Everything I Know About Parenting I Learned From Star Wars

While watching Star Wars the other day, I noticed how much their universe relates to ours. Darth Vader could be a grouchy dad with disobedient kids and Princess Leia a spoiled brat. C-3PO is the know-it-all kid, yours or the one next door, that is always complaining about something and always has an answer to your questions. With that in mind, I present some quotes from the movie relating to situations in the world of parenting.

C-3PO: How did I get into this mess? I really don’t know how. We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.
This sounds like something Calvin would say to Hobbes after breaking something and being sent to bed without dinner.

LUKE SKYWALKER: But I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters.
Power converters, skateboard wheels, the latest GTA. Kids are always going somewhere to pick up something when you need them. Even if they weren’t the second before you asked them to do something for you.

LUKE SKYWALKER: Well, if there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.
Sounds like your typical teenager to me.

DARTH VADER: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Your response to, “Oh Mom, we are never going to get there in time! Why do you drive so slow?!”

OBI-WAN KENOBI: Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Or the corner store. Or that sketchy area of the playground where the kid who already uses deodorant hangs out.

HAN SOLO: Sorry about the mess.
Reminds me of every day of my life.

HAN SOLO: Watch your mouth, kid, or you’re going to find yourself floating home.
Said towards the end of the ubiquitous summer car trip.

SECOND TROOPER: What was that?
FIRST TROOPER: Oh, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.

Replace Second Trooper with “Parent” and First Trooper with “Child”

DARTH VADER: Your powers are weak, old man.
The first day your kid schools you in some sport or game.

HAN SOLO: Great kid! Don’t get cocky.
Your response to the above comment.

And, one more paraphrased quote.
Riding a Big Wheel ain’t like dusting crops, boy.

How to Save for a Big Purchase

dollararmyHow to save for a big purchase? Little by little. The End.

OK, ok, maybe a little more detail would be nice. Saving for a big purchase can be really hard, especially in these days of high limit credit cards. A lot of people have $10, $20, even $50 thousand available on their cards. So why wait to buy anything? Just go out, purchase it and pay it off. That way, you get the item now and instead of saving a little every month, you’ll pay a little every month and already have the item! What a great idea, right?

Wrong.

The entire time you will be paying interest on your card, sometimes over 20%! In the bank, your monthly savings will actually grow a little. And, I do mean a little. 🙂 But a little is better than a big negative something. Also, what happens if you have an emergency need for money while paying off the card, you might miss a payment and that adds to your interest payments! Another benefit is that you might actually find you don’t want the item after saving for it and you can spend that money elsewhere.

Once you have decided what you want to purchase, get a pretty good estimate of the costs and where you are going to buy it. Include taxes and shipping on expensive items or really heavy items. That UPS battery backup might be $100, but it weighs 120 pounds and costs $50 to ship! Then, once you have a final cost, begin the saving.

I find that a separate account is the best bet. It is too much of a temptation to spend from it if you keep it in your normal checking/savings accounts. You’ll say, “Oh, I just need an extra $100, I’ll just use some of what I have saved.” If your item is small and you won’t gain any benefit from having it in the bank, a plain white envelope works great. I know, crazy right? But, an envelope hiding in the drawer is fantastic, you never see it, it just collects money, you can even write on the outside the current balance which is fun. Also, holding a wad of cash in an envelope is lots of fun.

Break your savings into amounts that you can handle every month. A great way is to always save an amount of money and put it in an envelope labeled, ‘Big Purchases.’ Then you always have a little seed money. You can up the amount if you need more for a larger purchase. Set a time frame where the item won’t be obsolete before you buy it. Tech stuff is notorious for this, although a newer model will come out so you can always buy that one. Or buy the original at a lower price.

Then, when it is time, get out your envelope and go buy what you have been wanting and know that you haven’t gained any debt from it. You also may want to just put it in the bank if you used an envelope and use your credit card. Then you get the benefits of using your card without the interest charges since you can pay it off immediately!

Magazine Subscriptions as Gifts

They are not always super cheap, but sometimes you can find a great deal on a magazine gift subscription. Often, for $20 or less, you can purchase a gift subscription for someone you love. This might be a great family gift at Christmas time or birthday gift for a child. It is the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

The National Wildlife Federation has some great magazines for kids. Our personal favorite for toddlers is Wild Animal Baby, which comes in a board book-type cover. Highlights also has some great kids magazines available. Amazon is a great place to find out about magazines and sometimes has special deals or offers. Be sure, however, that you follow through on your gift and check with the recipient to make sure they have received their first copy.

Organization Help

I think most stay at home parents have days when the house and all it’s contents seem overwhelming. You want to be organized, but just don’t know where to begin. Here are a few websites that have some good organizing tips. Beware though, it is easy to get caught up in everything that you could be organizing.

Decide what is most important to you and start there. Make a list or make a plan for how the organizing will be done and how it will be kept up. Set aside a period of time each day to work on cleaning out and organizing. Don’t try to do it all in one fell swoop.

organizedhome.com
unclutterer.com
apartmenttherapy.com

Go Fish

Staying indoors to escape the heat/cold/rain? Keeping driving to a minimum because of gas prices? Trying to figure out how to entertain a preschooler without going crazy? Try Go Fish.

This will require some patience and a deck of cards. Preferably a deck of kids’ cards with pictures of Elmo or Winnie the Pooh. The Boy has a set of Thomas cards which have pictures of the Thomas characters – 4 of each. This set has given us many hours of fun and hasn’t even gotten all bent up an thrashed yet. We first used the set to play things like matching ‘games.’ The Boy would turn over cards until he found two of a kind. Each set of 4 cards has four different colored borders, so color matching is another ‘game’ we played. He’s now has a pretty good attention span, so lately we’ve taught him Memory and Go Fish.

For Memory, I pull out anywhere between 3 and 10 pairs of cards, shuffle and lay face down. We take turns turning over 2 cards to see if we can find a match.

For Go Fish, I deal each of us 5 cards and we put the rest in the middle, in a ‘fish pond.’ Here’s where we deviate from the rules a little. We lay our 5 cards out in front of us so we can each see what the other has. It is too hard for The Boy to hold onto the cards in his hand and he hasn’t gotten the hang of keeping what cards you have a secret. So we have to ‘cheat’ a little – usually in his favor. 😉 Right away he picked up on “Mommy, do you have a …?” and the response, “No, Go Fish!”

The tricky thing for both of these games is that he often wants to play Now! So we’re learning patience too. I think we could start learning a game like Uno in this same way – placing all our cards on the table in front of us.