Friday, September 14, 2012

Family Percentages

Kristine recently had a college assignment to write a paper on five ways percentages are used in her job daily.  Her job, currently, is a mom.  So, she wrote the following paper.

I am not currently working, but am a stay-at-home mom of six children.  For a little background, their ages and genders are 10 (girl), 9 (girl), 7 (boy), 5 (girl), 3 (boy), and 2 (girl).  Those numbers will give you a fair idea of where I am coming from with respect to my daily decisions.  Now, to the percentages.

Many times during the day, when all the children are home, I plan a variety of activities for them.  For example, I ask the children to choose between two movies.  Usually, I get a show of hands for one movie and then go on to the next.  Whichever movie wins the highest percentage of raised hands (67%) is the one I slip into the DVD player.  Sometimes, though, this strict percentage of hands raised doesn’t work.  Then, I go with two other percentages – the amount of clamoring for one movie over another, or the amount of weeping over not wanting to watch the least preferable film.

Oatmeal is one of my kids’ favorite breakfast meals.  As I am dishing the gruel into the six bowls, I give the most to my 10-year-old daughter.  Then, in my head, I reduce her portion by about 10 – 15% and serve that to the 9-year-old.  I keep reducing that portion as I go down the stair-step of ages.  I also compensate for those children that are in a growth spurt.  If so, I don’t reduce the portion size from the older child to the next youngest, rather, I give them 100% of the next oldest child’s portion.  Then, you have to consider the fact that sometimes, boys eat more than girls.  Thus, I may add about 5% to the next youngest boy from the girl just older than him.  How’s that for confusing?!

We have five bathrooms in our house, which means we have five toilets, which means we have five places that one of my children can go to the bathroom and not flush (let’s, for this argument, forget about the times the kids pee in their beds or on the carpet or behind a bookshelf or in the basement or out in the front yard as the traffic whizzes by on the street).  When I walk up the stairs and go into the older girls’ bathroom and discover a floater, I can usually deduce whose it is by figuring out the percentage chance which kid was in this particular bathroom.  Being that the older girls pretty much use it exclusively, I can deduce that it is almost a 100% chance that it was either the 10-year-old or the 9-year-old.  Then, since I am well aware that, during her potty career, the 10-year-old has flushed about 99.5647% of the time and the 9-year-old about 4% of the time, I can deduce with about 99.995% confidence that the 9-year-old is the culprit.

Our grocery budget for a month is about $500.  During the summer, when all the kids were home, it went up to about $800 (not to mention the extra few hundred dollars in liquor costs for coping), which is a 60% increase.  Next summer, if we have adjusted our grocery budget for the school year, all I need to do is then add an additional 60% and can be pretty near what we will be spending.
Finally, in my marriage of 11 years, I have been a very happy woman most of the time.  We had a few miserable months, a slightly miserable year, and some very bad days.  But, all in all, it has been quite good.  Let’s say I estimate that we have experienced about 225 bad days over our 11 years (3916 days, not including leap years or ones we slept through the entire day).  This means that, in my marriage, I have been unhappy 5.75% of the time. 

Yipes!  Now that I put it in that perspective, it could be better.  But, that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  Most of those 225 days (probably 85% of them) were heavily weighted towards the beginning of the marriage.  Since then, we have grown closer and closer and now have many fewer bad days, percentage-wise.  In fact, now we have bad hours or minutes and have to struggle to add them up to increase our number of bad days.  Sooner or later, we will be down to adding seconds, which will be too tedious, stressful, and wearying, potentially contributing to bad minutes, hours, and days, beginning the negative marriage cycle all over again, in reverse.

Guess I’ll just roll with it.


  1. Kristine's sense of humor is just as refreshing as yours. I'd love to know what grade she gets for this because, in my opinion, it deserves an A+.

  2. I especially love the liquor component. My cousin and her husband have 5 (ages 9, 7, 5, 3, and 2), and I do believe Bombay Sapphire is an especial favorite of theirs... ;)

  3. I know this is supposed to be all spiritual and insightful but I just want to know how she does groceries for that many on $500 a month. No, really. We have 7 children and spend more on groceries each month (by far) than our mortgage. HELP!!! :)

    1. Ha! No. This blog isn't for spirituality or insight. That may describe some of it, but, not all. Anyway, our budget is probably closer to $750 a month. The $500 was when we were on WIC. We just haven't rebudgeted since.