2/17/16

You Got Some Poor-Splainin' To Do!




The other day, on the blog's Facebook page, I posted a question regarding the movie "Deadpool" and the appropriateness (or not) of taking my almost 16-year old. Innocent, right? 

I received many responses, almost all completely in favor of bringing him and enjoying what turned out to be a fabulously entertaining movie ("sex thru the holidays" and strip club scenes maybe not so enjoyable for us as mom and son but whatever).

I also received a response I didn't expect. A comment, which I deleted because I can, chastising me for spending money to see a movie. I don't remember it exactly, but it was something like "Interesting you were too poor to afford groceries 6 weeks ago but now you're spending precious money on a movie." If you know me, you know my history with comment sections. Say what you want, but if you're an asshole about it or if it's a gross passive-aggressive little jab, you won't get a warm and fuzzy reaction from me. I will call you out and I will defend whoever it is you are disparaging. Even if it's me you're needling. 

Don't poke the bear and all, except let's reword it to say don't poke the broke. We're a testy lot. 

My first reaction was to defend myself. I'm used to doing that by now, after 6 years of writing online. It doesn't happen as frequently as it used to- not because there are fewer people demanding explanations but mostly because I am running really low on shits to give.

And maybe I am being a wee bit too defensive. Maybe what this chick said did hit a nerve. Or maybe I'm just tired of poor-splainin'. 

Poor-splainin', by the way, is something you find yourself doing when you are on the "less than" side of the economic equation. I couldn't find any carved-in-stone guidelines or rules, but just so everyone knows I'm going to give you a little list of things poor people aren't supposed to have:

THINGS POOR PEOPLE AREN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE!

  1. Nice things.
  2. Fun.
  3. Cell phones that don't flip.
  4. Shoes with brand names.
  5. Painted fingernails/toenails
  6. Cars that aren't shitty.
  7. Restaurant meals.
  8. Cable television.
  9. Really, any television.
  10. Wifi.
  11. Apple products.
  12. Organic food.
  13. Healthy food.
  14. Pets
  15. Nice purses (and by nice I mean anything fancy schmancy or you know, not a plastic grocery bag)
  16. Haircuts.
  17. Makeup.
  18. Affordable healthcare (yeah I went there. But now I'm leaving, ha!)
  19. College educations for their children.
  20. Time off.
  21. And the biggie: babies. Poor people absolutely cannot, should not, will not, have babies. (thanks to my friend Renae for that one)
I could go on but I'll stop. Financially challenged readers, feel free to add more in the comments if you'd like. I'm sure there are a few I missed. Over the years I have found myself giving the past history of things I own: "Oh this Coach bag? Yes it's lovely. It was a gift from that guy I dated. You might say I 'earned it' LOLOLOLOL" "Oh these boots? Yes, they're Frye boots. Yeah I think they retail for about $300. But I paid $50 for them on Craigslist and you know what, they'll last a decade at least. I figure $5 a year is okay, right?" "Oh yeah, my daughter does have a Macbook Pro. She bought it herself using money she earned at her job and from her graduation gifts." "Cable? Gah. I know. We had it because Comcast is a dick and made it cheaper to have internet and basic service rather than just internet. But when the price went up, like it always does, I cut it. Strictly streaming only now, I swear!" 

These are all things I've personally had to explain, or seen other poor folks having to explain either in everyday life or on social media/articles online. 

And there I was, doing it all again because I chose to take $10 out of my budget and treat my kid to a movie (and let's be honest, Ryan Reynolds made it a treat for me too).

Ten freaking dollars. Yep, I know. I really was crying about money six weeks ago. It sucks, when you find yourself stuck between that cold rock and that unyielding hard place. And yep. I wrote about it because it makes me feel better to vent. And yep, people responded in that awesome way they sometimes do: they gave me a helping hand. I don't think I was begging for help, I truly think people were being kind. And loving. And incredible. I felt obligated to let people know what I was doing with their gifts because of all the poor-guilt and the shame that comes with it. 

So there I was, typing up a reply about how it was the bargain matinee! And I sneak in my own water! And yes I was too poor to afford groceries six weeks ago but since then I've had three paychecks and some tax refund money and also some really mind-blowing help from friends and strangers! I almost hit "post" on that reply when I got mad. Why did I have to explain this to anyone? A mother-effing movie? Yeah, I get it. I probably should have saved that $10 in my "rainy poor day" account just in case. I should have told my son we'd watch the movie in a few months using a free code from Redbox. I should have stayed home that day and sewn some clothes for myself and also swept the dirt floor of my hut. 

But I didn't. I had a rare day off from work, I had a little extra $$$ and I wanted to do something with my son who will soon be too cool to go see a Marvel movie with his mom. Sue me.

I'll tell you something else I did that same weekend: I went out with some of my lady friends. TO A RESTAURANT. We cackled and ate and drank and sat way too long at a good table on a Friday night (server was compensated very nicely...that's what happens when your BFF is a waitress 4 life). A couple of my friends were very generous and kind and paid for some of my deliciousness but guess what? I paid for some of it too. It was the first time I'd been out with friends in months. I missed them. I missed going out. I missed joking with waiters and laughing way too loud and being mildly (okay severely) inappropriate with women I love. 

Maybe I will regret these two poor-person infractions. It might come back to bite me in the ass, you know? If my car breaks down and the repairs are expensive I just may cry a little bit and think to myself oh SNAP if only you hadn't gone out that night or gone to the theater to see Deadpool...

Or maybe, just maybe...I won't. Maybe I'll look back on that Monday afternoon with my son and smile because it was fun. Maybe that night with my friends will become another one of our legendary references and fodder for more inside jokes. Maybe, just maybe, doing those two things made me happier. 

And being happier just might lead to me working harder to keep afloat. It might give me the motivation and the inspiration to keep on pushing forward. 

If that's the case, I'd say it was money well spent. Wouldn't you?








59 comments:

  1. Yes. Just yes. You don't have to explain yourself to ANYBODY. It's like those memes that say something about using food stamps and having an iphone. I HATE those. Because that was me five years ago when my ex-husband left. Yes, I had an iphone, and a coach bag, and nice clothes, and a decent car. But I also had a very PT job, and a soon to be ex who was more concerned with supporting his college student girlfriend than his own kids. So I applied for every kind of assistance I could, and I got most of it, and that's how we survived until I got a FT job. I guess when you suddenly find yourself in a much lower income bracket, you're expected to get rid of every nice, decent thing you might own and replace it with shit from Walmart so you look sufficiently poor. And never do a fun thing EVER AGAIN, because POOR PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE FUN, THEY MUST SIT IN THEIR POOR MISERY FOREVER UNTIL THEY DIE AND ARE BURIED IN PAUPER'S GRAVES!!! Sorry, I just have very strong feelings about poor shaming.
    I'm so glad you went to the movie with your son. I hope you can take him to all of the upcoming Marvel and DC movies. And I hope you buy a $5 Snickers bar while you're there. And anybody who has a problem with it can kiss your booty, and mine, too, because this poor mom will be taking her son to the same movies, AND buying popcorn.

    xoxo

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    1. PREACH! Oh Katina! I love this so much. Too bad we aren't neighbors, we could carpool our broke asses to the movies to save some gas.

      Thank you for the love that is oozing out of every sentence here. It's so true: those who have been down are the first ones to help you up. Smooches to you, my friend.

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  2. Gah, really? Someone is giving you shit over spending $10 to have some fun with your KID?!
    As much community and awesomeness as the internet can create (case in point, the community you've build here), it really does expose the seedy, judgy, trolly, ugly underbelly of civilization sometimes.
    Here's the truth - if you have expensive car repairs next week, $10 won't have made much of a difference.
    But the mental/heart/soul boost of having spent that time with your kid? That's what gets you through the hard days when there are expensive car repairs.
    So, in short, don't let the crummy people get you down. :)

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    1. Oh anonymous. Thank you!! I was feeling guilt about it, no lie. And continue to have a little bit. That's the repressed Lutheran in me.

      But you are so right. $10 isn't going to make a difference in really any way. If I did this every week? Yeah, that'd make zero sense.

      And you are so right. The good bonding time I had with him was priceless. We laughed and TALKED and that is worth whatever crap I have to take.

      Thanks so much for the support. It is absolutely warm and lovely.

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  3. I want to start by with saying that just because I have clicked that "donate" button I do not feel like I'm entitled to an opinion about your life of your finances.

    But I will say that my intention in clicking "donate" was precisely so you could take your son to a movie and spend some times with your friends. And the people who put wine bottles in your car also weren't thinking about you living a spartan suffering life that poor people in America are apparently supposed to live.
    So screw them! You are allowed to have fun! I know I'm not the only person who wants you to go have some fucking guilt free fun! You deserve it, you have earned it and it inspires us when you do it!

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    1. Gah I'm getting ready for work and now there are tears!

      Thank you, so so much. For everything. For helping, for supporting, for loving.

      It is all of YOU who are inspiring to me. Seriously. Some days it's overwhelming when I think of all the love out there. You are all my friends and I'm so freaking grateful.

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    2. HELL YEAH! You go and enjoy and do special things and ordinary things with your children, your friends and you! For you! For them! You DO NOT have to explain anything! Oh that pisses me off and makes me angry that person said that. You should have left their comment up so we that support you, friends and strangers, could have told that person our thoughts! I am so glad that you went out with friends and took your son to a movie. I hope you find time to do more of these things! ENJOY from the bottom of my heart! Andrea

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  4. I hope that you'll look back with smiles and happy memories on that Monday at the movies with your son and dinner out with your friends at a restaurant. As the ad says...time spent with loved ones...priceless.

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  5. Two things I never spend. Other people's time and other people's money! In life we cannot be happy if we are looking for validation and acceptance outside of ourselves. You know your heart and your intentions, it's no one else's business to decipher or judge YOUR life. I've learned when I worry what others will think, it's because I am judging myself or second guessing myself. You cannot make decisions based on what others will say or do. Live your life and tell everyone else.... There are 2 kinds of business..your business and NONE of your business!

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    1. Karen this is so wise! And so true. I am happiest when I'm able to get into that "don't care" mode. I think that's the downside to writing in public...you expose your choices to outside opinions and you need to grow some thick skin.

      And you are right about the judging/second guessing myself. I was so overwhelmed by the support and help I received last month, part of me is terrified to spend a dime on anything non-essential. Like I'm worried about letting people down. That's a twisted mindset, right???

      Thank you for chiming in with these important lessons. I need to re-read them a few more times :)

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  6. I can't handle this at all. It makes me sad that anyone has to try to explain their situation! I also can't stand when people shame others on Facebook for having nice things and then buying with food stamps. You don't know their situation! Maybe they fell on hard times! I have personally sat at the unemployment office with a Coach bag and felt incredibly out of place for it. Shamed almost. I was 20. Bought my Coach bag with my first paycheck and carried that baby for years. When I lost my job I needed help! Jeez I didn't mean to write a novel here. What I'm saying is that I'm sorry this even happened to you. Keep on keepin' on girl!

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    1. Jackie I love your novel! LOL. Yes, I get so twitchy when the poor shaming stuff happens on facebook. I have a lot of friends who post those kinds of things and when I chime in as their "poor single parent" friend they're very quick to say things like "Oh but you're different" "You aren't that kind of person, Jenny". It's crappy. And it's not fair.

      I love your Coach memory! I also bought a big ol' buttery Coach bag with my first paycheck and nice employee discount at a department store called Dayton's (now Macy's). Bucket bag, or barrel bag or something like that. It's around here somewhere!

      Thanks for the love and support. It means a lot to me ♥

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  7. SO MUCH YES!!! I've justified my expenditures TOO MANY times in my life. Even now, with a good job and salary, I feel like I have to say oh this Coach purse? I got it at the outlet for 50% off, or this dinner out was the first in months. My BFF is struggling financially now and inadvertently makes me feel guilty because I am NOT, which is difficult.
    Anyone who says something negative about a woman spending $10 on a movie afternoon w/her son is someone who a) has clearly never struggled financially and/or b) is a small, bitter person with a superiority delusion.

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    1. Amanda you bring up something interesting...when your homies are doing better/worse than you. It's hard watching someone really struggle. My bestie has also been through very lean times and we laugh about it. It's nice having someone who knows exactly what you're going through!!

      I bet your friend would tell you to NOT feel guilty :) Buy her a drink and tell guilt to step off! Brighter days ahead.

      Thanks so much for your support!

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  8. You are one of the few bloggers in the world that makes me laugh out loud (re: should have swept the floor of your straw hut).

    As others have said, screw the haters. It was the right call not defending yourself to someone who clearly doesn't get how life works. $10? Gimme a break. That's not going to make or break you, and in the end the experiences are what matter in life.

    I literally silenced a collection call while jumping at a trampoline park with my daughter over the weekend ($9 entry fee). I'm sure I should have applied that mighty $9 towards the $40,000 principal balance on my student loan but ehhhhh.... I think I made the right choice. We had a blast.

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    1. HA!! Oh I love the collection call/trampoline thing. I have a collection place calling me right now, about a $507 dollar medical bill (don't even get me stahted with this one). I like to tell them "wrong number!" in a heavy accent. And then hang up.

      Here's to us having good times with our babies. And more funny stuff in the world ♥

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  9. Well written and thoughtfully succinct!! Fuck the haters.

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  10. I donated a smidgen more than $10 to you and I'm perfectly fine with that being your movie fund. I was very very poor from age 18 to 23 and I know what it's like to have that once every five months indulgence that makes you feel awful for spending money but SO refreshed at the same time. I'd also add that poor people aren't supposed to have coffee from a fancy coffee shop, because that was usually my indulgence.

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  11. We used food stamps when I was growing up... not the card they have today, but the little paper booklets you had to tear coupons out of. I can still remember going to the store and every time, someone rolling their eyes behind us in line when my mom took out that little booklet, glancing over at our cart to judge what was in it. I learned to feel ashamed of being poor, on those occasions and many others.

    But once in a while, my mom got an extra big tip or maybe lost her mind a little bit, and she bought us something nice (like a pizza, or a movie, or anything that didn't come from the Salvation Army), and those things were amazing. They stand out in my mind as moments that were SUPER fancy, absolutely carefree, and wonderful. We felt like "real" people. I learned to be so incredibly satisfied and happy and grateful for little things. I'm glad for that, although I'm sure I could've achieved this feeling without also dealing with so much shame-inducing eye rolling.

    Being poor is an enormous hardship. Not just because sometimes there's worry about not being able to afford food, but because of how that wears people down. It can make you feel like you're always an outsider, a feeling of perpetual scarcity that constantly pulls you down. I don't mean to project on the story here, but when I was a kid, a movie ticket bought me access to WAY more than a movie. It helped me feel like part of the world. Like maybe things were looking up for us. On the rare occasions we went to the movies, it was way more important, and way more nourishing, than any meal.



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  12. You were practicing self care.

    The commentator was practicing being an asshole.

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    1. HA!! Yes she was. And a "bless your heart" kind of asshole, which is somehow even worse.

      Thanks Tracy!!

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  13. As someone who actually lived in a straw hut because my family and I are originally from a 3rd world country, I loved reading this post. We settled in the States 38 years ago and,yes, we were on food stamps (the paper coupon ones) because we were penniless. Nine of us lived in a 2 room apartment for almost a year. We have achieved that "Great American Dream" now, but I will never forget being poor. I was so glad to see the debit cards replace the paper coupons because I remember the stigma of presenting them at check out. All humans deserve dignity, even poor ones.
    I appreciate your insight and humor. You did a wonderful thing by taking your son to the movies (it's one of my favorite things to do with my son, who also happens to be a Deadpool fan) and going out with your friends. You should not feel guilty about it.

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    1. Thank you so much, SD! I cannot even picture nine people in a two bedroom place!

      I've never qualified for food benefits, believe it or not. Not even at my lowest. But I think doing it as a debit was a smart move. My sons were cashiers at a grocery store and the stories they had about people being jerks to the food benefit users are heartbreaking.

      Thank you so much for your kindness and love. I hope you go see Deadpool with your son! It was AWESOME :)

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  14. You know what? That person should be ashamed. You did absolutely nothing wrong and have no reason to explain anything.

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    1. Thank you Gigi :) It's the midwestern person thing, I think. Being apologetic and all. Can't shake it!

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  15. Wonderful time spent with a 16-year old boy who is not too cool to be seen with his mom.....PRICELESS!

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    1. I agree Lisa! And you know what...I'd have paid $20 if it meant spending time with him ;)

      Thank you for your support!

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  16. Yep. Movies with kids good. Dinner with friends good. Happy good. Bitchy negative people with nothing better to do than Judgy-troll bad.

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  17. I have SO little patience these days with jerkwagons who try to make me feel bad for spending a bit here or there. Or buying pop and chips in my foodstamp card.

    YOu know what? I have teens. They didn't ask for a divorce. And if buying a few cases of pop every month and a few bags of chips, in addition to our normal groceries (which, contrary to certain people's beliefs, do NOT include steak or expensive seafood,) ensures that they'd rather hang out here, where I can keep an eye on them? Well you're welcome, society. I'm not raising kids who are roaming the neighborhood unsupervised, raising hell and being "those kids" that everyone loves to roll their eyes at.

    I'm done apologizing, and I'm done poor-splaining. No, YOU, the taxpayer, are not buying my groceries. *I* pay taxes too, and the fraction the government hands me back so generously every month *eyeroll* is a tiny bit of what I pay in over the course of a year.

    People just need to butt the heck out and grow up already. Unless you live in my right back pocket and follow me around for a month, you have no idea how hard I work to keep a roof over our heads, or what I actually (don't) spend on myself, or on fancy treats for my kids.

    My kiddos saw Deadpool, too. I opted out because of the crowds, but they had a great time, and I don't regret a single penny.

    Hang in there, Mama. You're doing great, and it's amazing to hear that your awesome readers stepped up to help you out like that. It's so good to know that there are good and decent people in the world, and that they FAR outweigh the twatermelons. <3

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    1. Awww Mary. This is awesome. Thank you. And you hang in there too, Mama. You're also doing great. We all are ♥

      Also: OMG do I have the best readers. They are remarkable people.

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  18. Oh my golly the bitterness and lack of compassion is mind boggling. Enjoy every moment with your kids. Keep being awesome!

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  19. I love all the comments here!! I don't have much more to add to all the insight; I loved the dirt floor!!

    I, too, am in your situation. I feel grateful that I got my daughters through it (rather) unscathed. When they were in elementary/intermediate school, we lived outside the "good" school district. I got them in a little "illegitmatley". So every day was a lie. I had to teach them to be careful about everything they said and who they made friends with. It was a horrid way to live. But we soon found out who our friends were!! I was always feeling less than with so many SUV's, Lexus's, Cadillacs, Mercedes all around our little Nissan Sentra/Altima. There were so many haters!! Just about every woman in that PTA had an opinion about "people like us". Not too many people knew - only wonderful, trusted friends... and even then I still felt less-than. I still have dreams (nightmares?) of those feelings.

    Fortunately, the girls turned out great (with a few hiccups here and there).

    Unfortunatley at present, I'm even worse. I developed Fibromyalgia and I never know when it's going to flare which leads for a poor work life... or rather, none. Waiting for disability, SOOOO appreciating Food Stamps and Medi-Cal. I would be homeless if it weren't for some dear friends letting me stay in a room indefinitely.... This condition brings about comments such as: "oh-you look FINE", "you just need to exercise", "you don't look sick", "my dr says that doesn't exist", "If you just put a little more effort into trying to work", "you've got to be more responsible", "look, we all have it hard...", "I would never take handouts"... My friend hates the looks he gets when he uses his SNAP card. Me? I am so over all that, I'm ready to take anybody on!!!

    Life certainly has it's ups and downs and I'm much more wise now than I was before all this began. So, I believe there's a reason for everything. If we were supposed to be in a different situation, we would be. That's the one thing that keeps me positive and hopeful. Gotta keep that HOPE!!

    Thanks for your uplifting, feeling-apart-of, blog that brings me HOPE every time your I read it!!
    Lauri

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    1. Oh Lauri. I love this so much. I remember one of the parent-educators in an early childhood class I was in EONS ago had fibromyalgia. At the time it was a relatively unheard of thing and I'm so glad she talked about it with us. Really put things into perspective!

      Ahh wisdom. One thing we get to keep no matter how tough the times get, huh?

      Thank you so much for reading and for all the love and support.

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  20. Yes, Yes! Thank you for this post! I too so identify with this. I have 2 expensive bags that my wonderful boss gave me, and I feel like I have to explain every time someone comments on the bag, that it was a gift, because of the guilt I feel that God forbid if I was to buy a nice bag, with everyone knowing I am struggling financially.

    And guess what today I treated myself to Starbucks - It's my birthday tomorrow and I'm celebrating early!

    Pay no attention to these bitter people. They wouldn't be able to survive what we are going through. They don't have a clue. Thank you for this post and for your blog!

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    1. Oh anonymous!! I hope you had a great birthday and I really hope your Starbucks was FABULOUS. You deserve it!

      I hear ya on the purse. I remember when I got my "nice" Coach purse, dating John McCain and he gave me a $400.00 gift card to the Coach store. I felt so, so so guilty. For a long time. But you know what? I still use that purse and I will for who knows how many years.

      Thank you for your nice words, and for being here!

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  21. I finally had to take the time to comment although I am not commenting on this post as I just discovered your blog about a month ago via your Christmas article in Woman's Day magazine. I had to start from the beginning of your posts and so far I am up to Charlie's graduation party. I have your site open on my computer, my Kindle and my phone so I can read more whenever I have a chance. I am so anxious to know what is happening and has happened in your life since the party but I want to read in order and I am afraid to read too fast because then I won't have more to read! Can you tell yet that I love what you write and how you write it? I want to drive out to Minnesota and meet you and have a drink with you. Anyway, I loved what your MIL said to you at the party about not being an Ex MIL...it made me cry. I hope I get to 2016 and find you happy and healthy olong with your kids and that Big Daddy, and Secretary had karma show up. I am now following you on Facebook and wish you all the best!

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    1. Oh Patti! This is such a fun comment :) Thank you so, so much. I won't give you any spoilers but I will admit I don't write here as much as I should. It kind of feels like it's all been said, you know?

      There is another graduation party coming up in a few months though...so we'll see, ha!!

      Thank you SO MUCH for being here. And if you ever do get to MN please give me a holler. I know of some great places to sit and have a cocktail.

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  22. Next time buy popcorn, and candy, and soda (or wine if its one of those swanky theatres with the comfy recliners), because technically all those things are "groceries." Just grocery shopping with a little entertainment.

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    1. GIRL!! The theater my broke ass loves IS one of those swanky ones. In fact, my son and I were standing there at the concession stand, debating whether or not we "needed" popcorn and he said "Look mom, they have wine" and then we laughed because I responded in my typical way: "Eight dollars for a glass? Dude that's almost two bottles of my favorite wine from Trader Joe's!". Gotta teach 'em young.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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  23. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

    Rich or poor, memories matter more than any material item ever will. My memories of taking my kids to the Saturday bargain matinee, first show of the day with smuggled in booty are also some of their favorite memories (especially since mommy worked 12 hour days during the week and 4 hours every Sunday) Coupons, discounts and finding the "best deal" has stuck with them in all the good ways. They value a buck and they know spending on "stuff" doesn't matter. So go to the movies with your son and order off the TGIF deal menu with your hens and laugh until you cry with family and friends. Life matters and life is made of the memories and experiences you have with the ones you love.

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    1. Oh Cleveland. Thank you so much! Almost a week and a half later and we'll still talking about how much fun we had (me and the kid, AND the hens, hahaha)

      I'm about to start a second job which will mean hardly any free time with the kids. Glad to hear you were still able to squeeze in some memory-making :)

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  24. I grew up in a "poor" household - my parents had a very unstable marriage (nice speak for abusive and horrible) and my father was disabled by the time I was in high school and unable to work. I remember going to matinee movies as a very, very rare treat and flaming with embarrassment as my mom snuck in koolaid and homemade snacks because we couldn't afford popcorn. We ate lots of government cheese and bread for a while, and also lived in subsidized housing while my mom went back to school for her master's degree to try and restart her career. Anyone who shames someone for being "poor" deserves a special little place in hell as far as I am concerned. No one chooses to have to pinch every penny and make do when even the basic necessities are out of reach due to an unforeseen emergency. I have just remarried, but spent a long, hard 4 years as a single mom of two teen boys who literally eat their weight in food each day. Their dad was much too busy traveling and having fun with his schmoopie to concern himself with the care and feeding of his offspring and paid only the bare minimum of support he could get away with by law. I know the gut wrenching feeling of having to use an almost maxed out credit card for groceries and gas to get to work - praying the charge would go through at the register. SO...I'm so happy for you that you were able to take your son to a movie. Next time, spring for that buttery popcorn and $5 drink!! He deserves it as much as you do...believe me when I say he feels the stress just as much if not more at times. (Just like I did as a kid and teenager.) Good for you for letting him be carefree for a few hours!!

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    1. Thank you Nicole!! Darn it, these boys DO eat their weight in food, don't they?

      I love when Chump Lady-isms make their way here, ha! Schmoopie. She's so awesome.

      Good point about the kids feeling the stress too. They really do. I try to keep things upbeat and "normal" but I'm sure they internalize a lot of it. Auggghhh.

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  25. Another awesome post, HH. Yes, indeed, it was money very well spent for simple and joyful things. Happy to hear you, son and gal-pals got to have a little fun.

    I also grew up poor and classmates used to tease me about my ragmuffin clothes (much later, I found out they thought I was a refugee). Then, as an adult, sometimes I got well-paid work but most of the time I was underpaid and in between jobs - spent many years being broke. It's so strange to have people make resentful remarks at me when they had a more stable (and moneyed) life with way more choices than I would have.

    That person making the Facebook remark has obviously never been poor, and then had to be mean about it. Best to block her from your FB account!

    I hope you are having a fab weekend..
    - Mouse

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    1. Oh Mouse! Hello!

      You know what, I did block her. Only the third time in over five years that I've blocked someone. It felt kind of good, ha!

      Funny how we draw the ire of others simply because we don't have as much, isn't it? I wonder why that is. Maybe it reminds them of how they used to be...or maybe they're scared of actually being poor? Who knows. It's easy to judge when you haven't been down there.

      Thanks so much for reading! Good to hear from you.

      Delete
  26. Someone actually had the gall to judge you for spending $10 for some quality mother-son time?? It still blows my mind how small-minded, petty, and judgy some people are. But I'm so happy you realized you don't owe her any explanation whatsoever, and did absolutely nothing that deserved criticism! I, too, hate poor-shaming -- and the irony is, the people who are the most evil about doing it are probably super irresponsible with how they spend their own money, and would not have a clue how to handle it if theirs was seriously limited! That person (and others with that attitude) seriously needs to stop judging people she knows next to nothing about and get a life. And YOU need to never feel guilty or ashamed or feel like you have to explain treating your son! SO glad you and he enjoyed Deadpool, and that you had a great girls' night out too. Remember -- you rock!

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  27. Once a good friend of mine said (this is a translation from another language, but I hope the point of the message will remain) : "Please don't give me something if you are going to bear a grudge or criticize me for it".
    So this is to the person who criticize you for going to the movies: If you did donate the money, or even if you didn't, please don't do that, that petty criticizing, because we are all humans, we need food, warmth, we need security, but also we need some fun, we need acceptance, we need to feel equal to another human being. And what is more satisfying than to be able to treat your friends with dinner or to buy your kid movie ticket or something that makes him happy. Please be glad that you have helped another human being to feel more human, more equal no matter how that person has chosen to spent donated/or any kind of money for that matter.

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  28. I loved in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn where the heroine pours a little coffee down the drain each day because it made her feel rich.

    And while you know I am all for self control, you are so right: Humans need fun. We need something that feels extra-ordinary. I knew a woman on assistance who pooled a few bucks every day just to have a latte. That latte made her feel like she could go on. She even said that she knew people would judge her for it, but it fueled that in her that needed to remember there were still warm, sweet moments in life.

    I've never been actually hungry, but I've been on food budgets and looked at lots of things longingly. The little indulgences of life are where my charity contributions usually go. One can get food. It's harder to get something that makes you feel rich. Love, love, love, Jen!

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  29. I would! good for you

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  30. I know I am a little late to the party but I just wanted to write and tell you that I put $10 in your "tip jar" effectively paying for your movie with your 15 yrd old son (I have one of these amazing funny and strange creatures, too). About 7 yrs ago, I was in the same position with my finances. Not being able to buy cat food. Cashing in our RRSP's to pay the mortgage. We had church and family who helped us through. One day I came home and found a box of food in my driveway from a friend. I have never felt so much relief and embarrassment. When we got our feet back under us, I swore I would always help out this way. Enjoy your children, it all goes by way too fast.

    p.s. Just realized I donated $10 USD and I am Canadian. What with our seriously crappy dollar, you can probably go out and enjoy another movie! Lol!

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  31. Gosh, I have so much to say. I read your post and all the comments, and am just transfixed. I just read your post on Scary Mommy about your ex and clicked on your blog link from there, so I am new to your stuff. First, I was utterly stunned as I imagined raising not one, not two, but FOUR kids as a single mother. With a dick ex who can't be bothered to help (and now has another kid with someone else??? As I learned from the Costco post... How dare he spend time with that kid when he has four others that came first?!?!?! But I digress).

    I don't have anything earth-shattering to add, especially coming after people who were born in 3rd world countries. But listen, entertainment/fun has to be part of any budget, no matter how small. It has to! Every person has a right to that! Gawd, a $10 movie? You would think this discussion was about you going to Saks for the afternoon and coming out with a fistful of shopping bags. For crying out loud, this is even a discussion? It is heartbreaking to me that anyone could think such a hardworking mother, being through so much, could ever be heckled for such a thing. I am going to wipe my tears and pick up my 3-year-old from preschool and be newly grateful--and humbled-- that I have a husband (a good one) and don't have to worry about paying for groceries.

    Listen: You know what you need. You and no one else. One day, you needed a movie with your boy who is growing up so fricking fast. Another day, it is dinner with your girlfriends. You know when you need to spend a certain amount on a certain thing. To be rewarded! To have fun! To love yourself! And you know when you need to save. Trust your choices and your instincts. And ignore everyone else.

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  32. I'm more impressed that you found a first-run movie for $5/person! Bargain shopping at it's finest

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  33. I am also late to comment. I discovered your blog through chump lady's page and I thoroughly enjoy it. I can tell from your posts that you put your children first and you work hard to give them everything a single parent can. I,too, am a single parent and it is a thought job financially and personally, because we have all the day to day responsibilities. I am a social worker and I see people in need every day. You deserve to be happy and spend money on yourself. Just because you are poor does not mean you are any less deserving of self care than anyone else. I wish I could reach out and give you a hug!! I relate to you on so many levels and this post brings tears to my eyes. I love how you love yourself despite the rejection you have endured. You make me want to be a better person through your genuine feelings and generosity. I would gladly buy you a movie ticket.

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  34. Don't you just love the judgment? My own sister is the worst about this. I can't do ANYTHING without her raising her eyebrows and saying, "I don't understand how you can afford that," or asking me how much I paid for something.

    I'm glad you saw the movie! Giving our kids things they want, and being able to enjoy life from time to time keeps us sane, there is nothing wrong with that.

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  35. I grew up with parents that loved to take advantage of public assistance. You name it, they had a scam for it. All us kids moved away the minute we hit 18 and with the grace of God made it. Once all us kids were gone they had no choice but to get jobs. My mother was forced to get a job at walmart as a cashier. Not a day goes by that she doesn't complain about customers on public assistance with iphones or buying "junk" for their kids. The hypocrisy is mind numbing. When we call her on it all she can say is, "well now I know understand." Understand!!!??? I just want to say I am sorry on her behave and on behave of all these idiots who poor shame.

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