Since losing the marital home, my daughter and I are now on the great chase for an affordable place that won't have us eating rocks. Such are the circumstances of divorce. I have decided to make moving into a new place once it's found into an adventure. That's what the child experts say: "Make moving fun for your kids." Okay--I got that. Make moving fun? Check one.
The one thing that I can't make fun is that ever- so often phrase said by both divorced moms and dads alike, "No honey, I don't have the money."
I haven't said it too much as of late, but I know it will be my new go to when my daughter wants us to do things we used to be able to do pre-losing home, but can't anymore. Who can blame her for asking? It's what she's used to. We all want to have fun and get treats. Let's face it: life is better with ice cream and chocolate, but we can't always have what we want and when a divorce happens it not only shatters hearts, but it also shatters finances (but they are rebuilt!)
Oh I can say it another way, "No dear we can't go out to eat because it's too late," or "Well let's try piano next year when you're older." I don't always have to spit out: "No honey, I don't have the money," sure, but isn't that what I really mean? And it's not just divorced families uttering this downtrodden, reality-hitting phrase--many parents have to give this spiel to their children. Not matter what the situation, it hurts to tell our kids no, and I don't mean tell them no about getting another doll, bite of cake, or princess dress. I mean telling them no when it comes to the extras that we all want our children to have as parents: vacations, after school activities, and fun time out with our children. We want to make birthdays specials and surprise our children with that one single thing they have wanted since the dawn of time, or so they tell us. But when you are counting cents and suddenly change doesn't seem so useless, saying yes is the exception, and not the assumed response.
I know as we enter into a new place of residence that saying no will become the word of the day, and it hurts me but there is no other way. I can't pull money from trees. I tried doing that to my neighbor's tree and I got in big trouble. People don't like you hopping into their backyard looking for money. I dread having to be the mom that says, "Sorry, we're broke" but it looks like it will be my lot for a little while, but not for forever. No, I can't stay defeated!
Perhaps instead of saying, "No honey, Mommy doesn't have the money" I can say, "Mommy doesn't have the money right now, so let's make a goal to save for it." Is it really so awful to teach your kids young (my daughter is four) the art of saving, choosing what you must buy versus what you don't really need to buy, as well as what it means to set a financial goal? Or that you can't always get what you want? No! When kids are given everything and spoiled to death they enter the real world expecting things to be handed to them. So maybe our hard financial situation will serve to be a greater life lesson than I could ever teach her on my own in more comfortable shoes?
It's not just my daughter who will learn. By losing the roof over my head, I am learning that I can survive just about anything without totally utterly breaking. Sure, I have low moments of despair, but at the end, I will get on my feet and surpass the goals I have set for myself. The idea of doing it alone is scary, but things must get better. Nothing can stay the same forever.
One day instead of saying "No Honey, Mommy Doesn't Have The Money," I will be able to say, "You know what? I think I can swing it. Do you think we really need to buy this/do X though?"
Hopefully my daughter will answer wisely.