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Learn to Earn

Another day, another dollar for my kids to spend. Sometimes I wonder where all the money goes. It’s gone before it ever hits my account most weeks. Then I remember oh that’s right we spent $300 in groceries. We paid bills so we would have previous internet service. TV streaming services. Make up. Hair treatments. Clothes. More food. Red Bull. Monsters. Gas. Toys. More food. Coffee. Medicines. Therapy. Psychiatry. More food. The list could go on a full page. Everything costs money and when you have a limited amount and have to work for every dollar you become more stingy with it. I don’t buy for myself. I don’t get mani/pedis bi weekly, get my hair done, frivolously shop for clothing or things for myself, hell I rarely get myself my favorite things at the grocery store. I’m not a martyr. I love doing things for the people I love. If I have $1000 I guarantee that 85% of it will go towards things for the people I love. However, if I have $100, you better believe I’m going to hold it like I’m not sure when I’ll have another. I’m usually quite stingy with money. I think and overthink what we need, what is due next week, next month, and I plan accordingly. I don’t like being broke. It’s a stressor and a trigger from years of financial insecurity. When money is off, I’m off.

My threefold however have grown accustomed, especially since my divorce, of getting everything they want. And they constantly want. I’ve given in to a lot of things I wouldn’t have before because I want them to be happy and I feel like this year has been so awful for them. Things don’t fix feelings, I know this, but it’s something I wanted to do. I want them to smile. I want them to not feel like I’m struggling even when I am. If this little give, give, give has taught me anything it’s that they have to learn to earn. Nothing is ever handed to you in life. If you didn’t work for it you better believe someone did to make it possible for you to have it. These little broke best friends of mine are going to have to learn to earn. Having an attitude of expectation without ever having to put in the effort is entitlement. No one likes anyone that thinks they are entitled to something. You’re not. There isn’t a damn thing you’re entitled to. Having an entitlement attitude is not going to serve you well in life. Sure kids have a right to have their basic needs met, but I learned long ago I have to offer (they don’t have to like it or eat it) three square meals a day even if it’s pb&j all day everyday! You need a bed, running water and electricity. Clothes and shoes, name brands not required. All the other stuff is a privilege. That tv, Netflix and Hulu, internet, the phones, tablets, computers, and game systems. Privileges. We give them because we want them happy. I wouldn’t rip the doors off the hinges and lay a mattress on the ground and lock all the food up, but I’ve thought about it at times…probably even threatened it. It’s so hard to find the middle ground between too much and not enough. I feel that they should keep grades up and show effort, help with household responsibilities, and have decent attitudes towards me and each other in order to earn certain things. I’m not a yeller. I don’t like to be down their throats and on their backs all the time. I want them to relax, unwind, enjoy being a kid without ten tons of responsibilities. They have all of adulthood to clean house, get jobs, and pay their way. So where is the balance? When is enough, enough and too much, too much? It’s time for some real talk about expectations.

My threefold have become far too used to asking mom and mom delivers and if I don’t I’m sure their dad will. I don’t feel like they are taking advantage, I just feel like they are losing the respect and appreciation of the money it takes to do all of these things and to have all of these things. They know where it comes from, they know I work hard for everything we have. I’m just not sure they know what that looks like. It’s feels more like an inability to see value in the everyday privileges that they have and the effort that goes into making sure they have it. I don’t have a lot of help financially I work more than forty hours every week to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for our family. I don’t get child support. I don’t have a big hidden money stash when things get hard. I get up everyday, whether I’m tired, sick, hurt, over it, overwhelmed or just no wanna, and I work my ass off. We live in a nice house, in a nice part of town. They have nice clothes and shoes. They have rooms that are decorated to their tastes. They have nice electronics. Internet service, televisions, streaming devices, and streaming services. They have seen me struggle when they were young. They were excited about a trip to McDonald’s once upon a time. It’s easy to forget the value of money if you don’t have to put in the work to get it or struggle to have it.

I’m probably hyper focused on making sure we have everything we need and want, but it’s something I pride myself on. I work extremely hard and excel at my job to provide the lifestyle I want them to have. They aren’t spoiled brats. They just don’t understand what it takes. I was blindsided the first time a mortgage came in the mail after buying my first house. I didn’t have that money. I didn’t even know how to cook my own meals. After I grew up…more or better yet matured and started raising babies I vowed I would not let my threefold grow up not knowing how to do their own laundry or fix a meal or keep a house. I was going to SHOW them. After losing my first home, being in massive debt, struggling to keep us housed and clothed and keep the electricity on I promised myself I would never make them feel insecure about our money or wonder where we were going to go. I don’t want them to struggle like I did when I started out. I don’t want them to lose everything and fight for every dollar and stress over paying the light bill or buying food for the week. I want them to understand the value, work for their part, and have the knowledge to budget for the things they need and want.

I didn’t need that book “What to Expect When you’re Expecting” I need a book about how to teach your children how to be responsible, balanced, good, and grateful people that become stable adults. I’m in the thick of it with raising my threefold. I’ve got one really close to being an adult and two others that won’t be far behind her. It’s hard knowing if you’re screwing it all up or if you’re on the right path as a parent. I don’t think there is any tried and true path to follow on this journey. I think it’s all subjective and trial and error. Mommin’ ain’t easy, but like all moms tend to say it’s worth it. I know my threefold has amazing adventures and lives ahead of them. I can’t say what those are, but I see the potential and it’s the most amazing view.

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