It was 6:30 a.m. and we were in the dog park with Sadie and Joey, our neighbor’s adorable mutts, when my 11-year-old announced she felt “guilty” for charging the dogs’ owners for her services. All I could think is the neighbors are snug in their bed and we’re scooping up poop, praying Joey, the older dog who clearly has one paw in the dog cemetery, doesn’t die on our shift and you feel guilty?
The dog walking gig Savannah started a few months back has been a win-win situation for all. Sadie and Joey’s owners get a dog walker way below the market rate, while Savannah learns the importance of being responsible. For the first time ever, she jumps out of bed in the morning and rushes to get ready for “work.” The real bonus, however, is that for a kid who has struggled socially, she gets mounds of love, affection, and attention, which she never received from her peers.
Still, her comment about charging for her services concerns me. I’m haunted by images of my folding during salary negotiations, caving into unreasonable client demands and reluctantly allowing a date to pick up a check. How many times did I undersell myself? Take less than I deserved? Feel sorry for someone, so put his needs before mine?
Too many to count.
It makes me wonder how as a mother do I teach my daughter to value herself so she doesn’t follow my path or ever feel guilty for being paid for a job well done.