hiring kids is bad business

Yours truly replacing the landscape light after hired kid mowed over the previous one

From the series: Life on Dog Hill

One of the most expensive and time-consuming errors that parents make is to hire their kids to “help in the garden.” Trust me, I know. The problem is that I continue to do it. Why? Because they need the $$ and I refuse to give it to them for nothing!

The first time my husband and I learned our lesson was about nine years ago. We hired our oldest son (now 25) and his best friend to dig up a rock that was in the front yard. We wanted to put a patio down for a swing, and the rock was right in the middle of the plan. The boys were young and strong, so it made sense to have them digging rather than us. When they had trouble with it, our next oldest son (now 23) joined in their effort. The bill for their collective time was $150. The rock hadn’t budged. When we finally broke down and hired professionals, they had it out in ten minutes.

Another time I asked one of my twins sons (now 18) to dig up some small oak trees that were growing amongst the azaleas. Imagine my horror to discover he had dug out a beautiful, twelve-year-old azalea. The poor plant was so mutilated in its extraction that I couldn’t save it.

Still, we have continued to “hire” our kids over the years. They need money; we need hard labor. You would think it was a good arrangement unless, of course, you’ve hired your kids and you feel our pain.

Just last week when my other twin was mowing the grass, he mowed over one of my landscape lights in front of the rock wall. The light was chopped into hundreds of pieces leaving hot wires completely exposed. I had to shut down the lighting system until I could repair it. Cost of hiring my son for two hours of yard work: $16. Cost of the light set to repair the landscape lighting: $24.97. Cost of my time to drive to the store for the materials and then make the repair? Let’s just say, I don’t come cheap.

To save other parents from potentially hazardous landscape experiences, I’ve compiled my top five list for why hiring kids for garden work is a bad idea:

  1. You have to work side by side with them to ensure they actually work.
  2. You can’t look away for even a second, lest they destroy something while they are “working.”
  3. Statistics show that it’s cheaper to hire professionals.
  4. Being a parent and a boss is nepotistic and doesn’t support the local economy.
  5. Kids don’t get the real world experience of showing up on time, paying taxes and contributing to their social security. All vital for becoming responsible, contributing American adults.

And, in case those five reasons aren’t enough to convince you what a bad idea this is, I’m adding a bonus reason:

BONUS: You must endure their constant complaining!

Save your garden and your parental relationships: Hire a professional!

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