So here we are on Sunday, easily my favorite day of the week, and I am getting glum thinking of the impending Monday.
My rant here is not to complain about my job–I have done that enough. While I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work and bring home some money that can take care of a few household builds, thus taking some of the brunt of that from my husband, overall Mondays distress me because on Mondays I again turn over the responsibility of raising my children to the (very capable) hands of my mother.
No, I do not worry about my children, but the fact is, they are MY children and I want to be the one to raise them. But, economically speaking, we cannot afford that.
When my son was born, we were living in a condo that my sister owned. She did not charge us much in rent. There were times after my husband was laid off that we did rely on government help as he looked for other work-Medicaid for my son and a Bridge card (food stamps) to eat. Although we appreciated the help that safety net provided (and those programs SHOULD be there for people who need them, but should never be a way of life for anyone able-bodied), that was not how we wanted to raise our family. But, for a stretch of time, we were both employed, and although we struggled, I was home with my son while he was young. I loved it, and he thrived.
With my daughter things are different. I have been working since she was very small, and I feel guilty that I have not spent as much time reading to her, singing her her ABCs, teaching her numbers, etc. With my son, I went so far as to homeschool him a little since I was home with him. I was teaching him Spanish and, since he is interested in being a doctor, even using my books from college to teach him bones and muscles and bodily systems with my anatomy and physiology knowledge. I LOVED IT. I fixed his breakfast and lunch, got him dressed, got dinner ready for my husband when he did go back to work, and overall felt that I was doing what I was supposed to do for my family. Not saying I never got bored or frustrated with my entire life revolving around my family–I’d be lying if I said that. When I started my graduate program, that gave me an outlet, a chance to focus on my own ambition outside of my family.
Maybe it is in my mind but my daughter is not as advanced as my son is and I feel that is my fault for not being with her like I was my son. She is exceptionally smart, but I have not devoted as much time to her. I spend forty hours a week at my job, and by the time I come home it is time to fix dinner, help my son with homework, get some baths going, and read a story and go to bed. It is often upsetting to me that I spend perhaps twenty minutes of quality time a day with my kids throughout the week.
Has capitalism and the pursuit of wealth interrupted the American family? Years past women were able to stay home with their kids because their husband made enough to support them. It would be nice if that were more feasible now but everything costs so much. I remember where I lived as a child in Ann Arbor, Michigan–a lovely, safe neighborhood with tons of kids. The rent was $325 a month. Now, in 2014, it’s over $1200. Thirty years ago, average rent was $375. Now it is over a thousand (Wotapka, 2014). College costs are 500% higher now than they were thirty years ago… why?? (Odland, 2012). A new car was under ten grand. Now, a decent used car might be under ten grand. SMH.
The richer keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. And our society is so materialistic that even people of moderate means are getting caught up in trends and have no problem forgoing their rent or car payment just so they can impress other people and get the same new iPhone that thousands of other people are getting. It costs less than twenty bucks to make a pair of Air Jordans, but people have no problem shelling out a couple hundred for them, only to watch them go out of style and then have to scramble to get the next pair and keep up with everyone else.
There is a lot of misery involved in the pursuit of money, and the overzealous pursuit of wealth in America (often at the expense of others) has seemingly affected us all. Even someone like me, who has finally gotten to a level of satisfaction and contentment with what I have–I am perfectly happy with my home, although it is small, it is big enough; I am happy with the car I have, although it is not brand new; etc– still has to live in this exploitative world where everyone’s motto is “I got mine, you better get yours”.
I apologize for my disorganized rant. I do. Typically I put more into my posts in terms of organization, but admittedly I am not well-versed in economics or the terms and concepts that go along with it. I just wonder why things cost so much more than they used to and why, if the cost of living has risen so, why haven’t wages as well? Do greed and capitalism go hand in hand?
Thank you to the following individuals for allowing me to use your information.
Odland, S. (2012). College costs out of control. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveodland/2012/03/24/college-costs-are-soaring/
The People History. (N.D.). The year 1985 from The People History. Retrieved from http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1985.html
Wopatka, D. (2014). U.S rents rise again as market tightens. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304887104579304830053269994
Image borrowed from http://www.dystopiaearth.com/?p=976