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#1 of 20 Old 10-04-2005, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to admit that I feel a lot of pressure about some things in parenting and I wanted to write about it more to vent than anything but I know some people might not like to hear it but oh well. I guess I just want to get this out.

I just have to admit that I feel a lot of pressure about my child's future. I think it mostly stems from the region of the country I live in. If you don't have a college degree you can't find a job that will allow you to afford ANY housing. It's just not an option. If you want to own an actual home (not an apartment) and you'd like to ever be able to take a vacation or anything that might cost anything you have to probably have a masters and you really need GREAT people skills, public speaking skills, academic skills, stress management skills, decision making skills, business accumen, social connections, etc. etc. etc.

I know there are many places my child could live in the country that do not require all of these things, but I guess there's this part of me that would feel guilty for raising a child in a way that would incapacitate her from being able to live here where she is growing up. I know first hand how difficult it can be to live here and I don't want her to have to struggle as hard as I have as an adult mostly because I wasn't prepped enough as a kid in some areas.

I want to be a chill mom - but I know that without certain right choices in childhood/teen years, etc. she will be stuck with lifetime impacts of those things. If she chooses not to apply herself - I hate to say this but the fact is she won't get into a good college and won't get a good career. I didn't do this and it is so difficult to make it here. Thankfully dh will be done with his masters degree soon and we'll be ok and my business may be starting to make a little money but we are WAY far away from being able to own a home (they're like $500k and up for the cheapest ones). We're in a 1 bdrm apt. right now. That's ok but I don't want to raise a child that is excluded from the option of housing. I realize she may be a chill person and that money does not equal happiness. I was raised uber poor and dh was too and we don't have a problem with that but there are a lot of options that are excluded to us. A lot of normal-life kind of options for most people in this country. Living poor can be very stressful. Worrying about gas and food $ and stuff like that is just not the kind of life I am looking for for my child. I'm not wanting riches and glam - I'm wanting housing and the option to buy organically and fair-trade, stuff like that- that is not an option for me economically.

Any advice? I know I need to chill and not worry about it but not everyone makes it here - in fact many don't - in fact many people in our country don't make it and I want my child to be able to live a little more than me and not have to worry so much.
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#2 of 20 Old 10-04-2005, 08:11 PM
 
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I live in an area that is much more afordable, our house (half a duplex) was about $120K and we still feel a finacial pressure. I don't have much advice other than maybe you could re-think where you live. I know thats easier said than done. One thing though on the subject of higher education. People these days seem to have something against the traids. Construction contractors, electritions, plumbers and other stilled labor often make realy good money. Sometimes more than people with PHDs. And it is often eaiser to get into those schools if a child is not as academicaly inclined. What I'm saying is I understand your concerns but there are options. I'm sure if you present her with as many options as you are able she will have a good future.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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#3 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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Building on what the last poster said, even if your daughter does decide that she wants to go for a career requiring more education, it doesn't generally follow that because she didn't apply herself in Junior High or High School that she's automatically screwed for the rest of her life. I know it's really easy to get that impression, especially since the places with 500K+ starting home prices are often the same kinds of places where people really sweat getting their kids into the right kindergartens so they can go to an Ivy when they grow up, but it really, REALLY isn't the case in the real world.

Both DH and I were complete screw-offs in High School, to the point where each of us had more absences than presences in some of our classes and are now together at a top-flight university where I'm studying to be a Lawyer, and he's working on a Masters in Biochemistry with the potential of Med School. We had to do a couple of years at less prestigious schools for our undergrads to build a track record before transfering to a better university but once we'd done that no one cared about our previous records from High School. Now that we're in graduate/professional school, people care more about skills than grades -- DH got a unbelievably fantastic research fellowship with the guy who invented Stem Cell research over far more academically qualified applicants because he had experience with lab procedures, which he got because he had to work for a living.
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#4 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 08:52 AM
 
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have you considered relocating to a different area? I know it's hard when you see other peopel - family/friends/starngers having something you want - We are finally buying a home - It's older & needs work but still a home & DH is handy but we are in a pretty pricey neighborhood (not as pricey as yours though) Education is an iffy thing - DH is an engineer his brothers both docommercial construction - guess who makes more - not DH. He's the oldest & we are the last to buy a house. I would be happy living in our apartment - It's big & nice but dh wants a house & wasn't happy until we bought one. If you teach her to be happy with what she has she should be ok.

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#5 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 12:09 PM
 
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I hear you mama, there is alot of pressure to do what is right for your child. We live in a very pricey area, in fact I heard on the news yesterdaythat we are paying the most in the country for gasoline. Everything is $$$ here. We are lucky that we are buying a home. I say that if you teach your child what's important she'll be alright. When your dh finishes school, you might consider relocating, but if you don't she will still have a good life becuz she has a mama who is concerned about her wellbeing.

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#6 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well since we relocated to here I don't think we're up for relocating again any time soon. I'm finally feeling somewhat settled in the region. But it may end up that we have to years down the road.
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#7 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 03:42 PM
 
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What if your child wanted to be a florist? Or what if they wanted to be a chef? Some things don't require a college education. Would you be any less impressed with your child if they chose that route? Would you think they had ruined their life? I think encouraging them to find their own way and develop a love for something is far more important than good grades and college.
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#8 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Persephone
What if your child wanted to be a florist? Or what if they wanted to be a chef? Some things don't require a college education. Would you be any less impressed with your child if they chose that route? Would you think they had ruined their life? I think encouraging them to find their own way and develop a love for something is far more important than good grades and college.
I definitely didn't say anything about value judgements on different career choices. I was talking about economic issues in the region we live in. I would be happy with any career choice my child made that they were happy with.

A chef that could also afford to live somewhere besides a tiny apartment with a million roommates would have to have a college degree here. It's a regional issue. Elsewhere people have a lot of career and life choice options. Did I mention that houses start at 500K and we're quite a ways from the city? It goes up from here.
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#9 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 07:23 PM
 
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Becky,

I understand how you feel. At one point in my life, shortly after my now 10 year old was born, I stressed over her future. When she was born we lived in a little apartment, but it was full of love. When I realized that it wasn't her just her future I was worried about, it was mine, I made a decision to upgrade myself. At 30, my little one was just 1. I enrolled in a junior college, then a 4 year university and got my bachelors. During that time, I got a decent job and bought a tinier than my apartment house near campus, with a nice backyard. I had to lie on the loan application to get that house. We lived there for 7 years. Somedays, I wish we were still there.

We have a bigger house in a nice neighborhood, not as pricey as your neighborhood, but not the dregs either. Now, all I worry about is her affording a decent college. I just make ends meet trying to provide for all of us. I no longer worry about putting her through school. If she wants it, there are loans. I will do what I can to help her get through it, but certainly I can't put her through school and live. If I had stayed in the little house with my bigger pay and saved it, I could have helped her more.

Even if she goes into skilled trades she should get a degree. My brother is a pipe fitter and he had to get a technical 2 year degree to get into the union here.

Nowaways I worry more about how the heck I am ever going to retire ....

It's easy to worry about all the things you think they are missing because of earlier decisions you made or did not make, but honestly, I look at my mom whom is not educated, was poor as could be (we never owned a home, we lived relative to relative) and all I can remember is a house full of love. I don't recall ever being unhappy or unloved.

Hope that helps! Keep your chin up, your little one will be fine!
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#10 of 20 Old 10-05-2005, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by dietzamom
Hope that helps! Keep your chin up, your little one will be fine!

Thanks I really shouldn't worry I know. I think it's just the culture I'm living in. I'm being bombarded here! thanks for the encouragement!
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#11 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 10:56 AM
 
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Read "Bait and Switch" by Barbara Eherenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich, who obviously has many skills and is brillant, tried to get a job under an assumed name.

A good education and wonderful skills and experience are no guarantee of having a job. My dh is guaranteed a job (he's a tenured professor) for now but if the university cut it's budget his position could be eliminated. I have lots of education but no job prospects because I moved to follow my husband's career.
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#12 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Living outside of Washington D.C. a large portion of the jobs that pay enough to afford adequate housing are either government / government contract or otherwise related and have certain guidelines that must be followed pertaining to hiring. There are other businesses here but many many jobs are along those lines. Most of my friends/family/acquaintences work in some function related to the government/support services. So I realize that many people 'succeed' in America without college degrees and many people don't 'succeed' with them, but here the scales are heavily tipped toward the college educated. You can swim upstream here and make it but it's a big fight and you have to take on a lot of struggle. Others of lesser intelligence/ingenuity that I know can just waltz into a 60-80K job because they have a masters and good family connections. I had no idea how many people worked for the government until I moved here.
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#13 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 08:35 PM
 
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First of all- an education does not mean you get a job. You should also go for other reasons- Number 1 to learn. Once you have an education no one can ever take that away from you. Number 2 to better yourself. I'm not talking about money but brain power. It teaches you to learn and to think a better way. 3. With all of this you will have an easier time getting ahead. Because you learned to hold your head up high and not settle for anything else.

Also- you child needs to make that decision for herself. Don't ram it down their throat as their young. Growing up is a learning experience. I doubt you children even know if your rich, poor, or anything. They do know happiness and unhappiness though. So stop worrying and start thinking of great things in your life and apply those and help yourself get ahead.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#14 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 09:19 PM
 
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Amys1st, I have to disagree with you. I grew up poor and definately knew it from an early, early age. Your kids know. Your job as a parent is to make sure that they don't equate being poor with their needing to worry about necessities and whether they're going to have a place to live and food to eat. But kids really do know if the money is tight in their family.
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#15 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Belleweather
Amys1st, I have to disagree with you. I grew up poor and definately knew it from an early, early age. Your kids know. Your job as a parent is to make sure that they don't equate being poor with their needing to worry about necessities and whether they're going to have a place to live and food to eat. But kids really do know if the money is tight in their family.

My husband and I both grew up in poor families. We always knew. Even though parents tried to hide it. We knew. Poverty has many limiting factors. I know poor people who are perfectly happy - my grandparents in particular. But they live in a region where you can be poor and also still afford housing and basic necessities.

I'm talking about the region I live in where housing is very limited and cost of living is very high. Jobs here are mostly for the college educated as well as those with the other successful traits necessary to get ahead in life.
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#16 of 20 Old 10-06-2005, 11:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marybethorama
A good education and wonderful skills and experience are no guarantee of having a job.
I wish I would have known how true this is before I sank a ridiculous amount of money into the college I went to (well, not cash, but I owe SO much in loans it's not even funny). I did well in school, great in an "accelerated," well-known college. Here I am, one year later...not even a single interview for a job in my field. Granted, it's not the college's fault that the field I got my degree in is ridiculously flooded with people seeking jobs right now, but I wish I would have known then what I do now. Not going to college is an option more and more people around my age (I'm 21) are choosing, just for that very reason. Awhile ago when not as many people had degrees, it was very good to have one, but now that so many people do it's not nearly as special-looking on a resume. I'm not advocating blowing off college entirely, but it's definitely not as appealing as it was.

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#17 of 20 Old 10-07-2005, 04:13 PM
 
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I don't think it's so much going to college as it is using the opportunities that you get AT college. I have to admit that I was absolute crap at this... I never did a summer job, never did an internship, and didn't really use college to develop any sort of marketable skills or experiences -- I studied philosophy because I loved it, and I bought into all that 'college is to better yourself' stuff. Which is IS, but I really should have thought harder about how I was going to pay the bills afterward, KWIM? Not necessarily changed my major, but maybe done stuff outside of it to build my resume. But I didn't. So I had to go back and get a second degree in something saleable, and use the resources of being in school to develop professional skills.

DH, on the other hand, is far brighter than I was. He's using the resources of the university to develop his skills to the point that he's even a bit of a resume slut -- he'll do ANYTHING that looks good on his CV. BUT... when he gets out of school, he can basically walk into a production job in his field anywhere in the country because he has more hands-on experience than people who have been out of school for 3-4 years.
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#18 of 20 Old 10-07-2005, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Belleweather
I don't think it's so much going to college as it is using the opportunities that you get AT college. I have to admit that I was absolute crap at this... I never did a summer job, never did an internship, and didn't really use college to develop any sort of marketable skills or experiences -- I studied philosophy because I loved it, and I bought into all that 'college is to better yourself' stuff. Which is IS, but I really should have thought harder about how I was going to pay the bills afterward, KWIM? Not necessarily changed my major, but maybe done stuff outside of it to build my resume. But I didn't. So I had to go back and get a second degree in something saleable, and use the resources of being in school to develop professional skills.

DH, on the other hand, is far brighter than I was. He's using the resources of the university to develop his skills to the point that he's even a bit of a resume slut -- he'll do ANYTHING that looks good on his CV. BUT... when he gets out of school, he can basically walk into a production job in his field anywhere in the country because he has more hands-on experience than people who have been out of school for 3-4 years.

This is exactly the kind of information that I intend to make known to my child. Not forcing on them or pressuring but making sure they really understand how the world works and how to be able to get a job that pays the bills.
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#19 of 20 Old 10-07-2005, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sophmama
This is exactly the kind of information that I intend to make known to my child. Not forcing on them or pressuring but making sure they really understand how the world works and how to be able to get a job that pays the bills.
Yep! I agree. My folks did not know enough to tell me that I should consider college. My dad thought it sure would be good if I worked to become a good secretary. Luckily, I figured it out when my daughter was born, that I didn't have to settle or work two jobs to make ends meet.

Every single day, since she was born she has watched me go to school, or study or prepare papers, for my bachelors and now my masters. She understands that if she does not go to college that her choices will be limited, like mine were!!
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#20 of 20 Old 10-07-2005, 07:48 PM
 
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I really don't feel like this - I feel it is her life, her lessons, and somethings you need to want for yourself to make them happen. I really don't care what she does with her life except I want her to work towards what makes her fulfilled - and if that doesn't include financial security, so be it. I know this sounds callous, but her trials and tribulations will be born/experienced by her, and even tho as a parent I will feel them deeply, it is not happening to *me* and I think some detachment in that regard is the best gift I could give an adult child. I know most of my peers still desire their parent's approval even if they've decided to live without it in order to fulfill themselves, I'd rather save her the heartache of her knowing she is doing something other than what I'd wish for her, so I'll stick to just having wishes for myself
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