My kids used to have a pretty charmed life. We lived an upper middle class lifestyle. We had a beautiful house, nice leased cars, a boat, etc. I was blessed to be a stay at home mom and able to volunteer w kids' schools and be very active w them. When we separated Husband made several wreckless choices and essentially stopped working- let's just say he has issues. Anyway house got foreclosed on, cars got turned in, I have essentially sold everything not nailed down that I could to supplement my income.. X is unemployed and I get no child support. So things are very tight. Though i am blessed to have a job- I actually don't make enough to cover my expenses but have been managing through windfalls like tax return and unexpected bonuses. But it is hard. I can be poor- i dont need a lot. But the strain is even more difficult because of my kids. My teenager says our financial situation is my fault because I left their dad. He doesn't understand that his dads bad decisions were going to catch up w us no matter what. They want their house back, are angry that i moved them to a (cheaper) neighborhood away from their friends. Son is mad because he doesnt have a car like his friends, of course I can barely afford gas and insurance for my car. But they also want simple things: like frozen yogurt after school on Friday, or to go to in n out for dinner, a new Lego, or to do the after school enrichment class w friends- things which would have been a given before, and I just can't. I am so tired of saying no. The kids, even my youngest, will tell me i am being mean- and say things like put it on the credit card or didnt you just get paid? But that cost literally translates in my head to a tank of gas or a pair of kids shoes or a portion of my weekly grocery budget and I know we can't afford it even if I did just get paid. It's not even that my income is that low, but very hard to support a family of four on it in Los Angeles. I actually read somewhere recently that the minimal comfortable existence for a family of four in LA is 60k...well I live far below that.
I am tempted to sit the kids down w a stack of monopoly money and our monthly bills/expenses and have them manage our budget... But I am afraid it would terrify them. How do you deal w this?
on Apr. 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM