In the past couple of months I’ve had to make some hard decisions. I have been reflecting back on what growing up means and the choices we have to make as a wife/mom/daughter/friend.
When I was teaching and not married I had so much financial freedom. I lived at home, could save a hearty amount per month, but still shop, vacation, eat out, etc. After Dan and I got married, we had a mortgage (we bought a co-op in Queens), things changed, but we still were able to go on vacation and enjoy ourselves. I was still teaching, so we were still a 2 salary household.
Fast forward to now, we bought a house (and sold our co-op 2 years ago), we live on one income, put money into our small business and we have a child. Things are different. Dan and I have gone into every big decision in our lives with a lot of hard work, planning and thought. We don’t take anything we do lightly. We put a good amount of money into our house when we bought it, redoing the kitchen & bathroom.
Dan and I have to make choices and sacrifices to make sure we are doing the best by our family of 3. We make sure that we take care of ourselves and Olivia first and that we are happy with how we spend our money. This year we are pushing hard to pay off all of our remaining credit card debt. This means we have had to look hard at our expenses.
In doing all of this, we have to stick to our budget. Add in putting Olivia in some type of school, that means there’s not much leftover for extra-extra curriculars. By extra-extra curriculars I mean vacations, weddings and trips with friends. It down right sucks. And sometimes I don’t think others totally get it, but I certainly don’t blame them. (And I don’t think you can unless you are in the same or similar situation.)
For example I had to turn down a vacation with my college friends for our 30th birthdays. A year ago I thought I could go. Even 6 months ago I thought I would make it work. Then I seriously, seriously looked at it. I got quotes for schools for Olivia (which was approximately x3 the vacation). And it came down to Dan taking vacation time to stay home with Olivia while I go off with my friends OR taking vacation so the three of us can go away together (somewhere WAY closer & affordable).
It literally was a punch in the gut to tell my friends I couldn’t go, but I had to make the better choice for my family. I couldn’t spend $1,000 to go on vacation ALONE, while Dan stays home with Liv and uses vacation time. I also couldn’t bare to leave Liv and Danny for 4 days (any shorter than that would have not been worth it for travel time.) And I honestly wouldn’t have been thrilled if he decided to leave for 4 days and spend our money on a vacation that didn’t include me and Liv.
We’re not going to be able to go to all the destination weddings this year either, for the same reason. It’s just not the best choice for our family.
It sucks saying no. I feel bad when my husband gets invited on ski vacations and has to say no because he can’t take the vacation time (he only gets approximately 2 weeks a year…give or take a couple days.) AND because we are really trying to stick to our budget AND because we want to spend our extra money on things that we can do TOGETHER.
Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE spending time with our friends..and we still do. Weekend trips to see them, having people over for dinner or dinners out occasionally are ways we still fit it in. I think it’s super important to have girl/guy time and it still happens, just not as frequently.
I don’t really know why I’m sharing, but I thought there must be some people in similar situations. I’m 29 and 99% of my close friends don’t have kids. I truly value my friendships and try hard to work on my relationships. My friendships did not stop just because I had a kid, but now I have two other people I need to think of before I decide to do something. Am I envious sometimes that my friends get to do things I can’t? Sure…but it usually only lasts a second before I’m reminded how lucky I am to have what I have.
While I have talked about all the sacrifices I’ve made and how it sucks, I can honestly say I’m happy to make any and all of them. If not going on a vacation with friends allows me to put Olivia in the better for her school AND allows me to spend more time over the summer with Danny and Olivia than it’s an instant win. They are sacrifices, but they are going to help us reach our bigger goal. In the meantime Danny and I will be enjoying ourselves and treating ourselves in other ways that benefit the two of us.
Being married means you have to do what’s best for the both of you. Having a child magnifies that 23849082 times more. I’m so lucky to have a partner that shares the same goals as me. Working towards our goals and giving up things doesn’t feel like a true sacrifice because we are still having fun along the way.
Can anyone relate or see a different point of view here?