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07 September 2011 @ 08:16 am
Warning: Middle Class Suburbanite Rant Ahead  
I suppose some history is probably due here; most of you don't know me all that well, after all (even if I am really only talking to myself).  Lo, whinging.

When I was growing up, I had not much of anything.  By the time I was my oldest daughter's age (she's nine, now), I was intimately acquainted with how to fill out the state's forms for food stamps and WIC.  I'd already filled out my own application for scholarship to my summer church camp (yes, I was a super youth grouper when I was young), and my soccer . . . actually may have started that spring, but was also paid for by filling out endless financial aid forms, as was my ballet (I think that was after I was done with jazz and tap, and am almost certain it was after I was done with gymnastics, but before I started seriously with music).  Violin lessons at four don't really count, regardless how serious business the teaching/learning method was.  I bought my clothes at garage sales held by families of kids I knew - not that I didn't love garage sales, mind, but it's a bit daunting to buy your friend's (or someone you wish was your friend, anyway) old jeans or what have you.  In short, I grew up lower middle class.  I had the things I needed, but only just barely.

Fast forward several years - a decade or so - to when my husband and I are first discussing children.  "You want to live in Grosse Pointe, which is fine, but I don't want kids there unless we can support them in the same manner their peers are supported.  If they want the [insert thing here] that their friends have, I want to be able to get it for them."  Long before I was pregnant the first time, this knowledge was well established.  I had (have, for that matter) less than no interest in following in my family's footsteps.  This doesn't mean that I have any intention of throwing down hundreds of dollars on things they don't need (Morgen is already saving for an iPod at nine and, while Liana doesn't have anything in specific she wants, she's putting any money she gets aside for 'in case there's something big I want, mommy'), but to make sure that if they wanted to play sports or go to camp or wear the same clothes their friends are wearing, they could.  This also includes things like a car for me (yes, I know, I've totaled two and if I hadn't a fair few things would be different) so that I could get them to practices and games and things when Jerry wasn't available to do so, but really?  I only ask for things beyond what's needed at special occasions, and tend to get one gift that covers two (which is fine since I use these to ask for things like a Nook or a sewing machine with quilting stitches, etc).

The point of all this is, we have three kids now.  Jerry just told Morgen this morning that she can't swim this year because we can't afford it (the school year league is $300-ish/season), and complained about all the 'extras' that we also can't afford - Girl Scouts, DI, etc.

I don't even.  I can't deal with this shit - I've been fighting a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes for days, now, as is always the case when the money fights start.

Granted, I don't have a job.  This is for logistical reasons as much as anything else - for a job, I would need a car and daycare for the youngest, and hours conducive to caring for elementary school aged children once the school day is done.  These things really don't seem to exist, at least not in a way that will make it worth a 30-something mother with no degree to rejoin the workforce.  So I stay at home (only I don't, really - there's all the volunteering at the school to consider) so we don't have to worry about those expenses, only it's still not enough.

As I said above, I don't even.
Current Location: 48230
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the next room
thinking outside the next box overbrownkitty on September 7th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)

Karner Bluekarnerblue on September 7th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
I was that kid, like your kid -- I quickly gave up on asking to do stuff like pricey field trips or outside-of-school classes, 'cause I knew my parents didn't have the money. But they did keep me in new clothes and school supplies, and I was never hungry, and I was in a bunch of school clubs and activities (that didn't cost anything or much). And I turned out alright. So if your kid can't have $300 swimming, so what? After all, while you shouldn't starve your kids, you don't have to give them every single thing they want, either, and that doesn't make you a bad mom at all.
juice_of_rowanjuice_of_rowan on October 7th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
yeah, don't worry so much, please. the rightest thing you can give your children in this circumstances is sense of self-reliance and strong will to achieve goals by themselves, and that's a great treasure, quite rare nowadays. and the happy-childhood thing is provided by sense of mutual support in many respects, i believe (at least, it is essential). so please cheer up and don't lose heart.
and, btw, postcrossing, are you still in?