It’s Christmas! If you’re reading this the day it’s posted, I strongly advise you to go and find your favorite Christmas movie to watch before you have to pack it all up for next year. This post will be here tomorrow. Of course, I’m writing this a few days ahead of time so that I have plenty of time to watch all of my favorite shows. I already did a few holiday movies earlier this month wrapping copious amounts of gifts for my angels which are now resting beautifully under the tree.
Which brings me to my main point: Today I’m thankful I’m a hard-working mama! I can afford Christmas!
Tough Time All Around
It’s no secret that I have two jobs. I work full-time during the day teaching school and I write almost full-time (at times) at night. It’s constant mayhem in my life and I rarely have downtime. But I do have funds, which is great since my husband has had a very rough year trying to get settled in a new career. One of his major online ventures fell apart about a year ago – poor timing for jumping back into industry. Normally I have two jobs because I like them both. This year I also need them both.
But we’ve bumped along despite the setback. And when I say times are tough, it’s very, very relative. There are no food stamps or unemployment checks in my household. There are plenty of treats and like I said earlier, the tree is practically supported by all the junk underneath it. This is due in part to some terrific coupons and bargain shopping by Mom, but primarily because Mom is a freelance writer.
My son is in Kindergarten this year and he’s made some new friends since the beginning of the year. I’m not there for pick-up and Mom Chat Time like the rest of the moms, but I did have a chance to visit with the mom of one of his friends the other day. She shared with me something that made me feel very grateful for working as hard as I do. Another boy in my son’s class has a mother who is a realtor. His father is employed in industry somewhere – not sure where. Thanks to some medical problems that cropped up and the housing market in this area (NASA layoffs are killing real estate value), they are hurting for cash in that family.
The realtor mom has taken up some sort of mystery shopping position a month or so ago, but has yet to see a dime of the money she’s earned. Last week she was getting desperate for funds because she was trying very hard to get the presents her kids wanted for Christmas. As adults we could easily shrug aside gifts on a bad money year – movies, a fire, foot rubs and spiked eggnog are enough for most of us. In fact, I bought my own gifts this year since my husband was short on funds, but we’re amused by that since I pick out my own presents even when he does have funds. It won’t be as funny for my friend’s five-year-old to not have much under the tree on Christmas morning.
We all worry about things from time to time. This family lives a solidly middle-class lifestyle in a nice neighborhood – most of the time. It was very sobering to realize that this mom would have loved to have the lifestyle I have. I work hard all day long and still worry a bit about money. She scrounges to find work desperate for money to buy some gifts. I did give her some names of content mills I know pay on time, even if they aren’t career-boosters. Fast, easy funds are what matter to her now. My friend telling me this tale knows the family well enough to be sure that the sons get Christmas gifts - even if it means loaning her the funds until she does get paid.
This Christmas, I’m going to be thankful that I can’t take more than a two days off from my work. That work lets me float my husband while he looks for the right job. It lets me buy the things my kids want – in addition to the ones they actually need. It’s a lot of work and it’s stressful at times, but today I’m glad I am able to do what I do every day, and I hope you are, too.
Merry Christmas! (And Happy Other Holidays, too!)