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Feeling guilty about financial situation...should I or not?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm feeling a lot of emotion about a situation that occurred this morning and I need some honest, insightful input. I knew I could find that at MDC. DH says I'm overthinking it and it's not even an issue to consider rolleyes.gif


Oldest DD is part of a competitive cheerleading club. She had a competition this morning that was held at the city's convention center. Usually there is only the cheer competition going on when we're there, even though the convention center is pretty big, but this morning they also had a few rooms where the Toys For Tots program was doing a dispersal, too. There was confusion and some TFT people were in the cheer line (waiting to get into the arena before they unlocked the doors) and vice versa. Everyone was asking everyone else what they were there for, and which line this was, etc. We didn't understand what the Toys For Tots thing was, exactly, a bunch of us thought the recipients were there to volunteer to hand out toys, or that it was a drop off point, and I heard some parents ask a group of people waiting for toys why they were there for TFT. The mom who answered said, "We're here to get presents for our kids for Christmas". Later, a group of DD's cheer buddies came up to me to get something DD needed out of my purse and they mentioned that the people standing in the other line were giving them dirty looks and whispering, looking like they were talking about the cheerleaders. Once of DD's teammates asked me why those parents were looking at them like that. I had so much that I wanted to say, but before I could answer her thoughtfully, the girls grabbed DD's bow and ran off...

I don't think anyone was giving the cheerleaders dirty looks. Why would they? Doesn't make sense. But I did see the looks on some of the parents' faces...it wasn't nastiness, it looked more...bleak..and tired.... I've never been in a position where I couldn't afford to buy gifts for my kids. But if I was, I can imagine feeling overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted, wondering how I was going to be able to pull Christmas together- a nice meal, gifts, cookies and chips for classroom parties, gifts for teachers that my kids always insist on giving, plus all of the little incidental things that always come up around the holidays.. Looking at kids who are obviously privileged- all of those kids' parents are paying a good amount of monthly tuition, uniform fees, competition and coaches fees, travel expenses for the out of town competitors, etc. And most of the girls have smartphones, UGGS, etc. I don't know any wealthy families in our cheer club, and we are certainly not wealthy, either- but the things that we take for granted are obviously not things that other people in a different financial situation overlook...


I feel guilty that my kids have so much. Not that they don't deserve it all- they really are all great kids. Kind, compassionate, generous, kids. But every other child in the world is just as deserving. For what we paid in cheer costs this season, several families could have had winter clothing, food, Christmas gifts, etc. My DH thinks it's silly to even consider that. But I just can't shake the feeling. Where is the guilt coming from? I don't know. DH certainly works hard to make the money that supports our family. But so do other parents who are still not able to afford what their kids need, let alone an expensive club sport and fancy extras. Or Christmas gifts.


Should I feel guilty? I welcome any and all thoughts. Just really struggling with this tonight....

post #2 of 11

Your going to feel how your going to feel. There really isn't any should or shouldn't. But one thing I can say is why not replace guilt with a healthy action and do some charity things by donating your time

post #3 of 11

Here's the most extreme response I could think of to say you should feel guilty:




However, I do not follow Singer's suggestions. I'm not sure what the answer is. 

post #4 of 11

I'm not one to tell another person how they should feel.


Perhaps this is tugging on your heart strings could lead you to donate to this cause or another similar cause. A monetary and/or time donation is always needed and appreciated. I find that I get more than I give when I'm involved in helping others.

post #5 of 11

I agree with the others.  Donate a bit more time or money or food will make you feel all better.  :D Remember without people who are better off financially everyone will be poor, and nobody can afford to help others.  That's not exactly a good situations.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you to those who responded. I'm feeling better about it all this morning. We do donate quite a bit, financially, and now that I am no longer the primary caregiver for my grandma since she passed away, I will have more time that I can donate, too. My kids have always been quick to offer to donate what they have, and to ask me if we can give money or possessions. A friend told me that depriving my kids does nothing to improve the lives of anyone else, and they are no less deserving of what they have just because other kids have less, and I can see that, I guess. But there is always more that can be given, whether it's time or money. And it's a good time to remind my kids of all that they DO have, because we all take things for granted sometimes, I think.

post #7 of 11

Getting the coldest part of my post out of the way first, yes my family is very well-to-do, and no, I don't care to give away everything above $30,000.00 a year.  Hopefully, we'll use our resources wisely enough that we ourselves won't need charity in our old age.  Expanding on what you said, OP, depriving my children is not how I roll.


I donate time to groups that work to bring about change.  Between the two main organizations for which I volunteer, we touch on issues of access to affordable housing, transportation, income, health care, tax policy.  I think there are groups that do a great deal to alleviate current situations, and those are necessary, but I also think it's valuable to ensure our social, legal, and physical infrastructures are designed to eliminate and prevent the problems of poverty and inequity.  So we do both:  we donate to soup kitchens, and we advocate to raise the minimum wage.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

MariaMadly, when I got DH to actually sit down and discuss it with me, that's exactly what we talked about. It is responsible of us to use our resources wisely and make sure that we don't rely upon anyone else to support us, financially- and that's what we do, and will continue to do and hope that we are able to do it until the end of our lives. DH grew up in war-torn Vietnam. He decided at a very young age that if he ever had children, that they would have a comfortable life. No digging for food in the trash, no bathing in an alley with dirty water, beds, toothbrushes, shoes, etc. There isn't any reason to feel guilty for what he has worked to provide for them (with absolutely no financial assistance from his parents- he did join the military after HS so that he could use the GI Bill to pay for college) and I think that what I was feeling was frustration about the fact that there is so much wrong with the world as it stands. Parents who work hard should be able to feed, clothe, provide medical insurance, house and give their kids what they need. Period. And for a lot of people, that's not a reality. We will continue to donate to causes that support the elderly, the disabled, and children. And, like you, vote to change things for the better at every opportunity. And we are raising our kids to be grateful and generous. Hopefully that's a step in the right direction.

post #9 of 11

Maybe specifically, can you talk to her cheer organization about if they have a scholarship fund you could contribute to so that other kids can have similar experiences? My family has needed to utilize those funds in order to participate in activities before, and always appreciate their availability. 

post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by DTmama1 View Post

Maybe specifically, can you talk to her cheer organization about if they have a scholarship fund you could contribute to so that other kids can have similar experiences? My family has needed to utilize those funds in order to participate in activities before, and always appreciate their availability. 

That's a really great idea -- one thing I've found through sixteen years as a public school parent is that activities can get expensive and unintentionally polarizing.  I cannot tell you how much of my PTO work ended up raising funds using on scholarships for students to participate in activities that would otherwise have been economically exclusive.


(By the way, our metric when given a funds request was always "which expenditure will serve the greatest number of students?"  Our conclusion was that, even if only three kids got the benefit directly, the entire community was better off for them not being shut out of the activity.  It would have been such a loss for all of us not to support their talent and efforts.)

post #11 of 11

Its not something to feel guilty about. The fault is in everyone, society for upholding the monetary system. The monetary system creates scarcity where everyone is competing and fighting with each other just to survive. Money isn't what makes people's lives better. Its technology and access to resources that makes people's lives better. With the monetary system, there will always be scarcity and those with very low/poor standards of living. The way to solve this would be to get rid of the monetary system and use a worldwide resource based economy instead, which would be a cooperative system and a system that supports everyone's standard of living. The technology exists today to distribute and replenish the world's resources so that everyone in the world can have a very high standard of living. You can look up "The Venus Project" to find out more about this solution.

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