Sometimes I think it is really a problem of discipline. For instance, when I was working and living at home, I gave my parents $160.00 a week for room and board (they sacrificed to pay for our educations — I also have a sister– so that we could start our working lives without loans to pay off). (By the way, she has four children, one of whom has a disability, two in parochial school, lives in her own house – she put the downpayment on it but her husband pays the mortgage….and things seem….from all appearances…to be working for them.) She doesn’t work outside the home either, at this point.
My parents lived (and live) very frugally, but we always had enough to eat and wear and we didn’t get harrassing telephone calls from creditors. Now that they are retired they (finally) have a little place of their own (mortgage paid off) and (as they have always taken care of their health) they are in their seventies and very active.
The rest (after what I had given my parents) went into investments and I had weekly, monthly, and yearly budgets. Each pay raise raised the amount I was able to save/invest. My one indulgence was buying books. Still tended, even when I was working, to look for clothes in charity shops/Salvation Army since I grew up doing that…and I’ll probably start doing that for my two boys.
However–re: discipline–and this is kind of a silly example, I guess – but my parents gave us a box of candy for Easter….you know, those Russell Stovers selection boxes. Well, very shortly after it was open I found that it was three quarters gone. I’m not a big candy eater (I’m trying to watch those empty calories) but it left me feeling kind of taken aback….like…maybe he could have offered me a couple just to be polite.
Little things like that bother me sometimes, especially when my main priorities are: taking care of the boys, the marketing (trying to do meals economically and healthfully), keeping the apartment neat and habitable (which is kind of hard sometimes….with two little boys in constant motion), keeping up with the laundry, doing the paperwork, telephone calls, et cetera, trying to advocate for my older boy while trying to make sure my younger boy has “play dates” and doesn’t feel left out or odd because his brother has difficulties. I mean, what I do may not be considered work, but I am doing my best at it and it is difficult sometimes. It’s lonely and I’m frightened for my son’s (both my son’s) futures.
Then my husband comes home and just wants to sit and watch Law & Order (even reruns) and ER and when I want to discuss something serious he really resents it. He either doesn’t want to discuss it (let’s talk about it later) or, if I have an idea about how something could be done (let’s reduce or get rid of cable, et cetera) I’m being mean and unreasonable.
I’ve tried saying let’s sit down on X day at X time but that doesn’t seem to work either. I get frustrated because he just seems like he can’t be bothered sometimes. I’ve tried a stern approach, a nice, gentle approach, but nothing seems to work.
Then, if (as sometimes happens) I get depressed, he gets mad at me when I go to bed early and, frankly, just don’t want to talk to him.
I spoke to another mom today (at my son’s music therapy class) and she has gone through similar issues….so it was a relief to talk to her. My parents also know about the situation, and have given sound advice, I think, but they do not want to meddle. This is my battle and I have to stick up for myself and for my sons.
Thanks for all your input. It does help.