Sacrifice- June 26, 2014

I’m feeling foolish as I write this. Foolish because my last post was begging for your advice about strollers as my brain was consumed with our upcoming travels. We had grandiose plans to take our family of four to a family reunion in Nebraska this weekend. Now that it’s almost here I’m a little embarrassed to say we had to cancel at the last minute. Why, you ask? The short answer, money.

money pic

So often money is a taboo thing to discuss. I figure I talk about my leaking boobs and stitched up lady-parts on my mommy blog, so why should I be ashamed of discussing finances? I don’t know, but money is a touchy subject for most people. It’s private. It shows how vulnerable we are. That’s funny for a generation of people who are putting every mundane personal detail of their lives on the Internet to say that money is the thing that most shows our vulnerability, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong. Technically our family could afford to go on this trip, but at the price of some real financial strain later this year. It was going to cost an absurd amount to fly, rent a car and get a hotel room. We didn’t want to put a ton on credit cards. You know, credit cards. The cards people our age got when they walked on campus freshman year with their school logo on it.

Here’s the thing, we REALLY wanted to go on this trip. Bad. We had talked it up to our 3-year-old. We told her how great the zoo was going to be and how she was going to get to play with 50 million cousins she’d never met. We promised aunts they would get snuggle time with our squishy 7-month-old. I planned outfits and did laundry. I made arrangements for friends to dog sit. We bought plane tickets. We were going. We had our hearts set on it.

That’s the problem. We had our hearts set on going and wanted to go. I’ve found that Gen X/Millennials like us typically get what we want. Think about it. We came of age in the 1980’s and 1990’s. People my age knew nothing but mostly peace and prosperity until the economic collapse five years ago. Growing up, I figured things would always keep getting better and better. No, seriously. I just assumed my parents would always make more money than they did the year before, ensuring great family vacations and my college tuition taken care of.

This is not to say our generation is not innovative and hardworking. We are. I’m proud of how hard my husband and I have worked for many years to provide a great life for our children. We have a nice home near a good school, two cars and enough for preschool and dance classes.

Now that we are a single income household, we have had to make some adjustments. Sadly, we didn’t adjust enough. We didn’t plan. If we wanted to go on this trip so badly, we should have planned for it better than we did. Yeah, we did have some unexpected expenses pop up, but if we had planned better, it wouldn’t have been a problem. We made the choice for our family to have me stay home with our children. We don’t regret that decision, but we’ve still been living life as we were a double income household. We didn’t sacrifice.

Staying home from this trip is our sacrifice. We are learning the lesson of our generation. We can’t have everything we want all the time. Now, we have to raise the next generation to understand the same thing.

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10 Responses to “Sacrifice- June 26, 2014”

  1. Jessica Schmidt says:

    That takes guts Amy. I felt bad when I had to give up silly things like weekly manicures and pedicures. But $25 a week adds up. We makes adjustments where we can. Some things are priceless. Those are the things we keep. Other things are just manicures and pedicures.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, Jess. Totally. I like nice things, no doubt. But, I feel silly when I look back on all the things I “had to have” in my college years and 20’s.

  2. Dad says:

    Proud of you guys the difference between a baby boomer & Gen X is my generation would have charged it. It’s sad but that why our country has so much debt. If all GenX act as you do our country will be passed off to a more responsible generation than mine. Love you both and ever so PROUD OF YOUR DECISION. Dad

  3. Anne R. says:

    This is a great post & so very true!! My husband tells me this quite a bit….sometimes we have to “sacrifice.” Its hard to hear it though! Since we just built a new home & moved in, I think we’ll be seeing the effects of this more often!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Anne! You’re totally right. We could have gotten a smaller house and then traveled more, but we opted for the larger house near the good school. It’s all about tradeoffs.

  4. You’re right– it’s so hard to talk money. Well, at least to talk about money STRUGGLES! We are a 1.5 income household and even then it’s not easy. I wish we could vacation more. I wish when I took a day off I was getting PTO. But you’re right– we can’t have everything we want and it’s a good lesson for our kids too.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks. It kills me how families and spouses can’t even discuss money because it’s so taboo. Crazy. I just hope our kids can learn too.

  5. Katie says:

    I’m beyond proud and impressed! Way to put yourself out there, commit to teaching your family one of the best life lessons, and sacrificing for the long term goals!

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