The POTTY Awards (Parents of The Teenage Years)

There was heated discussion yesterday as we waited at dusk for our sweaty offspring to run off the field and straight into our large parent vehicles (yes, those four wheel drive SUVs), to be immediately whisked away to healthy dinners, hugs and goodnights.

The discussion was about regulations for the POTTY awards. Now let me explain, this is an award for the parent(s) of at least 1 teenager who is 15 years old or older. Applications can be made by single or ‘still a couple’ parents. These are prestigious awards and parents often weigh up when they should apply, how they should present their case, what evidence they can provide in the form of photos, videos, testimonials etc. If one of the offspring is too sporty they wait until the geeky one becomes a teenager so that their application becomes a well-rounded effort.

But last evening, it got a bit hot under the collar between ‘I-work-in-the-city-suit-and-pearls’ and another mum dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Their main contention was about the rules of when to apply. The rules are on the website and their discussion did not engage me. But it did get me thinking, we too could apply next year.

I think there are just too many competing to be the perfect POTTYs of the year so if I really want to be considered, my husband and I have to be honest and lean-in our application from the other side. We will most likely be the only parents angling to be the worst POTTYs and I think we will have a good chance to get the award.

Parents have to present 13 reasons (it is the teen parents’ award) why they should be declared the POTTY parents for that year. The reasons can be any factors that have shaped your teenager(s) from birth until the present day.

Here’s my first draft for the application:

  1. Presents: Several times we have bought our children presents for Christmas and birthdays knowing those items were not on their wish list.
  2. Money: We don’t pay our children money to do chores around the house because we don’t charge them when we clean up sick after they throw up or sit with them late into the night when they are ill.
  3. Food: We don’t have different menus for different family members at every meal time. Our motto is, “There are four of us and seven days in the week, assume someone is always going to unhappy on any given day. If not, it’s a bonus.”
  4. Cleanliness: Yes, we make our little darlings wear the same unwashed uniforms, socks and underwear if they have not put their clothes into the laundry basket. What doesn’t make it to the basket, does not get washed.
  5. Attitude: “Put your heart and soul into whatever you do…” We have had some spectacular tantrums by both teams.
  6. Wardrobe decisions: With our daughter, if we don’t like it, we endure it but if it looks obscene, it cannot leave her room. With our son, we’re just grateful, every day, that he’s dressed before he leaves the house.
  7. Preparation for life: Every year since they could count, we have told our children that they must leave our house at 18, so every birthday they count the years left on that deadline.
  8. Forgetfulness: I was a stay at home mum but I did not take in forgotten homework, forgotten musical instruments or forgotten lunches to school, I forgot all about them too.
  9. Independence: One year, we let our children eat all their Easter chocolate at one go. It became quite a queasy weekend but we’ve never had to monitor the chocolate -lollies intake after that, ever.
  10. Choice of subjects: We don’t make our children choose any sports, hobbies or subjects they don’t like because all it means is extra effort in helping them, tutoring and coaching is expensive and in the long run our retirement plan will suffer.
  11. Dinner time conversation: (Work in Progress)
  12. ??
  13. Responsibility: Recently we have started going to the pub down the road on a Friday night while the kids stay home. Last night, as we walked in the door at 9 pm, my daughter said, ‘I’m really tired, I’m going to bed now, mum. I know you were just down the road but I thought I’d just wait up till you and dad got home.”

Like I said, I’ve still got another year to play with this application.

-Bewildered-

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A Sound Investment

My husband and I were sifting through the Sunday papers at the dining table, lingering over coffee after a late brunch. He was rustling through the financial section and I was looking through the TV guide. And he said quietly, “What would you say to a joint investment? This one seems very popular, most people have invested in a scheme like this. Most of our friends and family too. Apparently, it is quite invigorating to set up initially, then it takes awhile for the due process. There is a cooling off period, if you change your mind. This kind of investment involves everything you would like to do; socialising, shopping trips and sometimes even paid leave.

It is definitely a long-term investment. The initial outlay is quite a bit and continues in that trend for a few years, after about 10 years there is a further increase in instalments. The payoff comes only after about 25-30 years and is varied, depending on the type of product. Some people have had returns of over 80% and others have been lucky to even get about 20% back. Most investors say that the initial dividends are really good. Some years, the dividends have been more than they had ever imagined! But like most partially risky investments, these returns do go up and down a bit. The main thing is that even when the returns have been poor, the investors have never regretted investing, something about ‘the journey rather than the destination’ etc. This venture has helped people make friends, be part of the community, try things they never did before! It truly is an awakening to a whole new world that you never knew existed….                    

If you like, to get more of an idea, we can talk to some of our friends who have made substantial investments in this venture, that way it’s not just some mad scheme that is doing the rounds…..”

And I said, “Honey, I really don’t think I’m ready for children but if you would like to invest in another property or a sports car, a new boat or even a share in a retirement village, I think that would be a more sound financial proposition.”

-Bewildered –