I’ve been pondering this post for days. I began mentally writing it this weekend, and since then I’ve rewritten it a few dozen times. Without so many words, it all boils down to one thing- Money, and the lack the lack thereof.
Throughout my life, one rule has seeped deeply into the nooks and crannies of my brain (mainly by my mother)- never borrow money from someone else. In her mid 20’s, my mom had the financial burden of a hefty home mortgage, 2 children, 2 car payments, and 2 non-English speaking elderly parents. My father also contributed his share to the mile high bills, but the breadwinner was often my mother offering a steady salary and benefits. She never asked for help from anyone. Until this day, every conscious decision in my mother’s life revolves around the question, “is it financially sound?”
Over time my mother’s financial threads helped me to weave my own monetary fibers. I learned the value of saving at an early age. Despite years of begging for Guess jeans, ID shirts, and Nike shoes, she eventually taught me the true value of things (translation- I never owned designer anything). I never borrowed a penny from anyone until college and needed a student loan to pay for tuition. Six days after I wore my cap and gown I began work in a hospital. I worked the graveyard shift in the worst hospital setting of my career. 50 hours a week for a year, just to pay back my loan in full. Since then I traveled across the country, purchased a car and a house on my own. No help from anyone.
Then…I got married, and a joint account emerged.
Five weeks after the birth of Babisodes, I immediately returned to work. Since the age of 16, I’ve had a paycheck. If there was rent to pay, I worked and paid for it. If I needed comfortable work shoes that cost a fortune, I worked overtime and paid for it. However, now I’m a stay-at-home mom. There is no timesheet to fill out or time clock to punch out with. I don’t get a mandatory 15-minute break, or have someone to fill-in while I pee. Most importantly, there is no paycheck.
Now before everyone goes waving their arms in the air about how being a mom is the hardest job in the world, and if moms were paid they would make “X” amount of dollars…I know. It’s just that those monetary fibers have been so tightly bound within me that it’s hard to undo or see through them anymore. Dadisodes has never mentioned a word about my spending. It’s all me. My underlying instincts to only spend what I have. And what’s in my own bank account has dwindled down to nothing. I merely hold onto it because of my mom’s voice echoing in my mind. Since I don’t contribute a dime to my joint account with Dadisodes, I don’t feel entitled to use it unless I’m spending for our house or child.
I have not seen my name on a real paycheck in over a year. Since then, I cannot recall myself purchasing anything for myself without feeling a suffocating level of guilt. So after a year of credit card purchases (thank you ridiculous gas prices) I managed to accumulate a decent size cash-back bonus check. I used all of it to buy Dadisodes’ father’s day gift last week.
He is a big, fat coffee snob loves espresso, and buys it nearly everyday. Now he can make some at home! When shopping for his gift, I couldn’t help but peruse the other shiny items that I would personally love to have. But I won’t buy them…because of that whole paycheck thing.
Instead, I made sure Dadisodes’ espresso machine came with a steam wand. That way he can make me some damn cappuccinos.