Poverty and Parenting - Mothering Forums

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Poverty and Parenting

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Member posted 02-05-2001 11:44 AM
The neighbourhood I live in is funky, but poor. There are a lot of 'welfare moms' teenage families, etc. Because my husband is a student and I stay home with the babygirl,
we are poor. I want to address the issue of the condescending view of society and on poor parents, starting with the view of getting pregnant in the first place as irresponsible, and then having every decision, like not vaccinating, undermined as if you are not educated enough to make an informed choice. Why does having a lot of money have to be synonymous with being a good parent? I see so many irresponsible affluent parents out there, parents more concerned with car payments and buying a big house than making the Earth a decent place for their children to live.
Does anyone have an opinion about this?

unregistered posted 02-05-2001 01:02 PM
I have an opinion about this and it is much like yours, although I would not consider myself living under the poverty level. This last year I started trying to live my life more "simply", reducing the amount that I spend etc.. reducing debt, increasing my savings.
I have requested that family and friends not give my son expensive gifts, but in stead, more useful items like clothes or money for their college savings. I would rather not have extra toys that my child doesn't play with, cluttering my home.

It is unfortunate that our society sees people who choose to live life differntly (not consuming everything) as poor and stupid. I question whether poverty can really be blamed for many societal ills. There is an interesting quote in a book called "Ghosts From The Nursery, Tracing the Roots Of Violence" that indicates that poverty does not necessarily cause violent crimes (although that is what it seems like.)

My father grew up very poor, on a farm with 7 siblings and yet, they weren't poor in spirit or knowledge. It is a tough subject. I commend you for challenging us all to think. I am excited to read other posts on this subject!

Member posted 02-05-2001 01:07 PM
I know what you are talking about! When I first got pregnant we did not have a car and I had to take the bus to my midwife appointments. That on top of the fact that I look really young to some people got me a lot of comments. I think it is rude and uneducated on the publics part to think you have to have money to be a good parent. I am now staying home, so we don't have as much money or toys or clothes for Ds, BUT I am there for him. That is what really counts to the children in the long run.
There are good parents who are poor and there are bad parents who are poor. It has nothing to do with money, although the lack of money can lead to stresses that inturn can lead to abusive and neglectful situations. Though the same can be said about having a lot of money.

I must say though, that as a (past) early intervention specialist, we see many more kids from low income familys than from the more affluent familys. This has a lot to do with lack of prenatal care and poor nutrition.

But to think that you HAVE to have money to be a good parent is an uneducated statement. It is very hard on childern when the second carpayment or many vacations (or any for that matter) come before the childrens welbeing.

Good luck to you and your family!

Linda in Canada
Member posted 02-05-2001 01:11 PM
Rainyday, I totally agree with you.

Member posted 02-05-2001 01:34 PM
I'm already getting that attitude from family and I'm not even pregnant yet. I'm planning on trying to conceive this summer as a single-by-choice mother. I realize my income will be reduced as I segue into work that will allow me to work from home/bring baby along vs my corporate job currently, but the reduction in income does not mean a reduction in responsibility, parenting skills or the ability to provide well for my child! I also am trying to practice "voluntary simplicity" and it freaks some of my more materialistic family and friends out, because they find it so very threatening to them personally. I do not equate income with well-being - and I wish others would stop doing that also!

Moderator posted 02-05-2001 02:02 PM
You certainly don't need money to be a good parent, and I think money can create parenting problems (spoiled children etc). We grew up without money, and we used our imaginations for constant entertainment. We were creative, loving, and lively!
There are so many kids today that are drowning in rooms full of plastic toys, disney videos, and games. Many of these kids expect money and 'things' to bring them happiness. That is sad. It's something that frightens me because now we're in a financially stable situation, and I see more and more 'things' building in our house daily.

It's easy to get caught up in the 'buy all to be a good parent' mode, but your children will love you for the time you spend with them, lessons you teach them, and intimicies you share with them.

It is a struggle, but one that will fill your heart, and your childrens' hearts with unlimitted love and joy

Much love to you and your family.

Sierra M-
Moderator posted 02-05-2001 03:07 PM
Yes! Yes! Yes! Rainyday, thank you so much for bringing up this topic. This is something I'm very passionate about, and I'm glad to hear others bringing this up. I think the general attitudes in society about who can and can not be great parents are all screwed up. This is so hard on those of us who are young and/or poor (but don't even get me started on that whole young bit ...speaking of which, I recently completed researching the problem with calling teen pregnancy "a problem", and if any of you want to read what I've written on the topic, feel free to email me.
Anyway, let's keep talking about this. This is great!

[email protected]

Member posted 02-05-2001 04:49 PM
I've been home with my son for over 4.5 years now. I just couldn't leave him to go back to work. We've adjusted somewhat but gotten ourselves more and more into debt. Our home was purchased when both my husband I worked, so it's gotten more difficult every year. Our decision is to downsize our spending and reduce our debt, including downsizing our home. We're moving closer to family (where we used to live) so we have local support and buying a townhouse so we spend less each month. We've made a decent profit selling our single-family home and we're putting a substantial amount into the downpayment on the new place so our monthly payments are much lower. We are also developing plans to get ourselves totally out of debt.
We may not fit in with our "old" friends when we move back home, but I'm sure we'll make some new ones along the way. I do expect that some people will question what we're doing, but I usually don't worry too much about what people think about us.

I'm working on intentionally living a simpler life. It just seems to make sense to me, so I'm motivated to make it work. This move is also forcing us to de-clutter since we'll have less storage space available. We're getting rid of a lot of stuff that we just don't use. It feels great to give our useless stuff to local charities and know that someone will be more than happy to receive these items.

We're not considered poor because we have a house, 2 vehicles and a lot of "stuff" and my husband has a good job. It's all an illusion though, because our debts have been costing us more than our income. Some people who appear rich, may be worse off than we are. Appearances can be deceiving and I don't think that anyone should judge anyone else because of money (or lack of it).

Rainyday, this is a great topic. Because of your awareness, you are probably far richer than some of the people in the upscale neighborhoods who look like they have a lot of money. Hold your head high and know that you're doing a great job with your family. There are good and bad parents in all walks of life.

Moderator posted 02-05-2001 05:14 PM
Rainyday,it sounds like you live on the Drive! We must be neighbours. Honestly, money can't buy happiness. By spending time with your child, and practicing the AP lifestyle, you are giving your child the richest childhood they could have. See you around.

unregistered posted 02-06-2001 06:47 AM
When my first son was born, my husband was a full time grad student and money was very tight. Our health insurance did not cover well child check ups, so I took him to the local county health unit where we could get the check ups virtually free. I received so much criticism from friends and family for doing so. I couldn't believe it! The general comment was that if we couldn't afford to pay for these (full price at the local pediatricians office) checkups, we should not have had a baby. My standard response was that I did pay for the check ups every time I paid taxes! UGH! The way people think continues to shock me.

Member posted 02-06-2001 08:21 AM
When my ex-husband left us my kids were 9 months and 4. I chose to live on very little and get medi-Cal and food stamps rather than anbandon my kids in the middle of turmoil and go to work. It was pretty bad for about a year, year and a half, we barely made it every month. Those in my social circle are AP and understood, but I am sure many others would not have. I heard so many anti-handout kind of comments, especially since no one would have guessed that I was getting some of those hand-outs! I guess I never heard them before I was in that situation.
The experience made me realize how little we really "need". It also makes me profoundly grateful for what I have now. I think these are values I am passing on to my kids!

Member posted 02-06-2001 11:31 AM
Right on, everybody!
I grew up POOR!, with single mom raising 3 kids, etc. I truly believe that even though times were very tough, it made us all appreciate everything that much more.
Now as we are older, I think its funny the contrast my sister and I have between us. She and her husband work, they own a very nice, expensive house, have new cars, their kids have EVERYTHING! My sister struggles to make all these payments and has lived in heavy debt for 15 years. But she says over and over, "I don't want my kids to grow like we did."
Me, on the other hand must have inherited my mothers necessary frugality!I am all about baking from scatch, growing your own food, cutting coupons, buying used, and living simply. I am a SAHM, whereas my sister only stayed home for 3-4 weeks after each of her kids were born, before returning to work full time.
I know everyone has different standards, but it amazes me at times.
We're pretty much broke all the time too. But we have a house of our own (old but suits us), we have a car(old too), we have enough food, we have our health. AMEN!
We too have debts but that's all right.
I am getting used to the fact that a lot of people "with money" are actually just as bad off as we are! If not worse! Appearances don't mean squat to me. Makes me wonder about all those kids in highschool who used to tease me for being poor...I bet their parents were knee deep as well. Makes me sick how parents perpetuate the cliqueishness in schools these days. When kids don't have proper nutrition yet they're wearing Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. just so they fit in, so they're not teased, beat up.
Enough out of me.

Member posted 02-06-2001 03:13 PM
It happens even more when you have the audacity (sp?) to have a SECOND child. When you have one and you're poor the figure it was an accident when you go out and do it again they think you're just plain stupid. My own father gave me a lot of crap about having a second child because we are very broke and living paycheck to paycheck. What they don't understand is that babies aren't expensive. Heck if you play your cards right they're practically free. The biggest step I've taken is to get off WIC. Nothing makes you feel like some dumb baby factory than going to those awful appointments so you can sit there and listen to them lecture about birth control and treat you like every choice you've made is because of them (if it's a good one) or because you're young and uneducated (if it's one they don't agree with). That and I got off the medical assistance because going to the welfare office made me feel oh so much more than judged.

I hat it also when people are shocked and happy with the choices I've made. Like it was just pure luck that some poor young mom decided to breastfeed. NO!! I CAN read!! And I can love my baby.

Heck when I did go to someone and ask for herlp when we were under extremem financial strain (Child support garnished 1/2 my hubs wages for a month) Everywhere I turned they said 'get a job'. Like gee I'd never thought of that before. Silly me thinking that the most important thing for me to do was to nurture my two babies!!!

Sorry you hit a nerve there!


Member posted 02-06-2001 03:22 PM
Also wanted to chime in about how people who seem to have more can actually have less. My sister (again) has 4 kids and a house and FOUR cars (2 drivers in the family?) Count them, 10 MAXED OUT credit cards, bills up the wazzu. And they've just decided to file bankruptcy!!! This after years of tormenting us because we live in an apartment, buy cheep used things and only recently got one credit card for emergencies.
Who's really poor here?


Moderator posted 02-06-2001 04:15 PM
I know that raising kids successfully does not take a huge budget. One of the best parents I ever met was/is a single mom on social assistance. Through innovation, a good friend network, and superb budgeting, her kids never lacked for anything materially.
On the other hand, the social opprobrium you face is coming from somewhere. It may not be condescention as much as outright dislike and suspicion, the predictable result of a society which champions competition and the illusion of self-sufficiency over the values of sympathy and community. (It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Bart has given the organist a copy of "In A Gadda Da Vida" -- the subsequent cleansing prayer refers to burning pits of Hell full of single mothers.)

And some of the uncertain looks you're getting could be genuine, if misplaced, concern for the children. Many people do have their kids too young, or without sufficient resources.

Anyway, chin up, it's none of their business.

Member posted 02-06-2001 06:01 PM
Boy, does this bring back memories! First as a teen-aged mom whom everyone assumed was ignorant although I had educated myself better than the general population on pg, birth, bf, vax, etc.. only to be treated like crap at any appt...
Then when my "d"h left me with 4 kids 7,6,2,1 and I was without a degree or work experience, it was the same all over again!
I am going to admit here, for those who don't know what it's like to actually go hungry, or for those of you who DO, and I certainly admire you if you've made different decisions, that I immediately determined that my children were going to have a decent life. That meant, at the time, working 3 ! jobs to keep our house in a good school district (although I had vowed they'd never attend public school), and more. Now I wonder what the best course of action should have been. I'm still working full time, hope to go to part time soon, the kids now have a very secure life. Looking back, I would not bring a child into the world while I have to work full-time, that was never my intention,
but I wonder, is it possible to enjoy this "low- consumer" type of lifestyle if you have teens? We now live in an affluent area because of my dh's job, and teens "need?" things such as school-sponsored trips out-of-state, etc. Guess I'm re-thinking this as my kids grow older, as well as rebounding from the experience of being truly "poor." I don't want them to ever suffer the way I did (only the oldest can remember.) All said, I concede that it's much easier if consistancy is in place i.e., home-schooled for the duration.
Funny how differently I'm viewed by professionals now that I'm older and have money, when I've actually lat my "health-ed." languish in the rat race!
I know where you younger folks are coming from!

Member posted 02-06-2001 06:53 PM
I said about the same thing in regard to 'respondent', (our friend in Illinois; if you are reading this but can't say 'hi' because of gag order, 'hi anyways!)...
If she had had a house with a 'kid's room' to spare & just chose not to use it while cosleeping; and a hubby with a great job to help her out instead of a malicious ignorant babysitter, I do not think she would've been in court.

Oh, people would still call her crazy, but it wouldn't have gone to CPS. My view, anyway.

It is so funny; I've driven an '84 beat up station wagon for years, and *certain* neighbors never deigned to speak to me... now that dh is moving up the ladder & we have 2 (still oldish, but clearly in a 'different class') decent looking vehicles, some of them are making moves towards friendliness. Oh, how NICE of them to decide that I am a better person & worth speaking to now! (I am polite, of course, but I am maintaining the relationships I had with neighbors that were friendly & kind while I was still obviously po'!)

It IS hard to not want more 'things' as we are getting better able to afford them- I think God wanted to remind me of whence I came, as our heater blew up & we can't afford to get it fixed (I hate space heaters with a passion; my dad's house & dog burned down on Xmas day because of the &%$#@ things). We were counting on using the income tax refund to do it; imagine our surprise when we did our taxes & OWE $185 bucks. Damn, woulda thought the 1/3 of our income they took out already would've sufficed! Now I AM kinda glad Bush won (tho' I'm still voting Libertarian! We would've owed closer to $1000 if it wasn't for charitable contributions-i.e., Goodwill & the Lung Association, who got my old car).

Oh well- I always say, the only crime in Amerika is to be poor. Sucks, don't it?

Keep your chin up & remember that by staying with your infant & practising AP, you are giving them something money could never buy. My baby does not care that his 'diaper bag' is an old backpack, not the bitchin' $80 one in the catalog- he's just glad I'M there.


Member posted 02-06-2001 07:14 PM
I spent many years working as a nanny for several different families before getting married and having my own baby. One thing I learned through my experience was that when I had my own children, I would take care of them myself.
I worked for many affluent people, some of whom were great parents, and some of whom were not. But I feel that ALL of their children were shortchanged because they did not get to spend enough time with their parents.

How many cars are enough? How many times does one have to add on to a house? How many vacations does a family need?

Children suffer when the focus is on money and acquisition. And the parents feel guilty for not being around enough and throw more stuff and money at the kids. It's really sad. Everyone ends up feeling a little lost, I think.

Things are financially tight in my family right now, but I wouldn't leave my baby with anyone else so we could buy another car...He needs me and I know I need him. It's so hard to fight the culture...don't get me wrong, I like money. I'd like it if we had more, but we don't and it's hard to look around at others who have things we don't. But I know we are doing the right thing.

Member posted 02-06-2001 07:39 PM
Well, I guess if it gets desperate we can sell our pain-in-the-ass computers, right?

Member posted 02-06-2001 08:45 PM
Now hold on... We have to draw the line somewhere!

Moderator posted 02-06-2001 10:23 PM
its funny. when i read this thread it reminded me pf a conversation i had at work the other day. I work in a coffe-shop part time to make ends meet (my dp works hours i don't so one of us is always with the kid). Now, before i was pregnant, i had a variety of more "respectable" and better earning jobs, and always did well & left on good terms with open doors. Once I was pregnant, however, I realized that I couldn't work at a job the demanded the majority of my focus (like the majority of my previous work).
I got the job in the coffee shop and I love it. The work is simple, the stress is low, the customers are friendly (mostly) and when I get off work at 1pm, I have the rest of the day and a lot of attention left for my son.

However, my coworker & I were disturbed by the tendency of certain types/classes of people who look at us like we are less then them, because we -obviously- couldn't get any better work. it really pisses me off sometimes because the attitude is so condescending, and it totally ignores the fact that i choose to work there because I love it & it suits me...

Sometimes I wonder why they feels sorry for me when I think I have a truly blessed life. Yes- I live simply, but i don't envy them their stress at all.


Moderator posted 02-07-2001 06:50 AM
I love this thread,
We grew up going back and forth between poverty and relative affluence. From a two parent family, to a single mum family on welfare (my mum decided to stay home with her two young children rather than farm them out to a stranger), to a blended family when my mum remarried.
During the time she was a single mother, I remember my mum being the strongest, most intelligent woman in the world. The car broke down, she couldn't afford to have it fixed, so she got a book from the library and fixed it herself. She made just about every stitch we stood up in, made all our food from scratch, made a lot of our toys and could fix just about anything.
We bought stuff second hand, and made do or did without, and while I know it was pretty stressful for my mum, my brother and I thought life was great.
When dh and I had our first child, we were dirt poor, but I felt truly blessed to have learnt from my mum how to get by with very little. Now we are doing better, I still buy second hand, make most of our clothes, make our food from sratch etc, it's just habit now, but I can't see doing it any other way.
This got kinda off topic, sorry. What I really wanted to say, was that poverty can produce some of the most intelligent, thoughtful and socially/enviromentally conscious people.
Blessings, Becca

Moderator posted 02-07-2001 09:15 PM
This is a wonderful thread! I get pretty long winded here, but thanks for the opportunity to discuss this. Here are my ideas:
I work for a federal agency admistering programs for low and moderate income people. I started the job 10 years ago at the ripe age of 22 and was shocked to learn that in my parents family we were in the low to moderate income range.

I was raised in a 2 parent household, 4 kids, my dad was a house painter and my mom was generally a SAHM. We lived in a stable parochial city neighborhood, went to Catholic schools, had used cars, used furniture, used clothes & camping vacations.

I knew my parents struggled finacially, but we were not "poor". I actually just always thought my parents were cheap! You know, we could never buy drinks if we went out for pizza, shopped at Aldi's & thrift stores. My sibs and I really hated that all when we were teenagers!

But of course I have a deep respect for my parents financial choices and I'm amazed how much they were able to provide for us on my dad's income. Out of college I made more money than my dad within the first few years on my job!

Okay. Let's compare that situation to the general stereotype of "poor people". Poor people are lazy, uneducated, have bad morals. Excuse me!?

However, on the other hand I actually do see families in my work and in my personal life who really are poor. Poor in spirit, poor in finances, poor in experiences, poor in their decision-making abilities. Some of these people earn and spend ALOT of money, some are the working poor and some are on welfare.

I think it all comes down to resources. Do you have enough resources to support you as a parent? If not financial, then do you have GREAT friends and family who can relieve you and support you during difficult times? Do you have a deep reserve of personal resources? I marvel at every single mom raising kids without good support systems. My husband and I are streched and we have pretty abundant resources.

Here is my last point. I think we should try to avoid demonizing the people we know who are material seekers. You know, they are on that path because they live with some level of fear & emptiness. We may hate their politics and think they are jerks, but they aren't necesarily demons. I have alot of friends who play the materialism game (we get sucked in sometimes too!!) and I know that alot of our friends really struggle with their value system.

I work full time, drive a good car and am struggling with defining what I value. I want to work less, but actually I'm sort of afraid of my parents life. I'm afriad of driving a car held together with a twist tie (that's my parents car that I learned to drive on!! - scary stuff). My parents really struggled and I KNOW what is was like to be their kid. They had other problems too, but not having much money made it more difficult for them to get help. Sort of tough cycle sometimes, ya know?

So, I think it all comes down to resources. If you don't have the money to buy decent schools, decent housing, good food, and other opportunities, then you need to have a great community of support and alot of internal resources.

Great topic!!

Linda in Canada
Member posted 02-08-2001 05:50 AM
Great thread!
I do wonder why it is socially acceptable to live in tons of debt as long as your stuff is new, but really looked down on to live with in your means if your means is one used car and second hand clothes.

This just doesn't make any sense.

The mom who had the biggest impact on me when my first DD was a baby and who taught me the most about AP was 19 when she had her baby. She dropped out of college to be with him. Her DH (she got married after she got preg.)was in grad school. They had no money and used WIC. She was 10 years younger than me. But her little boy was 3 and I just had a baby and she knew about about this stuff (from reading books!) than anyone I have ever met.

Member posted 02-10-2001 03:46 PM
Hey, great topic! Linda in Canada it sounded like my bio you described. I got pregnant at nineteen and dropped out of college to stay home while my husband has been going to grad school, we got married after the baby.
I was on WIC while pregnant and found the ladies to be nice, but they spoke to me like I was an idiot. They were amazed that I already planned to breast feed and spoke to me about the four food groups. I got out of the program after my dd was born because they were always after me that I didn't eat enough meat and dairy. That was the majority of the food they would let me get. I hated wasting the food, but didn't want to eat it so that was it.

I looked young and didn't acknowledge the stares on campus. (I took finals at 9 months) But after my girl was born, I got sick of having to tell people I wasn't the babysitter and watch their faces try to keep the smile with their shock. One guy actually dropped his smile and said meanly,"what are you, like, 16?"
At twenty five with two kids now, I still get looks by other parents when they find out. "You're just a baby!" and they all laugh. Annoying.

As for living in a poor neighborhood, I like it because my neighbors can't afford to load their lawns with pesticides and the kids on the block all play outside. No expensive toys to keep them in.

This computer was a present from my dad and we'll be using it to help homeschool our kids.

My brother and his wife in Calif. make 100,000 a year between them and they just had a baby. She's going back to work after 6 weeks because they need her paycheck to pay for the million dollar house they just bought and all their car payments and...

My kids are "wealthier" by far.

Member posted 02-10-2001 04:24 PM
wow! what a great thread! i can relate to being broke and young and sick and tired of the staring and condescending comments! i'm 22, my baby is 5 1/2 months, my dboyfriend is also 22 and works hard in a job he hates so i can stay home. i quit school for awhile to stay home and LOVE my baby as much as i can. my db-f struggles outside of work as a musician and stays up late every night teaching himself web design so he can stay home with our ds too! we live in a small,conservative, nosy town and constantly have to be on guard when out and about. the fact that we adorn dreadlocks, noserings and tattoos doesn't help! not to mention that crazy sling i wear everywhere i go and the fact that i delivered in a birth center!can you imagine what they'll think when my babe is still breastfeeding at 2, and a vegetarian?! we buy used, use cloth dipes, breastfeed, and do everything else we can to help our babe grow strong and healthy! the money we save by doing so is an added bonus! we would still practice AP if we were rich, and we'd still buy used. who needs more stuff? we refuse to let our possessions own us. granted we do get a lot of help from family and the gov (food stamps, wic) but we struggle...we love it though, because we know we're doing what we feel is best for our lil' family.we're just trying to ignore the stares and comments.....
it's hard but change has to start somewhere..it might as well be with us!stay strong!

Linda in Canada
Member posted 02-10-2001 04:59 PM
Sometimes when I see a young looking mom, I think "My god, she looks great! Why don't I look that good?" Then I remind myself that she could easily be 15 years younger than me and that I looked great in my early 20's too.
The last time I liked the way I looked in jeans, Reagan was president.

Member posted 02-11-2001 01:59 AM
"Children suffer when the focus is on money and acquisition. And the parents feel guilty for not being around enough and throw more stuff and money at the kids. It's really sad. Everyone ends up feeling a little lost, I think." -Janelle-
..This made me think of my step mother, and my stepbrothers, the youngest is like 15 years younger than me.. when he was little my step mother as well as my father where always working ( I didn't live with them but with my mother.) and as the years went by I noticed my brother always withdrawing into his room ...first because they didn't want him to bring his toys into the living room , and then later because he had his own tv,vcr and videogame set up in his room by the time he was like 8. So no wonder he is now very introverted and chooses to stay at home and work on his computer instead of being more social..( he's very intelligent but she dislikes the fact that he hardly has friends over etc.) Also my step mother despite her shopping addiction, always buys whats on sale to save $$ (understandable but..) to her it's all about quantity! so is she really saving??? x-mas was always insane (everyone had to have the same amounts of gifts $$ wise and amount to open) and now he (brother) doesn't want her constantly getting things for him, even ignoring her questions about what he likes ... and yet she insists on buying clothes ,saying ( I'm gonna buy you clothes regardless so your better off telling me what you want.) so there is a closet full of stuff with the tags still on . I guess I'm trying to say that she's thrown all kinds of "stuff" on him. Fortunately both he and his older brother are not into all the stuff and are constantly trying to get her to stop buying it and they try giving it away to friends whenever possible . Unfortunately it's now starting over with my son, her first grandson. I've tried to be sublte, barely made it through the holiday, and then for his first birthday I was very upfront asking for donations to his education fund in lue of gifts yet he still received a small carload. I don't want to hurt her feelings but really, i just don't think he needs all that and as soon as he's old enough I can't wait to start making toys, doing crafts etc. with him.
I apoligize for the rants, and i may have strayed a bit off the subject.... can you tell I have major issues with her? apoligies again.
I should stop now ..thanks

[This message has been edited by shaz (edited 02-11-2001).]

Member posted 02-11-2001 03:28 PM
I love this thread because I'm in the middle of leaving my job to be a SAHM, and my husband and I are trying to be creative about finances to make this possible.
In my job I work with a lot of poor families. A lot of them a re first-generation Hispanic, and most of the time the mom stays home to be with the kids, while the dad goes out to work. They struggle and they definitely have their problems (especially being here illegally and not speaking the language) but I see that a lot of the kids are more well-adjusted and emotionally healthy, which I attribute to staying home with mom.
I also see a lot of single-parent families, where it's a lot harder fo moom to stay at home. I really question welfare reform: I mean, it's good that the system encourages people to work, and I don't think people should be able to live off of government aid for decades whrn they are capable of working, but I think we're damning a whole generation of children when we force their mothers to go out and work at minimum-wage jobs, leaving their children at day care. It seems like we as a society should value motherhood as a legitimate (perhaps the most legitimate) work: forming children to be happy and healthy and productive and able to take on roles of responsibility later in life.

I think it is a huge emotional and social poverty that causes kids from materially well-off families do things like what happened at Columbine.

So, to echo what a lot of other people have already said here, love has no cost and there can be a lot of it even if you are materially poor.


Member posted 02-11-2001 06:54 PM
I am sooo glad somebody brought this up. I have had so many (well meaning) friends look at me with pity because I didn't have their new cars or couldn't afford to eat when we went out to lunch or buy clothes for myself. Sometimes I just wanted to SCREAM!!! It was hard going without all the extra (and at times without any) so that I could be home with my dd but I would just remind myself that the alternative was someone else raising her and I didn't want that. To anyone in this situation, my advice it to just hang in there. It will get better. Things do get easier. And you are giving the best thing possible to your kids.. YOU!!

Member posted 02-12-2001 12:38 PM
I can SO relate to what Janelle said - I worked as a Nanny for a wealthy family for four years. They added a huge addition on to their house, bought two new cars, took MANY vacations, etc etc, during this time. (Both parents were lawyers.) They had FOUR bathrooms in their house (and only three people - four now that they've had the new baby, but still!)
I can say with confidence that although they had plenty of money, they were NOT happy. If they had decided that one of them should stay home with their children, they would have had to sell their home and change their lifestyle significantly, and obviously that was not an option as far as they were concerned.

Time spent with children, especially when they are small, is MUCH more important to them than whether they are wearing hand-me-downs or Gap. They don't know the difference between $5 a bag gourmet cookies and $1 store-brand cookies. But trust me, they know that it makes them feel bad when they have to watch Mommy and Daddy leave for work every morning.

- Amy

Member posted 02-12-2001 06:45 PM
This thread of posts actually made me cry tonight. I'm a 24 yr old, SAHM. I only did 2 yr of University before baby came along.
DH runs his own company which has been suffering and soon the company will close, leaving us with a huge amount of debt ontop of what we already have from not getting paid in 5 months, and prior to that not getting paid much. DH wants to write a book and refuses to be realistic about work and where $ will come from.

(This is where the tears come)...I'm been tearing myself apart inside because I think I may have to find full-time work. Debts are too high. We're living VERY frugally, as frugal as I know how. I can't rememeber the last time I've bought clothes, I make everything from scratch, have one car, live in a tiny loft above our wealthy landlords garage in the country (which is great to be in), all toys were gifts, buy food through wholesalers/co-ops, etc... I don't know what else to do. Rent needs to be paid each month and there's no money. It breaks my heart to have to go back to work. I can't even imagine NOT breastfeeding my one year old. He nurses every two hours, what am I supposed to do? I always planned of nursing him till he weaned himself.

DH says he'll work as a health practitioner (doing max. 1 session a day) and write. He dicates this crap about having faith and trusting that if you're doing what is meant to be then money will fall from the sky (my interrpretation of what he said of course). Moneys wearing on me and I'm going in and out of depression because of it.

I just thought to myself as I typed ... why am I writing all this. I think just to get it off my chest. Maybe see if someone has any ideas of how I can stay at home and manage to survive financially with a stubborn DH who says he doesn't want me to work and wants me to raise our son at home but won't be realisitic. Thanks for listening.

I want to add that I love my DH VERY much and the only problem is being realisitc about money. DH is very supported emotionally and loves me dearly as well.

I bought a lottery ticket for the first time in my life this week, the draw is Wednesday.

Moderator posted 02-13-2001 06:14 AM
Hey there Moukii,
Sounds like you're having a rough time. Is it possible for you and dh to get financial/credit counselling? I believe it's free, and could help you get back on track, sometimes they can even work out things with your creditors so that you may pay less interest or have a longer period to pay. The other benefit to this is that it might help dh understand the situation a little better and set more realistic goals.
You've probably already done this, but could you explain to dh the consequence of his actions, ie; if he choses not to work, you will be forced to and your dd will suffer because of it. I know it sounds like a guilt trip, but even the nicest guys sometimes need a reality check. He wants to write, well sometimes adults have to go for the delayed gratification thing, and wait on their dreams while they take care of the mundane world of rent and food etc.
In some ways your dh is right, things do generally work out well, but only if you're willing to work your ass off to get there.
Hang in there,
Blessings, Becca

Member posted 02-13-2001 08:16 AM
Yowza! I'd like to offer some basic stats found in a quick google search of the topic women and poverty.
--1.3 billion people live on less than $1.00 per day. 70% of them are women.
--only 2.5% of the 500 million poorest households have access to institutional credit.
--538 million women in the developing world are illiterate.
--poor women in developing countries spend up to 2 hours each day collecting water and fuelwood. In many places, it takes much longer.
these stats taken from http://www.womensedge.org/developmen...nstats1998.htm
I offer these sorts of numbers in the spirit of exploring what I call my first-world angst. I see-saw between feeling blessed by my VERY first-world lifestyle and irritated by my 'inability'(choice?) to live in a way that my culture accepts. This SAHM doesn't live on $1.00/day, but sometimes it feels like it.
I was offered some sage advice by my neighbor about a year ago. We had gone up to visit the higly appealing Waldorf school nearby. I admit to a certain naivete regarding the cost of private schooling--but I had no idea! When I told my neighbor that we were no longer considering the school, she let fly: 'I'll tell you what, Wendy, there isn't one thing that your children would get from that school that they don't get already and better because you are home with them!' Whoa! I was speechless and honored. Thanks to each of us for our efforts on behalf of our children and planet to live simply, sustainably and honorably.

Member posted 02-13-2001 08:19 AM
Moukii, perhaps your husband can watch the baby two or three days a week while you work part time? She'll have to wait longer for your milk but you certainly won't have to wean her. My 16 mo. daughter nurses constantly when she is with me but can go several hours without it when i am away.
I work one or two days week at a resteraunt,
tips and min. wage, for five hours at a time, and it is a surprisingly nice change of pace from the baby-zone(as wonderful as it is).
I'm sure things will improve for you, whatever you decide to do, so good luck.

Linda in Canada
Member posted 02-13-2001 08:59 AM
Does your DH write out the checks every month or do you? My DH became more financial responsible about credit cards when he saw for himself that they weren't going down even though we made the payments, may be it would help your DH get better in touch with reality.

Junior Member posted 02-13-2001 07:12 PM
I'm a divorcing mom of three ages 8,5 and 6months. Looking for a housemate with one child to share my modest 3br 2ba cute fenced yard. Close to a Waldorph-inspired public school(free). I'm a student midwife. The room is available March 1. Our kids and us would have to "mesh",so I'm willing to wait for a good match. Would definetely hope to have someone sharing the house before June-its a cute rental and I'd hate to lose it.

Member posted 02-14-2001 06:07 AM
Hey Moukii, you've got options!
What other skills do you have? There are many stay-at-home buisness opportunities. (spelling isn't one of my assets) If your husband wants to write, than he'll be at home. That's a big help if you have to work. The part time thing sounded fine, but having a home buissness can be better if your husband is willing to help.
I give piano lessons a few times a week. This actually pays well, but i'm limited since I have to pay someone to watch my kids while I give a lesson. (I use a young girl for $2 an hour) but I'm still making some money. Then I also do Herbalife. It's a network marketing business. (all legal, 20 years going, they've got a website if you want to check it out) These things bring in a few hundred dollars extra a month and although I'd rather just play with my kids, we need the money.
By the way, I also am writing screenplays in addition to all this, for fun. If I can find time (after kids are asleep, then I take a nap during the day) than your husband can surely find time, too.
Don't wean yet.

Member posted 02-14-2001 09:51 AM
Are you at all interested in other people's children? Would you consider watching another woman's infant full time during the week? I know the going rate (average) is around $100/week PLUS. The on-site childcare center where I work charges $150/week per infant, and the daycare friends use costs $125/week. Or afterschool care - can you find a family or two to work for in their home, with your child, in the late afternoons (afterschool until the parents come home)? Or dog walking? Or a paper route? Or a house-sitting service? Or a waiting service (i.e. you are paid to wait in someone else's house for the repairman, the package that must be signed for, etc.)? Or an eldercare visitor service (visiting and cooking/light cleaning)? All these things are things you could be paid for where you can have your baby with you. I know - I've been brainstorming for myself, too! Good luck.


Member posted 02-14-2001 12:11 PM
Thanks for all the great advice! My head's a bit clearer now and I've done a bit of brainstorming myself.
I'm thinking of doing art classes with kids. I do hand painted tiles and I was thinking if I made up the tiles and brought along a few paints, it would be great for kids. Maybe through the library or something?

And starting to sell my own work. I've just started this hobby (for my sanity), I make the tiles for a company for an hour a week and they let me do whatever I wanted for myself for an hour. My DH's lawyer for the business, has just taken up watercolour and has started having an art show every September. He made a ton from his sale, all his friends have LOTS of money. So if I started putting together some pieces (mirrors, table tops, etc...) I could sell those at his sale.

Also, the child-minding sounds good. I'm just nervous of getting a bratty kid. (But life goes on, I know) And now to manage the nap thing. I know someone who is about to go back to work part time, so maybe.

Also waitressing in the evenings. So, I'm smiling again. ALso, as someone pointed out this gets me out of the house a little.

But thank you so much for all your support. I had a really bad day that day I first posted. Life seems hard at times. Thanks everyone!

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Author Topic: Poverty and Parenting
Member posted 02-14-2001 11:19 PM
I am a single mama with very low income. I get into discussions every day about my philosophies on parenting, fincacial stuff and accepting things. I live in a very small town and practically everyone knows I recieve food stamps. And everyone has something to say about it. My views are and have always been that I would live in a cardboard box on the street with my son rather than throw him into a daycare and work full time. The thing is that I don't have to because I find $300.00 cars that last a year and $350. rent on a 2 bedroom house and rent out a room. I guess that it is all a matter of lifestyle, new cars and houses cost money and the only way to get money is to work. I know my son would rather have me than any wonderful toy in the world. We never buy new things and don't need many things anyways. I accept stuff from people. For instance, my friend wants to support how I am raising my son, he sends me $100. a month. the months that I don't need it I pass it on. I am not frugal and living low on the food chain only out of necessity, I am going to school to be a teacher and when I am making 35,000 a year I will give what I don't need, considering I made it this yr on 4,000 I think I am doing pretty good.

Amy Ann
Member posted 02-15-2001 06:06 AM
[This message has been edited by Amy Ann (edited 02-15-2001).]

Moderator posted 02-15-2001 06:45 AM
I think there are much fewer "welfare bums" than is generally accepted. True, it would be great if everyone were able too support themselves, but consider these people;
-the refugee who can not get a job until they have been granted permanant residence status.
-the single mother, who is faced with welfare or a minimum wage job while her babies are raised by a stanger who will not love them as she does.
-the parents of children with chronic illnesses, whose meds are paid for by welfare but could not otherwise be afforded with low paying jobs and no med. insurance,
-the parent with a chronic or debilitating condition who can not work.
-young families who spend a few years on welfare while upgrading their education so they will be better able to support their children in the future.
There will always be those who will seem to do nothing to help themselves, but perhaps it would be more helpful to look at the underlying reasons for this attitude, rather than condemning it.
There but for the grace of God...
Blessings, Becca

Amy Ann
Member posted 02-15-2001 07:26 AM
Becca, I agree about those that really do need our help, but I have some cousins who continually have children by different men and are on welfare, and they let their parents raise their children while they go out and party and have more children. Those are the people that I was speaking of. I used to be against welfare until my husband and I took a trip to Trenton, NJ and I saw all of the row homes and poverty and realized that a lot of people don't know any different and don't know how to get out of it and don't have the same opportunities that I've had. It really made me sad and ashamed of my prior views. My parents were very wealthy and I grew up hearing them complain about having to support everybody else, so I'm very sorry if some of those views came out in my last post.

Moderator posted 02-15-2001 07:36 AM
Amy Ann,
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you in any way. I agree, there are some hopeless cases, but what I was trying to say was that if we could look at why these women are acting the way they are, (your cousins for example), we could perhaps understand their actions a little better, and if not help them, then at laest prevent others from following the same path. Now that is getting really utopian I know.
We must be on the board at the same time, neat eh?
Blessings, Becca

Amy Ann
Member posted 02-15-2001 07:54 AM
I wasn't offended at all! By the way, I just read your first post (I have a habit of replying without reading all of the posts first) and you sound like an amazing person. Your mom sounds like an amazing person as well. You've really made me think about what's important. By the way, where are you from (I noticed you used the word mum)?

Member posted 02-15-2001 09:14 AM
This topic is taking interesting directions. About welfare, i want to add that the amount people recieve from it even over extended periods, is miniscule,
and the politics of the matter is that poor, underpriveleged people get blamed for burning up taxpayers money to take the attention off the real parasites, who are usually much wealthier and interested in making profits of millions or billions of dollars, and not concerned about how they will find enough to eat before the next check. Unfortunatly, this attention deflecting tactic has been too effective and so, many many children live in extreme poverty in the wealthiest nation in the world. Besides, i think people can contribute a lot to their communities even without a paid job. Stay at home moms are a prime example.

Member posted 02-15-2001 05:39 PM
Can you folks imagine what our hapless president would think of this conversation? I fear that if we think our cultural perspective on 'welfare families' is problematic at the end of 8 years with Bill at the helm...well, I shudder to think of it!

Moderator posted 02-16-2001 07:21 AM
Amy Ann, I'm a Brit, though I've been in Canada for 12yrs. I have a Canadian accent, but there are still some Brit things I say, Mum being one of them.

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