Sometimes (let's be real, a lot lately...) my financial self esteem takes a dip into the low range. It's hard to never feel like you are really financially stable and wonder what you are doing wrong. I'm not 20 anymore, I don't party, or go to the mall and but a cute outfit just or the weekend and these days i'm lucky if I have enough to buy a cup of coffee. Don't get me wrong, we're not in poverty, we can afford to pay our bills but that's the issue...Once the bills are paid, there's nothing left over...and its nobody's fault. If there is any left (which trust me, its never a lot) it goes to a gallon of milk for the baby, diapers or something necessary but stupid, like toilet paper. It's frustrating. It's hard not to compare yourself to others and wonder why they don't struggle the way you do. It's hard having friends who don't have to worry about having extra and can buy groceries or coffee or whatever just because they feel like it. It's not their fault either, but it sucks. It sucks having to agonize over every penny, or look at that last 8.00 in your wallet and try to balance the need for gas over the grocery store. I am almost 30 and I wonder what I need to do to get to that stable and secure spot, where I don't have to stress so much over finances. I feel like I am in between a rock and a hard place. I stay at home with my now 16 month old, and financially, we took a hit because I no longer get a paycheck, but we didn't really have many options with our schedule. Either I stay home or I work and it all goes to daycare. Silly, huh? The hilarious part is that there is this unspoken status thing that people seem to believe, like if you are a stay at home mom, you must be able to afford it. Nope. Wrong. Like somehow because I stay at home now I must have money to join a gym, have brunch with the other mommies on Thursdays and then retreat to some kind of baby/mommy spa while we wait for daddy to bring home the bacon. The stigma angers me, because there is a group of families that are stuck. We can't afford to go to work and we can barely afford (and I say that modestly) to stay home. We don't have the income to enjoy the fruits of our labor and live a worry free financial life. We are stuck in between the people that are categorized as the "haves" and those that are the "have nots". Then there is this whole other class of person that drives me crazy (I know i'm ranting but please, bear with me...) The type of people who simply leach off of social services and welfare programs without ever contributing anything, having more kids than they can responsibly afford. They get TANF money (Temporary assistance for needy families) and make it a lifestyle, they receive free daycare if they do get a job (must be nice, huh?) and they just take and take. Meanwhile, there are families with kids who have to make serious choices about how to get by every single day, balancing a tight budget just to make it without overdrawing the bank account. I am tired. I feel like society has lied to me, to a lot of people in my spot, actually. They told us to get a degree and we'd have a good job, they told us we could do anything and that if we just follow the steps, we'll succeed. Well. I've followed the steps. I've done what they told me to do. And here I am. Blogging about financial insecurity, wondering how i'm going to make it work. Wondering how my husband must feel working all the time to take care of us and never having just enough to feel adequate. Thinking how it would be nice to go get a latte and not have to worry that it costs 5.00. I know that's a first world problem, I promise i'm not shallow, just upset. I am tired. I am tired of struggling to do the right thing for my family and always feeling behind. I know someday it will be better. I know the time spent with my son now will not return void, but there are days, like this one, where I am just tired of the worry money brings when you don't have enough.
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