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!
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!