Monday, 7 December 2009

The Money Trap

Life plays tricks on you. Whilst at school you are told to work hard, get the grades, go to Uni, get a job - world is your goddamn oyster.

So you work your tiny butt off (or in my case wake up at 4am on the day of said exam and cram like crazy) and get to Uni and find a chosen path that if you're lucky, you can proceed in and make a decent living. Now I've pretty much never done a job just for the raw cash - if you work for the joy of money alone - then I reckon a little bit of your soul starts to shrivel. I've always thrown myself at things full speed - the word 'can't' banned in my book. You can do or be anything you want.

They lie. You grow up and get the career and house and kids and a new word shows up - compromise. Because how the hell do you get a kid to school at 9am and then get to work (40 mins away) for half past? And who picks up the kid from school at 3:15? No one tells you this - that at some stage of your life unless you are filthy rich and can afford a live in nanny - your life, your career needs to change. Not one woman in my office in a senior position has more than 1 child.

Husband and I lay awake last night debating our relationship, our money, our jobs, our life. He wants away from his job - but we have a mortgage to pay, we have a child to feed. We have somehow unwittingly signed up for the money trap - we now need to work to fund what we have: the house in the good area, so Sproglet can go to good state schools, the car, the nursery care for said Sproglet, etc etc. Husband feels pressure, I feel stress. He works nights, I do days, we meet... at weekends when I wanna run the social gauntlet having been a house prisoner for 5 days (bar work) and he wants... peace. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum and it causes us to grind our little irritations, water them until the seeds become massive weeping fucking willows and we do all but kill each other.

We want a ticket out. Yet still have our much loved house. Our very simple, cheap car. The good schools for our Sproglet. Maybe even another child! Ha! Like we could afford that! £927 a month in childcare... I don't think so!

I fell for those lies and yet all is brings is struggle and guilt. Instead of Xmas joy - it hangs on my shoulders - every part of it a chore that has to be squeezed in along side my full time job and time with Sproglet.

I wish I had answers. The new year is about to dawn and I'm determined to take some months off to write this damn book - even if I end up in debt to the eyeballs... It feels like a little oasis I need to swim to for a while. Husband has to find his own way through the labyrinth - I try and hold his hand but he is proud and needs to work out his own solution. I look around - and without sounding like a wanker Tory - I see people on benefits who have 6 kids and a house paid for by the government. I live near those who don't work, who have hired help, who don't have to sweat the bills. I'm in the no mans land in between - the sad middle classes who bought the lie, swallowed the sucker up, applied themselves and ended up on this merry-go-round.

I promise you, I aint bitter - even if this post sounds like I have been licking a lemon for the past few days. I've just had this floating round and round and round in my head - and I needed to get a load off my ever-sagging chest.

Before y'all say it - the way out aint being debt free - that isn't my issue. It's the trying to be all things to all people and somehow have one single second that is just for me - like now, writing this, is so damn hard to do...

One last thing - I can't tell you all how much I've been appreciating the comments of late. Strange as it sounds, it gives me comfort and much joy to know there are like minded souls across the globe who 'get' me. You make my day.


Angela said...

I think what you're experiencing is the big secret our parents kept from us to ensure we'd live fully in adulthood. Unfortunately, there's never enough money, enough time, enough of us to do all we need or want to do for our families.
I'm not a mother yet, but have two little girls from my boyfriend who shares custody with his ex. We face similar issues with how to manage our lives, make sure we're effectively providing the best life for the girls and for our future.
What I can say is hang in there as these challenges you're facing will subside with time and you'll come out the other side with a feeling of victory, with knowing you did what was best for your family.
Good luck to you with your life choices and continue to use the interwebs as an outlet for your frustrations, to express yourself and the weird you encounter in your life (like the neighborhood moms) and share what you can. In turn, those of us in the world - your world - will offer support, encouragement, and a hug when necessary. Remember, you can always just go have a drink. :) All my best to you!

Monica said...

It's so strange that we seem to go through the same things. Although my focus has gone to being debt-free, I think we're going through the same emotions. Just wanted you to know I'm still here, still reading and feeling empathy.