The Mom Crutch
Is it possible I am devastated over the loss of Fi’s snack trap? The little Tupperware-like container full of cheerios that she shoves her fist into? It’s become an extra body part, like Captain Hook’s hook. It goes everywhere with us. And it costs $8.00.
I know where I left it: on a mom date at the Time Warner Center. I am actually debating going back to get it. It’s an hour each way, and the roundtrip subway ride is $4.50. Is my time worth more than $3.50?
Logic would say no. The fact I’m even considering this has me worried. Is it because I’m stubborn and/or cheap? Or is it because as a child I was never allowed to waste or lose anything? Maybe both? I once sat at the table with a meatball in my mouth for an hour, refusing to swallow while my father refused to let me leave (I ultimately won, thanks to my mom stepping in). Once, when I lost a flip-flop in a lake, they made me wade to get it despite a snapping turtle warning. Nice. I really could blame my parents for this quirk of mine. But I don’t want Fi to grow up the same and then blame me.
“Mom, I missed the train home from college because I had to walk a mile to the bank to save the $2.00 ATM fee”….
She is already headstrong enough. My entire motivation for the snack trap was the stress in Mommy-Tot Yoga. As soon as I’d settle into Warrior One, she’d dart across the room, stick her grubby little fingers in another child’s trap, and cart away with it. I’d run over, apologize and drag her away, screaming (so much for the zen of yoga)…only to have the scenario repeat itself throughout the hour, leaving me stressed and short of multiple Downward Dogs and Sun Salutations.
I had a similar dilemma about a month ago. Fi flung her favorite sippy cup (one that I can only find online) somewhere in the park, unbeknownst to the sitter who was strolling her. I actually paid that sitter an extra $15 to stay while I went out and scoured the area for the $6 cup. Forty-five minutes into my scavenger hunt, I saw it sitting on a park bench. I twirled around victorious, holding it like a trophy, then raced home to get the sitter off the clock. Yes, mathematically, it doesn’t make sense. But somehow the thought of buying a whole new one—and waiting for it to arrive– just irked me.
In the case of the snack trap, my good friend who lives near the store that sells them went and bought me two. As thanks, I bought her lunch.
I think it comes down to knowing where to draw the line. And what’s extreme. I need to teach her the value of a dollar and how not to waste, but without forcing food down her throat or making her wade into dangerous waters. I’ll pick the ones that count. She’ll know that getting home to see her mom from college is far more important than saving $2. And in the meantime, for all my mom-crutch items, maybe I’ll just buy two. It will save my sanity and probably in the end, a few pennies too.