Saturday, 28 April 2012

Weekend Mornings

6 a.m. on a weekend morning is way too early!!!

How do I explain this to my young children?

I know that they understand the idea of weekends. I'm sure it's their excitement at the prospect of spending all day with mommy and daddy that gets them up so early in the morning. I just wish I could get them to understand that if they let me sleep a little longer, I'd be more fun to be with.

It's not that I'm not a morning person. I actually manage pretty well once I'm up. (It also gives me a head start on unpacking the dishwasher, washing last night's dishes, and doing some laundry.)  However, I like the idea of easing into the day, in order to contrast the rush of weekday mornings.  But the kids are just so awake first thing in the morning.  They are loud and don't comprehend the idea of using quiet morning voices, no matter how often I remind them, or how quietly I speak to them.  And they like to turn on all the lights, before my eyes are adjusted to the idea of daylight.

We sometimes try the everyone-snuggle-in-bed approach, but it isn't very peaceful and snugly for long. It usually ends up with lots of fidgeting, squishing and someone getting hurt.

Thank goodness for early morning children's television. We make weekend mornings pyjama mornings, take some dry cereal into the basement, and I try to let them do their own thing without too much interference. Sometimes, we can even catch some extra sleep on the couch. 

I'm happy to say that as they get older, it's getting easier. I can actually foresee the day when big sister can get the cereal for everyone and we can stay in bed! Maybe one day, we'll even progress to having breakfast being brought to us in bed!

Until then, however, hubby and I have started taking turns. I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning when it's my turn to sleep in...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday Nights

My husband dreads Sunday.  Starting about 4 o'clock, the stress of the week ahead begins to bear down on him and squash out his enjoyment of the weekend.  I don't think he's alone.  I just read about Sunday Night Insomnia: when people can't get to sleep either because their circadian rhythms are out of whack from sleeping in during the weekend, or like my husband, they are beginning to feel the stress of the looming work week.

I don't have this problem.  In fact, I quite like Sunday nights.  I'm certainly not bothered by the idea of the work week ahead.  I know that many people actually start their work week on Sunday afternoon or evening, checking their emails and to-do lists and trying to get a head start on the upcoming week.  Truth is, I rarely have the time to shift into work mode before Monday morning.  Of course, I'll do work on the weekend if I absolutely need to, but for the most part, I'm busy keeping the children entertained, hoping to make our time together quality time, and trying to enjoy them more than endure them.

But I do like it when they go to bed.   Especially on Sunday night.  For me, every Monday is like a fresh start, a new beginning.  So on Sunday night, I like to get prepared for the coming week.  It's my chance to make sure the house is (relatively) tidy, take stock of the laundry situation, plan meals, pack my lunch.   They say we should think of each Monday as a chance to recommit to our resolutions, so I like to use Sunday night to organise myself.  I don't find it stressful at all.  But then, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to being organised, aren't I?

How do you spend your Sunday nights?

Friday, 13 April 2012

How taxing

I finally calculated my income tax return.  OK, I didn’t calculate it myself.  Instead, I either lazily or efficiently chose an on-line tax preparation system over the old-fashioned pencil and workbook method.  Although I wonder if I had done it by hand myself, would it have made more sense to me?  In the end, I am sceptically thrilled at the result.  But I’m torn between wishing that I had submitted it sooner, and wondering if there has been a mistake.
This is the first income tax return that I’ve filed after working (almost) a full year with three kids in child care, and apparently, having three kids in child care bodes well for our income tax calculations.  It seems that the tax credit for child care expenses is primarily responsible for the nicely sized income tax refund we will be receiving.  (I knew there were added benefits to paying someone to look after our kids!)
I don't want to seem unappreciative of our forthcoming income tax refund, but I am wondering a little at the logic of it all...  The thing is, if the child care tax credit is what is primarily responsible for our tax refund, then the whole system seems a little backwards to me.
Instead of making us pay it all out, and then crediting some of it back to us in the end, why can’t the government make child care more affordable and accessible in the first place?
Of course, there's also the federal government’s Universal Child Care Benefit - $100 each month, per child under 6, to support us in our child care choices.  While it's nice to receive the extra money, it certainly doesn't go far in covering child care costs.  Plus, it’s considered taxable income!

As it is, the tax credit for child care expenses capped at $21,000.  We are using one of the most economical options for child care, and even still, it costs us quite a bit more than $21,000 a year.  And the cap doesn't seem to vary according to the number of kids being cared for; the $21,000 limit would apply to a family with one child and to a family with more.
As it is, our refund is not going to be spent in any way that would meaningfully support the economy.  Instead, it’s being used to pay down some of the debt that we incurred by paying for child care in the first place.  Does this make any sense to anyone else?