So I have been noticing some things lately.
With my increased income comes more bills. How does that happen?
Well, I can suddenly afford to send my little one to ballet, and my big one to gymnastics. That's eighty bucks a month right there. Then they needed leotards and tights and stuff. About $40.
But the sense of feeling my children are well-rounded and talented at something? Priceless.
My exhusband decided to get himself a lawyer and fuck with custody visitation issues. I'm about $954 in the hole to the lawyer that I had to hire in order to make sure I didn't lose my kids to some dumb technicality. But imagining the look on my ex's face when he found out I wasn't going to just lie down and take it? Priceless. And oh, so worth it. Even if I'm going to be paying my lawyer in monthly payments for the next 3 years. It might actually turn out better than I hoped, because my ex had to declare his income and place of employment, which means <gasp> he might start paying child support! See how excited I get at that? A woman should not have to get excited about child support.
Since my income went up, my food stamps have gone down. Which means I have to budget money from my paychecks into my food budget. Which is just a pain in the ass, to be frank. Do I use the "real" money for groceries first, and then food stamps? Do I use all the food stamps first, and try to buy generic until the next month? Thank heavens for the free lunch programs at the elementary schools, I tell you what.
I have very basic bills. I don't have cable TV. I don't have a car payment. I don't have credit card bills. I don't own a cell phone. We don't go out to eat a lot. I have a slight shopping obsession, but I can justify it right now because what I'm buying is for Christmas.
So I've resigned myself to the fact that I will never get to go back to school to learn something useful. (An AA degree in English just doesn't pay the bills.) I'm resigned to the fact that I will have to keep my job forever. Which makes me wonder if I really want to do that for a long time. Sure, the money is good. But will I be happy in the long run? I've been contemplating having another child, but who is that really fair to? Or unfair to?
You know what though? I'd give up all that extra income just to have the bills paid and to keep those ballet and gymnastics lessons. Nothing extra. No fancy dinners or new clothes "just because". Just to know that I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards, and my little golden-haired girls dancing around in their leotards would be enough for me.