I fucking hate this.
"This" being feeling poor. I know in reality I am not in fact poor, that we are better off than much of America and most of the world.
But I'm looking at Strollerderby, and they are flashing some ad for baby clothes from Fred Segal. Meanwhile, I am literally too broke to go to Target and pick up some much needed sandals, shorts and tees for Maggie his summer at like $5/pop. Forget about anything new for me, including the new running shoes I so desperately want so I can start running again and not be so ginormous. We need to fix our roof and our fence, and can't afford to.
And on top of our normal money worries, my husband got careless with the checking account and we are out $350 in overdraft fees. The bank, thank God, waived $105 of the total but is refusing to waive more. Suffice it to say that losing $350 is a hit we absolutely cannot afford. That's our food (and wine!) budget for a month, almost two months of school tuition, more than a car payment, etc. Because of this, neither Paul or I can buy each other gifts for our upcoming birthdays, my mom won't get her Mother's Day gift made good on for awhile, and our much needed night out together this coming weekend will have to be canceled. I can't even think about what bills won't get paid or how we'll manage to buy groceries because that sends me into panic attack.
The stupid thing? Minutes before Paul called me to confess what happened, I was thinking "I am so glad we're in better shape than we were a year ago, or two years ago." And then...CRASH!!!
I'm done being mad at my husband, although I think our days of joint accounts are over for many reasons. But this just points up how shitty I feel all the time about our finances. It seems like all our friends can afford things, can go shopping and buy what they need and even some of what they want, can keep their kids in tons of toys and clothes and even go on vacations every now and again. Everybody else I know who waited to have kids did so to be financially secure---we are less secure than ever.
And I HATE myself for being so envious of what other people have and can afford. I should be a better person than this. I should realize I am incredibly rich in what matters--I have a lovely, comfortable, if somewhat shabby, house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Detroit, I have enough clothes to keep me warm and shoes to keep me covered, we've never gone hungry and I know if any of us had a health issue we could manage. And most importantly, I have a great husband (although a complete doofus about financial matters) and the world's most wonderful little girl. My parents are both healthy, Paul's parents mostly are, and no one whose opinion well and truly matters (okay, maybe one person) looks down on us for being so chronically broke all the damn time. And of course, I don't know what financial situations actually face the people I envy. For all I know they are in debt up to their eyes and a job loss or serious expense would wipe them out.
But it doesn't stop me from hating it. I want to do better for Maggie than this. I want to be able to shop someplace that's not Target or a rummage sale. I want to not feel my throat close with anxiety when the car or the fridge or something else we can't afford to replace acts up. I want to buy something just because it's pretty. I'm a thrifty sort by nature, and wouldn't be buying the $$$$ Fred Segal clothes for Maggie even if money were never a concern. But it sucks that it's always a concern.
And I am so fucking envious of people doing better than me. Why can't I make enough from writing to be able to help us out? Where are the lucrative freelance jobs? Why do things keep getting harder? I could go back to work full time, but with what we would pay in daycare I'd barely clear enough to make a difference, if there were any jobs in my field which there aren't. Plus, I do want to be with Maggie. I waited a long time for her and the thought of tossing her in daycare, even the loving, caring environment she's in now, hurts my heart. But I worry that I am making the wrong choice, that she is going to bitterly resent us for not being able to provide the best of everything for her, for always being "the poor kid."
I worry that she'll be as ashamed of her parent's lack of means as I am. I don't have what my friends have, and it makes me embarrassed. And this seems to be the one thing you can't write about--I have read about bloggers' struggle with mental illness, maritial issues and cervical mucus, but if anyone out there is worrying constantly about money, I don't read about it. It's like the worst thing you can be as a blogger isn't a bad writer or boring--it's POOR.
I just wish I could either go all hippie and not care about material things at all (although I will say many of the "hippies" I know of are still pushing the MacLarens and driving the Volvos) or say "fuck it," go find a lucrative job (which would mean changing my kline of work) and only see my kid on weekends and evenings. Instead, I am stuck in the middle, knowing I am not doing as well for Maggie as the other parents I know are doing for theirs, and hoping that giving her the gift of time will be the right choice in the end.