For working mommas on a tight budget, the fall isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Just yesterday, I was chatting with a gal with four kids, who is going back to school, works part time and the father is not in the picture. That last bit is a whole ‘nother story, but what we mostly talked about – and what she’s really struggling with at the moment – is the reality of no money and no time for either herself or her kids; and the fall season, with all of its popularized activities and traditions, merely accentuates this reality.
She’s not alone, though.
There are countless working mothers that I rub shoulders with every day who don’t get to do what most women consider “the norm” during this season. For them, there are no pumpkin patches, no fall photo shoots, no new boots or tailgating or apple picking and definitely no pumpkin spice lattes.
It’s not that these activities are bad. They’re just unreachable.
So, working mommas, this post is for you. It’s for the single mommas; for the minority mommas; for the mommas who live in 400 square-feet homes and don’t even have the space to add a single fall decoration (and, by the way, that used to be me); for the mommas who work night shifts; and for the mommas who not only pay their own bills, but their parents’, siblings’ and/or kids’ bills too.
It may seem like our society has a “golden standard” by which a mother and her children are supposed to live. The internet, grocery story magazines and even our own neighbors all have opinions on the way we should look, the things we should do and the experiences we should be having. This is made all the more prevalent (and disparaging) by how loud these voices can be, like when your social media feed only shows you pictures of happy, busy mommas holding babies and pumpkins and lattes all at the same time.
But momma, know this: your money doesn’t define you; your foods and drinks don’t define you; your experiences don’t define you.
I know. I’ve been there.
There’s been more than one time that my family has been financially-strapped, and during those seasons it’s very difficult to see pictures on Facebook of a happy, adventurous family enjoying a camping trip or a tweet from a gal sporting the latest fall fashion.
In the past, one of my first thoughts is usually something like, “Man, I could never afford that.”
Have you been there? Do you know what I’m talking about?
However, I can’t say this enough: there are far more important things in life than camping and trendy sweaters (or camping with trendy sweaters), for that matter.
Truly, as the fall is now in full swing, we as mommas need to take a hard look at our lives and reassess our values and priorities.
What really matters right now? What is most important to us?
The answer, I think, should be family. If you think about it, one of the main reasons we like to do fall activities in the first place is because of the “family memories” we want to create. So, let’s start there. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your kids. Even if that means just holding them tight at night or having a meaningful conversation over dinner.
Life is too short to feel guilty about not drinking pumpkin lattes. In fact, it’s too short to be discontent with things in your life in general.
In short, working momma – and especially for y’all on a tight budget – you are blessed with more than you know. To be blessed with children may seem like a small accomplishment at times, but your child (or your children) are some of life’s greatest gifts. The sooner we can embrace that reality, the sooner we can also be happy with our kids in whatever stage of life we are, regardless of whether our bank accounts are full or empty.