Brew In My Mug: Chocolate Glazed Donut, by Green Mountain

Scene:  Local Ontario Early Years Satellite Centre
(if you have one of these in your area, please check it out!  It can be a godsend for moms, especially stay at home variety like me who are yearning for some adult convo!   Great resources for the little ones makes it all the better!)

Topic:   Oh, it's a touchy one -- money!  Or, in particular, the lack thereof.

So I try to get to our local Resource centre on Tuesday mornings, since Angel Girl has another program on Monday and Wednesday mornings.  As mentioned above, it is a great place for moms (and dads, grandparents, caregivers) to meet and have some social time, while the kids play, and do crafts.  I cannot sing the praises of ours enough.  Even though I may not get there as often as I would like (since it does mean Zoo Zoo would not get a morning nap), I am so appreciative of the good work the wonderful ladies do there.  Plus, it is a great way to get rid of your used toys and books - they rely on donations.   Sorry........shout out was necessary.  Onward.

I am here today with another mom from my church, and at some point our conversation turns to money.  Or rather, the shortage of it.  For us, often, it is living on Grace of God that we get by from pay cheque to cheque.   I think some people are under the impression that Left Brain makes tons of money, and that is why I am able to stay home.  Nay, nay.  In fact, it is the opposite.  We have had to give up a lot of things to allow me to stay home.  I, in particular, have had to make some huge sacrifices.   No nails or hair appointments anymore.   No gym membership.  No shopping for clothes or shoes that are not absolutely necessary (okay -- that one is still tough!)  No dining out.  No movie nights - except for renting.   No trips to DisneyLand every year like our neighbours, Plus, one for just the adults.  Heck, a simple date night is impossible since we cannot afford both a sitter and the date.    But that's okay.  You adjust for the greater good of being home and being the most important influence in your children's lives.  You would be surprised what you can learn to live without.  You learn to appreciate the smaller, and yes cheaper, things in life.   You tend to get outside more too, since the park is free.  I am under no illusion that my willingness to make those sacrifices make me a better person than anyone else.  It has however made me more sensitive to other's needs.

Today my friend was telling me how she had recieved a rather nasty, guilt inducing email from a family member because she had declined a visit to see a new family baby.  It would have meant a hotel stay for several nights, gas, incidentals, etc.  It simply couldn't be done.  The well is dry, people!   I so understand her dilemna.  Too often we have tried to decline an activity or invitation tactfully, but probing noses in our business have meant we've had to swallow pride and admit: sorry, we don't have the money.   It always surprises me, that this surprises people.   I think too often today, we want what we want, when we want it.  Which is often NOW.  Balance zero?  Swipe the credit card.  You cannot do that when budgeting on one income.   Budget?    Also surprising how many don't have one. And how lucky are you if you don't really need one.   No, it doesn't make you a horrible person.  You also have the right to enjoy what you have earned.  Just be aware that everyone is not so fortunate.  Please, try to keep your nose at it's natural level when you encounter my Walmart clad clan out and about.   It is not our intent to offend your sensibilities.  

I certainly promise you I won't begrude your success.  We could have been there too, but I made the decision to stay home, so I will not grumble or complain.   No matter how demeaning it may be to ask Left Brain if I can get my haircut.  That being said, I don't like to be put in the position of having to explain, defend, or justify our finances.  Especially to those who have the luxury of not stopping to question whether they have enough in the account to get that Starbucks.  If you don't have to do the mental calculation:  the baby will need milk, son has outgrown his shoes - again, and daughter has a birthday approaching, all in this paycheque - hooray for you!  One skinny vanilla grande to go! 

In my current situation, unless you are okay with not receiving a gift; the church will allow us to camp on the lawn, and babysitting is complimentary.....no, I cannot attend your wedding.   Unless we are close enough to have an honest, respectful dialogue concerning the why's, please just accept the reply graciously. 

There are already so many divides that can exist between mothers:  breastfeeding, co-sleeping,  spank or spank not, let's also try to ensure that the "have's versus have not's" does not creep into our relationships.  There is already so much we can compare in our lives.  Can we just let this one go? I promise I will not let jealousy, or envy affect how I treat you -- will you promise not to attach a dollar value to your opinion of me?