I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

My photo
I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mama are we poor?

January was a month of belt tightening for our family.  My contract at BYU was cut back by about 2/3 and as of June, I won't be teaching for them at all (as of today), and UVU doesn't pay you for the first month of a semester until the end of the month, and then only the equivalent to two weeks....which is really bad for budgeting and planning.  I have several free-lance projects in the works, but sometimes those take months to be paid for. The budget was tight.  There was no room for splurges or dinners out or special fun things that cost any money.
I'm pretty good with money, but I can get a bit lenient especially when a good deal crops up.
That being said, we were never in danger of losing our house, or having our power turned off.  My car always had gas in it and the fridge was full.
BUT, after about the third time I had said to the kids "not this month, the budget is tight"....William got a concerned look on his face and asked me "mama, are we poor?"
I really almost burst out laughing, but his face was so serious...to him it was a legitimate question.  I put on my best serious mom face and explained to him that NO, we were definitely not poor.  He is still able to do basketball and piano and accordion.  Anna has all her activities. They have shoes that fit and closets full of clothes.  We have internet at home and a wii and a computer and games coming out their ears. And we DO a lot of stuff.  We are a busy family that is constantly on the go...just doing stuff.  We ski and go to plays and the zoo and the aquarium.
My kids have no real concept of what poor really is.  I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing that they've never experienced true poverty, but I'm not sure how to teach them how incredibly lucky and blessed they are because all their needs and a good deal of their wants are met everyday.
How can I teach compassion and a grateful heart to kids who have everything?  I don't think I spoil my kids, but the world they live in is pretty nice.
I think it will be pretty good for us to cut back and watch our expenses.  Good for me, good for the kids who have come to expect treats and super fun things away from home.  And I probably don't really need that sexy new mommy track suit.

*If you are looking for an online budgeting program, I use mint.com.  It is free and easy to set up and use.


  1. Great post La. I think of this subject often and I remember being a bratty middle schooler who felt one day like the world would end if I didn't have a particular Levi Jacket from Christensen's. I really pulled out all the emotional stops arguing the unfairness of my life with my mother when she explained the budget was too tight to buy it. After going the rounds she wisely decided that a good use of my time for the next couple of weeks would be to accompany her in the afternoons to some of the old folks homes to sing and visit them. I was also given projects of cleaning out excess stuff in our basement to donate to DI. You get the idea. She taught me one of my most valuable life lessons about gratitude and giving. Both learned behaviors, both choices of attitude. Whenever I feel poor and deprived I know I am comparing myself to the wrong people. It is hard as a parent in today's world to teach these things to our kids and I hope I do as good a job as she did.

    1. The concept of money as a kid is pretty limited. I remember having the same fit in Christensen's only I think it was over a GUESS book bag...I don't think my kids are the only ones out there who need to learn a lesson or two...and the idea that money is a finite resource is an important one to learn, particularly if I expect to turn them loose on the universe one day and expect them to live their lives without racking up huge debt.

  2. One time when Cohen was complaining about not getting something (I forget what, a toy? video game time? a food treat?) I had enough and explaining that he had so much he should never ever EVER complain. Because there are kids who don't have anything. Then we got online and I showed him a bunch of pictures of starving children. This was either my worst parenting moment or my best. I can't decide.

    1. hmmmmm......I may a note out of your book. I do have tucked away in my bag of tricks something for Anna when she is 15 and hates me and screams at me how I'm such an awful mother and how I'm ruining her life (oh yes, I'm gearing up for it now...it will come) I'm going to sit her down and show her the movie "Precious" and then DARE her hate me and her life. DARE.