Archive | January, 2012

Love Your New Prada Bag, But I’m Sorry You’re Losing Your House

12 Jan

Let me ask you a question…  What’s the first thing you do if you have financial problems?  Is it?..

A.  Go out and buy a new outfit?

B.  Go through your finances and see where you can cut back?

C.  Open up another credit card because you need more cash flow?

D.  Get hammered to drown your sorrows?

Go ahead, be honest.  And I’ll be honest with you, just out of college I would have chosen options A and D.  When I was married in my late 20s, early 30s I would have chosen option C (although I had a feeling it wasn’t right but I bowed to spousal pressure).  And I have to admit, although A and C are still looking good, I’ve learned that option B is the best.  (damn you, common sense!)

I learned out of neccessity and maturity, of course.  I’ve had times in my life where new expenses come into play (braces, new roof) or you’re selling real estate and things are slow, your income goes down, and I had no choice but to cut back.  And yes, I even had to cut back on nightlife, ugh.  But it’s funny how people don’t want to drink alone, you still go out with your friends and you say, “No, I’m not drinking, trying to save money”, it almost becomes a personal mission then for them to get you drunk.  Cheers!  I digress…

However, there were times when my income was cut in half, for instance after my ex suddenly stopped paying child support.  It then becomes a situation of, you have for example $2,000 in monthly expenses and your income is now $1,000… at that point dropping HBO and saving $20 a month isn’t gonna’ do squat.  Although, it’s still a good idea to look at those things for the long run, the little things do add up, but at that point you need to make major changes like changing your living situation and getting gov’t aid.  Yes, folks that’s a situation it’s designed for, not a way of life, but a safety net for when you need short term help.  But this is all needs to be another blog.  I’ll get to that next time.

My point is… when the going gets rough, tighten up, don’t go get your hair did and take a trip to Aruba.  I know it may be a natural reaction (fight or flight, right?) to want to run away and indulge yourself and ignore it. (hey, haven’t I mentioned that self indulgent thing before? I see a pattern.)  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere and someone is telling me all of their financial problems, like they are going to have to refinance their mortgage because they are two months behind, but in the same breath are telling me about their upcoming trip to Hilton Head.  Uh, what’s wrong with this picture?  They may think they deserve it because of all their troubles, but it’s just adding new ones… and it’s making them look like an idiot.  

There, I said it!  Yes, I said it, other people judge you.  Gasp!  Normally that wouldn’t really matter, but if, you having to stop and think “What Would Other People Think?”, will help you not do something stupid, like spending a fortune on something unneccessary, when you just blabbed about your financial troubles, then so be it.   Stop spending money you don’t have!  It’s really that simple.  Keep a record of income and expenses, keep accurate track.  Get rid of the credit cards, or keep them out of your wallet.  Sorry, it might screw up the economy a little more but it will keep a roof over your head and save your sanity.  You can do it!

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How to Keep Your Daughters Off the Pole…

5 Jan

I’ve been in a relationship for the past three years, well only about a year and a half of it has been serious.  That would be this last half of the relationship.  Before that, I hadn’t been in a serious, monogamous relationship since my marriage 9 years before that. (well my husband didn’t practice the monogamy part, but that’s another story)  Every time I make that statement people often ask me what the hell was wrong with me.  I’d like to think common sense was “wrong” with me. Well, maybe it was just guilt.

 

Oh I dated a ton during those 9 years.  There were times I had two dates in one night.  I had several instances of dating the same person casually several times over a few months but we never formed what I would call a serious relationship. I’m not like some peole who call a guy my boyfriend after two dates.  I take relationships very seriously, I don’t label anything that until there is monogamy, expressing of feelings and coupledom (you know, planning things together).

 

There were men I wanted something more with but they didn’t want it with me.  There were men that wanted something more with me and I didn’t want it with them.  I was a Match.com fiend at some points, having conversations going with several men at once.  It was fun, I wasn’t misleading, we were all just trying to get enough information about the other to see if we wanted to meet in person.  I could write a book about my Match experiences, oy.  I’ll share a few at a later date.

 

Ok, to get to the point… why did I take this route in dating?  Simple answer: because of my kids.  No, I’m not some sort of saint, but it was just a natural first thought for me, “why do I want to subject the kids to my dating life?”.  When my ex left the house my children were 6, 3, and 18 months.  I kind of thank God they were so young, because they didnt’ really notice much of a difference, their Dad travelled all the time with work, he was never home before the divorce.  But still, I wanted them to feel as comfortable, happy, loved, and secure as possible.  Also, within the year their Dad started hanging with and eventually moved in with the girl he cheated with who the kids knew as an occassional babysitter for them previously.  (oh yea, it’s quite a story)  So, anyway, my thought was, that was enough confusion for them.

 

I only went out or went on dates when the kids were with their Dad on every wednesday night and every other weekend.  That part was really hard, I wanted to go out more, especially when I got asked out and had to say no, not tonight.  No man ever came over when the kids were there, let alone sleeping over when the kids were there.  Oh hell no!  No man ever met my kids, unless it was by accident at the store or an event.  The reason I’m telling you this is to show you it can be done, you can put your children first.  Sure we all are tempted to run away and be self-indulgent, especially after being hurt by divorce, but in the long run it’s better for our most precious possessions, our children (and screw the PC, yes we do own them) to use some restraint in dating.  You will only be raising kids with resentment, abandonment, and commitment issues, and then you’ll be bitching later about, “I don’t know what’s wrong with my kid!”.  Yes, you.

 

Also, if you keep moving mates in and out of your house, your children will also learn that relationships are not built on foundations of trust and love and friendship, but are slapped together out of convenience for temporary comfort, sex, and to share living expenses.  And in return they will have revolving door relationship all of their lives, I’m sure with multiple kids by multiple partners.  Might as well have a deli counter take-a-number dispenser at your front door.

 

I’ve heard so many stories about women who their kids didn’t like their boyfriend, or men whose kids didn’t like their girlfriend, and it was a bone of contention.  Or I heard of people getting married and the kids hate the step-parent.  Hey, guess what, maybe somebody should listen to those kids!  It’s not all about what the parent wants, you selfish bastards!  Kids are pretty perceptive, they can spot a jerk before you do.  And even if the person is very nice and you think the kid is acting out, you definitely need to address that.  The kid is acting out for a reason, they have been through enough, they don’t want to share you or have to deal with a new person in the house.  Trust me when I say, you have to work through those issues first before you can plop somebody else into the middle of your family.

 

I won’t lie, there were nights I cried myself to sleep because I was lonely and tired of going to every event at the kids school alone.  But today, as I look at my secure, well-adjusted kids, I thank God for keeping me on the path he did. (and I’m not overly religious)  It wasn’t always easy, but I feel good that I put them first.  I knew men would always be there but my kids would only be young and impressionable once.  And I’m happy that at least for now I don’t think my daughters will be on the pole headlining at the Klassy Kat and my son won’t be a multi baby-daddy.  Knock wood, fingers crossed.

 

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