Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Money and marriage

I hate money. I hate bills. I wish I were rich so I'd never have to worry about it. I used to buy into that B.S. that money doesn't buy happiness. I know it would in my case. I'm generally a happy person. But I'm stressing out about money. Whenever we get a lucky break - a big pay check or a tax refund or maybe my husband goes to the casino and wins a couple hundred- we're always so happy. I'm stressing. It's the usual... bank account overdrawn, bills piling up, running low on food...

That's why I decided I'd had enough. I'd get a job. Even though I believe strongly in stay-at-home mom's. I believe even more strongly in not murdering your spouse. ha ha. No seriously, I should start my job this week with a (somewhat small) pay check coming a week or two after that and of course some work related expenses I need to shell out. Then the stress will ease a little. I'm going to school to become a nurse so the real financial stresses won't ease for a few more years.

My husband and I are financial opposites. We were both poor growing up, but in much different ways. He was raised in the ghetto, but his parents still spoiled him in small ways. He never learned delayed gratification. I was raised in the suburbs but with NO extra money. We never had extras. My parents taught me to handle money well- to save, tithe, never gamble. I also learned to be self-depriving. At my Grandpa's funeral my Dad told stories about him and he mentioned how he carried the depression "in his back pocket". This carried down two generations to me too. It was valued in my family to deny yourself. Like if you're hot, not to buy an air conditioner. If you're hungry, not to splurge on fast food. If you want something, not to get it.

When I met my husband he spoiled me. I felt like a princess. (I still do sometimes). Our financial ways balanced each other. Many times, it has been very good for us. I heard that marriage is like two squares shaken together until they become two circles. I think that's a cute analogy. Obviously we're not two circles yet because I can't live on the edge financially like he does any more. Which is why I've decided split our finances and get a job - so I can have a little more control. I used to pay all the bills, but he controled how much he brought in and our expenses (buying new cars without my consent for example). So I had no control. He's got his own bills now, so he can see for himself when the numbers don't add up.

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I heard about an interesting test to predict a child's future. You put them in a room with a marshmallow in front of them. You tell them that they are free to eat the marshmallow, but if they wait until you come back they will get another one. The children who can delay their gratification will have more success in life. I'd love to test my children. I believe you can teach a child delayed gratification. My husband would have SO failed that test as a kid. But he's got other qualities that balance him - he works very hard, and his natural charm, and street smarts. He's slowly learning the delayed gratification. And I'm learning not to be such a tight wad.

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