Broke – When Priorities Override

“Broke” is a matter of perspective

There’s a difference between being broke…and struggling.

My responsibilities to my family come first, before anything else. Before I became married, and a mom? Totally different. I could be ‘selfish’ and spoil myself. My bills were small, and it was no big deal to drop hundreds of dollars on shopping sprees, hair and nail appointments, and drinks at the club.

“Want to go to a concert?” You bet your butt I do.
“$150 for a pair of ripped up jeans?” Shut up and take my money.

But your priorities change when you start a family. And while spending money (and time) on yourself isn’t a bad thing to do, I tend to think about the “what if’s” of the future, and I don’t do it that much. Spoil my husband and child, yes…but you won’t find me at the nail salon that often anymore.

Finances take a new priority

My husband is a stickler for finances (well, it is one of his majors). He has goals and plans to set our family on a good path. And I completely agree with those goals. And even if it might annoy me on nights when I don’t necessarily feel like cooking – I love how he’s able to point out things like, “We have that at home. We don’t need to go out.” Because after the meal, (it’s always after, when I’m not hungry) I always kick myself for eating out when I realize I could have saved $20, $30, $50 dollars by just staying at home and not being lazy. But he’s right – as he puts it, “Just because I have money to spend, doesn’t mean we need to spend it on everything.”

That’s what annoys me when people assume that I’m flat dead broke if I don’t accept offers to do certain things. Be it trips to the spa, or group movie nights, if I don’t see a necessity to spend money, I don’t anymore.

Your idea of “expendable income” changes

This month we have a lot planned. Pre-scheduled  outings to theme parks with family, birthday parties to attend, birthday parties to plan, family to visit out of state…these things are more important than something silly, like spending it on something temporary for myself only.

Don’t say, “Oh, you don’t have $10 to get in?” if I decline an offer to join you somewhere without the kids. That doesn’t mean I don’t have money…that means I’m declining your offer to spend that money on myself. 

And when I say, “I’m kinda broke right now,” that doesn’t mean I’m hurting for necessities. That means my refrigerator is full of food, my bills are paid, and what I have in the bank, I’m saving for an emergency-not an excuse to blow what’s left in my account on just whatever comes along.

Maybe I’m getting old, and thinking too much, but if anything does arise, I’m always the one kicking myself for even spending that small ten bucks on something stupid when I could have saved it.

It’s important, especially once you’re a mom and you never treat yourself, to actually do that once in a while. But if I decline an invitation to do so, please don’t think my struggle is that real…I’m just keeping my priorities in check.

When your family's priorities change your perspective on finances

You Can’t Please Them All…

Life is too short to spend trying to keep yourself on everyone’s good side.

It doesn’t matter who you are; someone is going to have a problem with you. Be it in your work, family, circle of friends, It’s impossible to please everyone. Even if you try your best.
Believe me, I’ve tried.
There’s always going to be some coworker that is going to ruffle your feathers. Especially if you are in some sort of management or supervisor position. Even in job positions where you mostly work by yourself, there’s always someone who isn’t going to meet eye-to-eye with you over some little thing.
Families don’t always get along. And even if they do, there’s going to be some discourse from time to time. Your friends aren’t always going to agree with you, and may even get offended when you chose other priorities over them. Such is life.
The key is to try making yourself happy – not stretching yourself so thin just to accommodate everyone else.
If I don’t have time to pick up another coworker’s slack, if it doesn’t affect my work, then it might not get done. If I decide to have my son’s birthday party in my home, and invite whomever I want to it, it’s not going to be my problem if one person decides they don’t want to attend because they have issues with another family member. That’s their loss, not my son’s, or myself. If I can’t make the wine tasting because my responsibilities to my child come before ‘gossip time’ with my buddies, then so be it.
It does not do anyone any good to be a doormat. When someone is angry at you for not bending over backwards for them, ask yourself…would they really do the same for me?
As long as it isn’t something life-threatening, or extremely important (such as rescuing a stranded person on the side of the highway, or agreeing to pick up a kid from school when emergencies come up), then it’s okay to feel like you can’t commit to every little thing that people want you to do. The people who are true in your life will never hold it against you.
While I might not pick up an extra shift on my off days because someone “Just doesn’t feel like coming in,” or maybe I won’t agree to extravagant locations for family gatherings so it’s easier for people to not talk to each other, or even if I don’t leave the baby with Daddy so I can be the “wing (wo)man” with a single friend as they flirt with the cute guy who bar tends at the club pool, know this…
When you’re in a car accident and late for shift change, I’ll keep things going until we hear you are ok. I’ll check on you and make sure you are spoken to at Christmas time, and don’t feel left out. I’ll hear you cry about the bartender after the nasty breakup, and give you a shoulder to lean on.
I’ll be there when it’s important. I just can’t be there every. Single. Time. Because life is just too short to keep everyone happy all the time.

Shaming: Can It Just Stop?

Ladies, we really need to stop with the weight shaming.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a big woman, or a small; short, or tall.  No one deserves to be made fun of, or to receive negative comments about their appearance. Continue reading “Shaming: Can It Just Stop?”

Guest Post: BFF – Friendships After Pregnancy

I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for the site, Maintaining Me, which is an awesome blog about being a mother as well as a pastor’s wife, and everything in between.

My post topic is about something I think most mother’s go through when they discover they have a little bundle of joy on the way – that the life changing event of having children really does change your life! And sometimes in very unexpected ways.

Every mother is at different stages of the journey of life with their children, too. And sometimes, you might not meet your friends at the same point on the road.

You can read the full text here and while you’re there, check out other great articles!

Don’t Let Them Steal Your Joy

Motherhood is full of Joy, and Doubt…

One thing no one ever tells you, when becoming a first time mother, is the amount of criticism you will undoubtedly face on a day to day basis.

Like every new mom, I thought by doing my research, and making careful decisions on how I decided to raise my child, I would find the answers for every choice I decided upon. And I did-from breastfeeding, to diapering, to which rash cream to use, whether or not to make my own baby food or buy it from the store…but then once my little bundle of joy came into the world, I encountered something surprisingly more annoying than morning sickness and labor pains combined…

The Sanctimommy.

Much like the fabled “Dementors” of Harry Potter, only much harder to detect, they are everywhere. Sucking the pure joy from any mother’s soul with snide comments on how they are such the better parent than you are…on any topic!

You can’t ever win…

I decided to breastfeed because I thought it was the healthiest choice for my child; on a bonding level, nutritional level, and even developmental. I bought a few bottles, just in case something were to happen and Daddy needed to feed him, or maybe something happened with my supply. But we actually didn’t have any trouble with nursing-I have a very strong milk supply, my son was a natural breast-feeder, and when we attempted the bottle he flat out refused.
Enter the Sanctimommy; “Well, why don’t you give him formula so you don’t have to feed him as much?” or, “If you gave him formula you wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night as much, because it’s thicker…” and, “You SHOULD give him formula, he will sleep through the night.”

Now, I’m not shaming formula feeding my any means – and if you feel that’s the best choice for your child, go for it! But I sometimes can’t help but feel when comments like such are made, it’s more challenging of my decisions as a parent, than helpful advice. Especially after I explain my reasoning…and the comments are just repeated.

I experienced the same when it came to deciding whether or not to use cloth diapers- I chose to use them for economical reasons, possible sensitivity issues, and for the environment (you can find my top 5 reasons for choosing cloth here). But the backlash I received from some of my mommy friends…
“Disposables are so much easier, don’t bother, you won’t have time.”
“Do you really want to be washing sh*t?”
Now, these are personal opinion, not that’s there’s anything wrong with it-and for us, not entirely true. I do one extra load of laundry every few days, depending on how much I want to stretch time between washes. And when you properly dispose of baby poo (which you’re supposed to do with disposables anyway), it’s not like you have turds floating around your washing machine. In the end, it’s my choice which diapers I use for my baby, just as it’s anyone else’s for their child. Among my personal friends, I received no support for my decision on this.

And that’s probably the hardest thing for a first time mom; you’re going to have other parents ask you how you do things, and even question it, all the while “trying” to give you advice on how they managed with their kids. But these comments, be it with good intentions or just plain smugness, can really upset someone who honestly just wants the best for their child-and can make them question everything. Parent’s question themselves enough…I really doubt anyone needs help with that part.

Now, if it’s something potentially dangerous, that’s one thing-but if it’s something as silly as whether to use store bought baby food, or homemade, is the challenge really that necessary? Is even any more necessary to argue that one mother’s opinion on certain ways of doing things, is any better than another?

No one is safe…

And that’s what I’ve noticed, not just within our first year as a family, but everywhere! Someone can’t hardly post a picture on Instagram without smug comments on how they should be parenting better. “You should try this…you need to be doing that…”
And maybe it is only out of trying to offer “helpful” advice-but where’s the line between “helpful”, and “sanctimonious shaming?”

One thing I’ve learned this past year? It literally doesn’t matter what you do. Someone, somewhere, is going to think they are a better parent than you are. Another thing I learned? Only you know what’s best for your child. Everyone’s parenting style is different. You use the Cry it Out method? You babywear? You let your kids watch tv? I honestly have nothing to say about how you “should,” or “need” to do anything different!

You can make your own organic baby food, and someone is going to ask you why you don’t just buy what’s in the store. You can buy what’s available, and someone will tell you homemade is better. It’s a no-win situation.

Sanctimommies are everywhere, and some people just get off on being “better than” someone else. As long as your child is taken care of, nothing else matters.

If anyone wants to share pearls of wisdom from their experiences, I’m all ears-until they use the phrase “____ is better.” Or, “…you need to do _____ instead.”
Then it’s all taken with big grains of salt….with my margaritas.

That’s my helpful advice to the first time mom questioning herself after the battle with the Dementors. Don’t let them steal your joy. Just listen, and make your own decision for what’s best for your child.

How to deal with criticism and shaming comments towards your parenting decisions