Thursday, April 22, 2010


Typical questions on Clubmom hit on difficult, pragmatic things, like how to collect unpaid child support, or are there any real at-home jobs out there. You can sense the sadness and fear these ladies live under. Recently, one particular woman asked something a bit more philosophical, “How do you feel about your financial situation? Are you poor, making it, comfortable, or rich?”

It got me thinking. Growing up, all my parents’s friends were artists. My dad was a sculptor. Everyone had used or own made furniture, beater cars, ate leftovers, and got clothes from the Veterans’s Thrift Store. We lived like everyone else we knew, and that was fine. Fairly often my mom fed surprise supper guests with scrambled eggs, kidney bean salad, homemade biscuits, and coffee.

My own family now owns one used car, though not a beater, has used furniture, eats leftovers, and wears clothes from the thrift store. Those things haven’t changed from the early years, and some of the furniture is the actual stuff I grew up with. But now that our colleagues are in business or professions, we’d be considered poor. I assumed over time our situation would gradually ease up a bit, that it wouldn’t involve constant financial reshuffling to make things work. You know, lay back a bit, with packed out bigger better barns, headed towards retirement, like “other” people. All because I was looking around at the “new normal”.

Our present situation isn’t different than my previous life. But if I assess the overall, our kids are healthy, we are not in debt, and we know how to have fun. So when all is said and done, I think we’re doing OK. It’s a matter of setting myself in the right context.

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