Missive from Michelle: Toiling away for your offspring

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Children are our everything. They are charming and give you such joy while they vigorously, and often literally, consume the household budget. On the balance sheet of life, they may be considered proudly as assets, but they are also a painfully expensive liability.

You have barely recovered from the Christmas and holiday festivities, when the ‘back-to-school’ demands are being made. As you pack away the Christmas tree and paraphernalia, the children thrust school stationery and text book lists at you. You shudder visibly.

Your plan to buy the uniform and books as Christmas gifts was not a popular one, but on reflection of a depleted bank balance, you realise you should have stuck to your guns.

And those kitting out children for Grade 1, Grade 8 and new schools have to cough up even more bucks for the whole shebang. Good luck fellow sufferers. It will be years before you can splash out on a little luxury for yourself – like dinner for two at a decent restaurant. And while your children look crisp and neat, ready for school, flashing the latest iphone/tablet around, they ask you to stay in the car as your at least three-year-old, faded and out-of-date attire embarrasses them.

Dry crackers It does not end there. We are guilt-ridden into providing brain-stimulating school lunches. Gone are the days you bang two peanut butter doorstep sarmies into a lunch box.

School lunches today require the input of a nutritionist and master chef. So while the offspring chomp down on probiotic yoghurt, salads, nuts vege quiches and quench their thirst with refreshing juice, you gulp down water, a cup of tea or coffee and, if you are lucky, find dry cracker rescued from the bottom of a pack at the back of the cupboard.

As they grow older these peeps you created get louder, more demanding and make the groceries disappear virtually before your eyes.
They come bounding in with the rest of their sport teammates in tow, and proceed to generously distribute your monthly supply of food, which is eaten, with great relish, in one sitting.

So parents who are really battling to keep up with expenses in this tough economy can’t but be justified in thinking they work purely for their’children. And their new bosses are ruthless.

School starts today (Wednesday, 11 January), a collective sigh of relief is audible as the household can returne to a routine.
But be warned, you have just discarded the wrappings from the new school kit, when the Easter bunny and his wares begin to lurk among the supermarket shelves… and who can say no to chocolate?


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