Home > Uncategorized > This is real life.

This is real life.

I have been bombarded lately with articles and headlines, facebook updates and tweets, regarding someone making some comment about the recession. There’s debates on welfare, on whether people are trying hard enough to find work, whether the rich should have to pay more in taxes than they already do, and so on and so forth. Everyday, I’m bombarded with information that implies that if we weren’t all greedy Americans, maybe we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in.

Now, there’s this. If you just stop buying your kids ipads and video games, and see the joy in them, you won’t suffer and you should just keep on having kids.

Keep in mind that after number 5, I had my tubes tied, so I can’t have more kids anyway. I’m focusing on the part where it’s said that if we just stopped spoiling our kids, we wouldn’t struggle to support them.

Let me tell you a little about struggling, because clearly people like this have never lived it.

Did you know that I spend some time every other week crying, simply because I can’t afford to buy all of the food on the fifth revision of the grocery list? I rewrite it over and over, trying my best to keep my grocery bill for seven people to less than $150 for two weeks. Two of those people are teenagers, for the record.

Oh, I’m sorry. I am supposed to find joy in praying that the grocery bill doesn’t run over, because I have no idea what I’d put back. I need every single thing on that belt. I go through the store, debating what I will put back when it goes over and I can’t pay for it all. “Cabbage? No, that was only 37 cents a pound and putting it back won’t help. Chicken? No, because I need that chicken to stretch for three days while I pick it to death to get every possible crumb of meat off of it and into a casserole. Milk? What will the kids have with their cereal if I put that back?”

The entire time I’m debating on this, and praying it won’t go over, I have children asking for basic things. They don’t want an ipad. They don’t want a video game. They just want a box of goldfish crackers. I thank the powers that be that they misbehaved in aisle 4 so I can tell them they can’t have it because of the way they acted, and not because I honestly, truly can’t afford it. While I do believe that a child should have an understanding of their parents’ finances, a three year old does not need to be burdened with the fact that her mother can’t afford crackers.

This week, I lucked out. I was actually $40 below my grocery budget and could have gotten those crackers if she had indeed behaved. Last week, I went $40 over and I had to borrow money from one of my best friends so I could pay the electric bill. I suppose that evens out in the end, but that leaves nothing else. This week, we paid the rent, the insurance, and the car payment for the car my husband has to have to get back and forth to work, then set aside money for gasoline, bought groceries, had an inexpensive fast food lunch, bought pizza for the kids because one of them was promised a pizza for his birthday dinner and that was over 2 weeks ago, and now we’re broke. There is no ipad. There is no video game. There are no properly fitting pants for the above-mentioned birthday boy. There is no repair for my broken-down van. There are no new tires for the car that badly needs them. There is no payment to my school that is about to unenroll me.

So tell me how I’m supposed to find the joy in that? My kids themselves bring me joy. Of course they do. I love my children more than anything in this world. I struggle because I know we will get through this and we will be okay eventually.

My husband brought home an unopened container of cream cheese from work from when someone brought bagels in, and I was so excited that I had something to eat that wasn’t chicken, that I laid in bed for hours wondering what to do with that cream cheese. Not diamonds. Not a Lexus. Cream cheese.

Sure, there are people out there struggling to give their kids what they want, but most of us are struggling just to give them what they need. I’m sick to death of those that have never had to wonder – truly wonder – where their kids’ next meal is coming from, even for an evening, telling me that I should just tighten the belt a little more and we’ll be fine. If I tighten the belt any more, It’ll be a tourniquet.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

    There is a blogger that had her baby a week after I had Coop. Her two year old and mine are only months apart. She’s talked a lot about all the things that she has bought for the new baby. I’m thankful that mine can wear the clothes and diapers that his older brother wore. (I’m not begrudging her-I’m just saying that everyone has a different budget. Mine doesn’t include new when the old work perfectly well.)

    I have no idea how you feed two teens on that food budget. I hope things gets easier for you. *hug*

    • September 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

      I’m pretty cheap anyway. For instance, I have a prepaid cell phone that cost me $12 initially and I pay around $20-$35 a month to keep it going. I do my talking on the home phone (Vonage) and use the cell for texting and emergencies. It doesn’t even have qwerty but that’s fine with me. Brittany has the same phone, and Ronald did until he lost it. We’re happy to have one at all. A smartphone would be fun, but why waste the money? Not that I have a problem with someone else owning one, but I did have someone make comments about our phones once because they’re “ancient” but this is also a teenager (friend’s son) that has never had to pay for anything in his life.

      Things will get better. It’s just a matter of getting to that paycheck that doesn’t have to be used for everything the day it comes. We’re close… I think.

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