Stay at Home Moms

Feeling inadequate - very long

I don't post often, but I have been lurking for awhile.  I just need to get this off my chest because I don't really have anyone to share it with.

My mom was a stay at home mom.  She has not worked outside the home since I was born.  She is very opinionated and is certain that everything she did for us was the only way.  My parents dated when they were in high school.  They bought their first home with a loan from my grandparents and have never had a mortgage payment.  Since they grew up together, most decisions that would lay the financial groundwork for their marriage were made together.  As a result, even though my dad was middle management, they were able to give us a lot of experiences.

I have just become a stay at home mom.  My husband and I have been smart with our money, but he had significant student loan debt.  We both had houses when the market crashed and I lost a lot of money on my house.  We bought a new house within our price range, drive cars with 80,000+ miles on them (with money set aside for new one), and are very close to being done with the student loan.  We pay our bills every month, and I have crunched the numbers to make sure we can save for retirement, our children's education, and build a savings account.  In order to do that, we need to watch where we spend our money.  My mom, however, makes me feel like I am going to be depriving my children of life's luxuries.  When I talk to her, she makes me doubt every decision we make.  I can usually let it roll of my back, but today it is getting to me.  Some of her issues:

1. As kids we belonged to a swim and tennis club.  I called around to find out how much they cost.  The initial fees are $2000 up front, and $575 a summer.  There is no way we can cough up that initial $2000 in the next few years.  Not when we are still furnishing a new house.  My mom wants to know what my kids are possibly going to do over the summer?  As she says, kids cost money and it wasn't cheap for her either.

2. We moved into an older subdivision without many children. I would have loved to build in a new construction sub that has the community clubhouse where families can gather, but we just could not afford it.  She reminds me constantly that there are few kids in my sub, and I am going to have to work harder to make sure DS is socialized.  I mentioned I take him to the park and library frequently, but she says he needs a place where he can build friend relationships, not just hang out for the day and move on..  Kind of like a pool, or classes.

3. When I stopped working, I pulled DS out of a swim school that was costing $85 a month.  She wants to know what classes he is going to be in...because kids cost money.

4. According to her, I save too much money a month for retirement and our children's education.  If I didn't save quite so much, we could do more. 

5. I asked my sisters to stop buying me birthday gifts.  My sisters, who are both single and make a lot of money, spoil my children.  I do not think they need to spoil my children, and then buy my DH and I gifts on top of it.  When it is their birthdays, I feel like I need to reciprocate in some way, and I just can't spend that kind of money on gifts for them.  It makes me uncomfortable and I wish they would stop.  My sisters and I agreed, then my mom butted in and informed me that, of course they would still be buying me gifts. 

I am truly not one to try to keep up with the Joneses, but I feel like with my mom, the Joneses are constantly asking me why I am not keeping up.  I am doing the best I can with what we have, and I don't like doubting my decision to SAH so I can have the extra money to join a pool. 


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Re: Feeling inadequate - very long

  • These are your mom's issues, not yours.

    Your kids are not going to suffer because they don't belong to a tennis club. And, personally, I've made many more friendships at the park and library than I have at swimming or other classes. Next time your mom starts up, just say "Mom, we have to do what we feel is best for our family." If she keeps up after that, say "I love you, but this topic is not up for discussion" and then change the subject.
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  • caybehcaybeh
    250 Answers 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary
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    I think you are doing a wonderful job, and just wanted to encourage you.

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  • 1. There are tons of free activities to do, not everyone needs to belong to a swim or tennis club, or anything else requiring $2000 up front.
     
    2. Going to the library and park and things like that is great, your DS will definitely learn to socialize there. Is there anywhere you can go where you'll meet other moms that might have kids the same age? If so, maybe you could make some new friends while finding friends for your son as well? I have to agree with your mom that it would be nice for him to play with friends he knows rather than just meeting kids randomly at the lbrary, etc.
     
    3. Hmm..not sure what your other options are. Don't know what other classes might cost in your area. Is there a yhing vheaper?
     
    4. See below.
     
    5. If your sisters have agreed about the gifts, great. If your mom insists on buying you gifts, so be it. If you've asked for them to stop and she still insists, I don't think you need to reciprocate.
     
    I would tell her this: I am doing the best I can with what we have, and I don't like doubting my decision to SAH so I can have the extra money to join a pool.
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  • image Spin313:
    These are your mom's issues, not yours. Your kids are not going to suffer because they don't belong to a tennis club. And, personally, I've made many more friendships at the park and library than I have at swimming or other classes. Next time your mom starts up, just say "Mom, we have to do what we feel is best for our family." If she keeps up after that, say "I love you, but this topic is not up for discussion" and then change the subject.

    Yep this.

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  • Nel11Nel11
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments 5 Love Its
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    Your finances, and what you choose to do with your kids, are none of your mom's business.  I would not discuss finances with your mom anymore- she really doesn't need to know how much you save for your kid's education, etc.  It sounds like you have your priorities in the right order... retirement + college > tennis and pool club by a long shot.  Your kids will not suffer if they don't take 2k worth of tennis lessons each year, but they will suffer if you and DH don't save for retirement and they end up having to support you later in life.

    I can't imagine how tough it must be to hear your mom say your not doing enough for your kids... I'm sorry.  But, it seems like you know your doing the right thing, so try and focus on the fun, free stuff you do with your kids and less on your mother's crazy ideas.  


  • You are doing everything right here. Your mom is wrong. Your mom was lucky to grow up in a time period where things were cheaper and family provided her with a house. Your situation is not hers and she needs to stop comparing. You need to put her in her place and distance yourself if she doesn't comply. Sounds harsh I know but the only way. 
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  • Please don't feel bad. Your choices are not your Mom's and vice versa. She did what she thought was best as are you.

    As long as your kids are loved, taken care of and played with it's all that matters.

    Sometimes I get so sad that the focus on kid's these days is activities, activities, activities, socialization, more socialization and did I mention activities?

    They're kids. Let them be kids. They'll make their own learning experiences while simply playing and the life long memories to take with them.

    If it makes you feel better, right now my kid is signed up for much of nothing. She's a kid. I want her to run, free play and explore on her own. Her playdates are with the neighbor kids and her cousins. She's turning out fine so far. I want her to enjoy this time. She'll get to school soon enough and full of the activities school naturally brings.

    They all grow up too fast as it is, I don't want to push it along.

    Hang in there.

  • image MomIn2013:
    1. There are tons of free activities to do, not everyone needs to belong to a swim or tennis club, or anything else requiring $2000 up front.
     
    2. Going to the library and park and things like that is great, your DS will definitely learn to socialize there. Is there anywhere you can go where you'll meet other moms that might have kids the same age? If so, maybe you could make some new friends while finding friends for your son as well? I have to agree with your mom that it would be nice for him to play with friends he knows rather than just meeting kids randomly at the lbrary, etc.
     
    3. Hmm..not sure what your other options are. Don't know what other classes might cost in your area. Is there a yhing vheaper?
     
    4. See below.
     
    5. If your sisters have agreed about the gifts, great. If your mom insists on buying you gifts, so be it. If you've asked for them to stop and she still insists, I don't think you need to reciprocate.
     
    I would tell her this: I am doing the best I can with what we have, and I don't like doubting my decision to SAH so I can have the extra money to join a pool.

    Thank you!

    In response to #2 and #3:

    I belong to a Mom's group that officially meets once a month, but splinter groups meet more often during the month.  I have started looking into another Mom's group through meet-up as well.  DS starts preschool in the fall, so I was hoping to connect to people through that.

    As for classes, there are classes that are much cheaper.  The classes he was in are kind of a new thing in the area that everyone seems to be doing them.  I tried them out while I was working, and they were really good.  However, DS can learn to swim through the parks and rec dept. which is a quarter of the price.  My plan was to enroll DS in one class a season, except summer because we are always out and about in summer. 


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  • image spring_time:

    In response to #2 and #3:

    I belong to a Mom's group that officially meets once a month, but splinter groups meet more often during the month.  I have started looking into another Mom's group through meet-up as well.  DS starts preschool in the fall, so I was hoping to connect to people through that.

    As for classes, there are classes that are much cheaper.  The classes he was in are kind of a new thing in the area that everyone seems to be doing them.  I tried them out while I was working, and they were really good.  However, DS can learn to swim through the parks and rec dept. which is a quarter of the price.  My plan was to enroll DS in one class a season, except summer because we are always out and about in summer. 

    I'd say you're definitely on the right track with everything, and since you're putting in a great effort to provide lots of social activities for your DS, I don't think your mom has any right to criticize.

    Just want to add to PP's - you're doing a great job. I'm sorry your mom has to be so critical of you, but at the end of the day, just know that you're making smart financial decisions for your family and their future. That's really what matters most.

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  • 2-Step2-Step
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    Your mom sounds like a perfect example of someone that can only feel completed and whole with money or expensive things. By living the way you do you are teaching your children to be fulfilled by other things, things that will see them through to a happy adulthood no matter what their economic status.

    I grew up with very few luxuries, on acreage with very few kids around. I made tons of friends in school, put myself through college with loans etc. I am very thankful that my parents instilled values in me that were not related to having and doing expensive things. At this point in my life I feel I am much happier and more content than some of my friends who grew up with more extravagent lifestyles. Now they feel that they have to have those things to be happy and struggle to keep up with the Joneses. I don't feel that way. I feel content and settled with the blessings I have much more than I yearn to keep up with the Joneses. I really believe that I owe that to the way my parents raised me.

    I'm sorry she is pressuring you, but know that you are making good decisions for your family. Keep strong mama!

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  • image rockyrollgirl:

    image Spin313:
    These are your mom's issues, not yours. Your kids are not going to suffer because they don't belong to a tennis club. And, personally, I've made many more friendships at the park and library than I have at swimming or other classes. Next time your mom starts up, just say "Mom, we have to do what we feel is best for our family." If she keeps up after that, say "I love you, but this topic is not up for discussion" and then change the subject.

    Yep this.

    Yup.

    Her opinion doesn't matter.  Especially when it sounds like she's very critical of your decisions.  I'm sure she means well, but the bottom line is she doesn't get a vote and really should hold her tongue.  It sounds like you guys are doing just fine on your own.   

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  • Oh good grief, please tell your mom to back off. All of those things you mentioned are LUXURIES! There's no way we would afford a $2000 fee for a swim/tennis club, I don't think a lot of people could! It sounds like you are socializing your LO well with the mom's groups and all, and really? I mean, it's the summer, there's TONS of things to do without belonging to a club or classes. DS would play with the hose in the driveway all afternoon if I would let him.  Just keep doing what you're doing and if she feels so strongly that those things are necessities then she can maybe pay for them lol.
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  • Our parents started out in a different time. In those days it was much easier to buy a house on one income. The ratio of average income vs. housing cost hasn't risen proportionately. Don't feel bad, at all.  

    To save yourself more grief in the future, it might help to just not tell your mom about your financial situation and what you are saving or spending. It's really none of her business, you're an adult.

    I've never even considered joining a pool, or even heard of it! Your kids will be fine :)  I do see value in swim lessons for safety's sake though. Have you looked into your city's parks and rec department for cheaper classes? 

     

    Married 07.07.07. Mom to 3: Ruby 11/08 and Oliver & Austin 12/11
  • Reminds me of my mom. I never feel insecure until my mom opens her big fat mouth.

    You just have to do your best to tune her out. As long as your children are happy and healthy and thriving, who cares how many costly activities they are in? 


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  • Sounds to me like you and your H have your act together. But I don't understand why your mother seems to have the impression that that she has an equal vote when it comes to your finances.
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  • Wow this was really interesting to read.  I always thought family was critical of the money their children were spending, not what they were saving! 

    I think the biggest issue here is that your mom has too much information.  You are an adult and she shouldn't know your household income, any of your expenses, or what exactly you are saving for the kids.  Nothing good comes out of her knowing these things.

     I think next time she tells you that your kids are missing out you should ask her if she is willing to pay for it (the pool for example).   Either she will agree with you and then you get a pool, or she won't bring it up again.

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