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I’m a human cash machine for my kids. I only have myself to blame

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It’s my biggest parenting regret (Picture: Katie Webster)

Could I have some money for drinks, please? I paid for my haircut and didn’t realise how much it was x 

As soon as I read the text from my youngest son Fin, I opened my banking app and immediately transferred him £50. 

He’s 18 – and still living at home while studying for his A-Levels – with a part-time job coaching football, but he’d already burnt through that month’s wages on Deliveroo and Amazon

Having already stacked the dishwasher myself, alongside other household chores, he had done nothing to earn a reward. 

But we both knew I wouldn’t say no. 

I’ve become a walking cash machine to my sons. It’s my biggest parenting regret – made so much worse because I haven’t followed the example of my millionaire construction magnate father. 

Growing up, despite his financial success, Dad refused to give me and my three siblings pocket money. If we wanted to go to the cinema or buy ‘extras’, we would clean his car; brush the yard; tidy our rooms; or do the dishes. 

Anything my dad could legitimately call a ‘job’, we got paid to do. 

The lesson was clear: money was something you earned through work

Dad took me in the car with him wherever he was going, so I saw his work ethic first hand. He would drive from Cheshire to London and back the same day for weeks. 

Having sat in his boardroom before I could walk, soaking up the business talk like a sponge, I set up my first enterprise aged eight. I made 10p in a few hours – selling hand picked damsons at the end of our drive. 

Dad soon shut down my business. He didn’t want anyone local to think he’d gone broke! 

I swore that any child of mine would be raised with the same values Dad instilled in me (Picture: Katie Webster)

I got my first proper job 11, waitressing for an outdoor catering company for £1.10 an hour. I stayed in hospitality throughout my university years; built and sold an award-winning bridal boutique; then continued my entrepreneurial journey in the luxury goods sector. 

I’m now a multi-six-figure business strategist, working with female entrepreneurs, and an asset-based millionaire in my own right. 

I know how important it is to know the value of money, yet I can’t stop simply handing it over whenever Fin asks. The requests come to me via text and I simply fulfil them. 

Ironically, before having the boys, I swore to myself that any child of mine would be raised with the same values Dad instilled in me.   

My husband Andrew and I never felt the need to have the ‘pocket money’ conversation with each other before our eldest, Tom, now 23, was born. 

Andrew had had the same upbringing as me. He worked to get money for the things he wanted and for Andrew especially, it was implied that our sons would be brought up the same.   

But, as the boys grew older, it became apparent I wasn’t going to stick to what I’d told myself. 

There is no upper limit to what I will pay on travel to keep my sons safe

It started when they became teenagers. Tom turned 13, asked for money for Xbox points and I just gave it to him. With Andrew, it was an automatic no, but it never crossed my mind to refuse.   

The truth is, I felt ‘mean’ saying no when I could easily afford it.    

Fin loves branded clothing and Tom is mad for trainers and football boots. Andrew and I have always been clear that expensive one-off items are strictly for Christmas and birthdays, so they know not to ask for those things all year round.   

However, there is no upper limit to what I will pay on travel to keep my sons safe, so if they ask for train or taxi money, that’s a given. 

Besides, everyone complains about their children being in the house all the time. If Fin wants to go outdoors and have nice experiences, I want to encourage that. Whether it’s lunch, a cinema date or beers at the pub, I’ll pay for it. 

Other mums tell me they pay chore money up front and then they have to nag and moan for anything to be done. That’s energy I personally don’t want to waste. 

I felt ‘mean’ saying no when I could easily afford it (Picture: Katie Webster)

I know from the very few times I have asked for help that the boys will do things around the house if prompted. But it’s more important to me to have a loving, communicative and positive relationship with my sons.   

Andrew doesn’t like that Fin isn’t made by me to do chores. 

‘It’s my money and it’s only £20 or £30 once or twice a week,’ I’ll tell him – and myself. But I don’t keep track and it all adds up. 

Fin works six hours a week for the minimum wage and never saves a penny. He couldn’t be more different than Tom, who is a full-time football coach and likes his money where he can see it: in the bank. 

Tom rarely asks me for anything now. He only ever asked occasionally to be fair, and stopped as soon as he got his first part-time job at 16.  

I don’t think Fin will let up any time soon though, and I have no age in mind when I will stop handing over money.   

It’s too late to change now; both boys are adults. I love them dearly. They are my pride and joy. 

If I could turn back time, however, I would do everything differently. 

Dad had the right idea all along: no child is entitled to allowance or pocket money. 

I don’t speak to Fin about my views. He’s never heard me talk about ‘pocket money’ or ‘chores’, and I don’t intend to start now. 

He isn’t entitled with his money in other ways, and I know he’s a good lad. He wants to become an engineer in the long term, so I think it’s more important for him to focus on revising for his A-Levels than to take on more hours at work.   

I’m hopeful that when push comes to shove Fin will put the graft in when the time comes to get himself a full-time job. 

Until then, I’ll continue to be his ‘human cash machine’. I have no one to blame but myself. 

As told to Michelle Ewen

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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