About Me

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I am a wife, mother, and step-mom. I am not perfect, but try my best to reduce damage control. I have incredible family and friends that encourage us on this adventure. My mom always told me that motherhood isnt for whimps... and I couldn't agree more!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Trouble with Finances!

I am a big Audrey Hepburn fan! If you have ever seen the movie Breakfast At Tiffany's... me and Holly Golightly have a lot in common (And not just in the man department!). I have never had a head for numbers. Math was the HARDEST subject for me in school. So, naturally, this carried over into my finances. I HATE numbers!

I am a hard worker and I actually like working! Before I married, the paycheck that I would bring home would certainly be squandered on mindless things, eating out, and of course IMPULSE BUYS! I justified this with the imposed entitlement that I had worked so hard and thought I deserved to treat myself to something special. I would then realize that I needed to pay my bills if I liked to have lights at night and warm water to shower in. So I would call up the utility companies and arrange a payment schedule to pay the bill later. Eventually later catches up with you!

When I was married, I was able to hold down a secure job. I often worked two jobs to make sure that our bills were paid, since the Mr. I-was-married-to often failed in that department. Before his psychological disorder was really severe, he was good at managing our finances. I would give him my paycheck(s), and he would make sure that the bills were paid on time and that we had a little in the bank to splurge on. I loved this! Even when I wanted something special I couldnt have, not being able to have it now was easier just knowing that we were able to save for it later together. We were a team working together for a common goal. I was no longer poor alone and didnt get that overwhelming stressed out pit in my stomach that I was going to wake up to no electricity in the house tomorrow.

As a divorced mom, I have found that I truly miss and NEED that team feeling in my finances. Personal confession: I have taught my daughter that when you have had a bad day- it makes everything better to go shopping. UGH! Right?! I have used retail therapy for almost three years now to help ease the pain of my failed marriage. This has only brought me more stress, anxiety, depression, and ultimately made me feel completely alone. I am embarrassed about my choices and hide them painfully from those closest to me. This makes me feel even further isolated. Bitterness begins to creep in as I get angry at myself and my ex for his inability to pay anything in child support. (Honestly, more money wouldnt matter if I cant manage it period, and I know this.)

I have avoided discussing finances with my princess fearing that it is one more stress to add to the plate a child should never have had to eat to begin with. In my attempt to protect her- I realize that I might be doing her an injustice. I am not giving her an opportunity to be strong where I am weak.

I also realize that by choosing to openly discuss my finances with her- it makes it not MY finances anymore. It is now OUR finances. I will gain a little team member to help us achieve the goals we want to set. I wont feel so alone anymore. No one is as honest as a child is- and this will help me keep things in perspective.

So I have chosen to find a way to create a team with her. I am researching ideas on budgets, savings, and helping her develop the concepts of how money is made and the value of a dollar.

My next post will include a project we are going to try to help illustrate to kids the concept of a budget and help them understand the value of a dollar.

If you have any ideas to help teach children how to manage finances- please let me know!! I love new ideas!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Singing the V-Day Blues?

I knew that Valentine's Day was coming up this month, and for a moment panic set in as I envisioned myself sitting at home on the couch crying my eyes out because I was going to be alone. I pictured that I would pick up my daughter from school and she would have oodles of Valentines from her classmates. We would share a nice dinner at home. And then from 8pm till I finally would be too tired to stay awake I would sit on the couch with a huge pit in my stomach, sadly sickened that I was alone and fearing I would be alone forever.

This was too much for me to endure after surviving the holidays alone- so I decided to make the most of my singledom and take on the roll of cupid!

I found a married couple that rarely gets time to themselves. I didnt have to look far really, I knew my sister could use the weekend away with her hubby. I have watched their kids before, and so I offered to watch them for a night. This made me feel really good knowing that I was helping someone else have that romantic moment. I realized I was not going to be allowed to sit on their couch sulking knowing they were having a good time while I was at their house alone. So- I made plans to throw an 80s dance with the kids that night at the house. I knew this would keep my mind off of my loneliness.

This just might be one of the many amazing things that my mom taught me growing up: When you are giving to others, it makes it hard to feel like you dont have anything. It takes your focus off of yourself and what you dont have, and puts your focus on others and how much you DO have.

Nonetheless, I do have to say that it is OK for there to be some sadness. I think as a society we tend to not know how to handle sadness and grief. We want to move past it quickly as if it is an emotion that should not matter or be addressed. It is normal to be a little bit sad that you were once married and are now alone. That you had that person that you thought was going to be your Forever Valentine and now they are gone. The fact that you are sad, shows that you really did care for that person. If they were an important part of our lives at some point, we wouldnt be sad but rather indifferent. You may not be grieving that person per say, but you are grieving those dreams that you lost. With this being said, I do think that it is important to not let this emotion to overcome you. Maybe set a certain time away for you to think about those things and give them validation. This will actually help you to keep your emotions intact and avoid becoming numb to the pain because youre not allowing yourself to address it. After the kids go to bed, plan on taking a bubble bath with some candles. I always feel better if I cry in the bath tub; and maybe because I know when I get out of the tub, it is time to rinse that bad mojo off and start fresh. There is something that is so incredibly hopeful about starting fresh.

Happy Valentines Day!