in many forms when their father and I put them through private schools and colleges!
So if any of you young mothers out there are secretly raiding the Kiddy Bank, take heart. Somehow what goes around comes around and you can redeem yourself down the road. I’m living proof of that!
Love ya Steph!