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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

The reality of middle-class motherhood

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In no way am I trying to make wealthy people feel guilt. Whether you were born into it or you’ve scraped your way from the bottom earning every decimal point in your account, there you are.

And here I am.

In the throes of motherhood and in my 30's, having changed careers twice and having to juggle and battle and decide whether or not it was worth taking on another job just to afford child care.

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I’m not trying to go on fancy vacations. I’m just trying to be able to change the oil in my car when the light comes on and not have to hope and pray that the noises it makes will have lasting effects.

I’m not trying to impress anyone with name brand clothing or fancy events. All I’m trying to do is afford health care for my child when they get sick instead of having to wrestle with a decision of whether or not it it will cost less to go to urgent care or the emergency room, or if we can even afford to list somebody’s name where it says ‘PCP’ on a provider form.

I’m not looking to take a trip to Disney or even drive a vehicle who wasn’t found sitting on a lot whose owner wouldn’t even question my credit. I’m just hoping that instead of scraping to make ends meet I’m not having to consider whether or not I qualify for government assistance or whether we’ll have to open another credit card account just to transfer a balance to pay off things like looming student debt from a college degree we can’t even get a good enough job to use.

I’m not intending to write off our mortgage with one swift move of a pen. I’m just hoping that we can buy enough groceries to get us to the next payday.

I wonder what it’s like to get haircuts when I need them and not realize that I remember my haircuts based on the last time I had a baby. I’m not trying to visit a salon or get even get a pedicure. I’m just tired of feeling like the living wage doesn’t constitute ‘living’ but barely surviving.

I’m tired of seeing well-educated, well-meaning, and well-intentioned moms stuck in dead-end jobs or thankless careers instead of chasing the dreams that they live for, the passions that keep them up at night – all because they need to make rent.

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Middle-class motherhood looks like going on a work trip that’s mandatory, struggling to find coverage for your kids because you have to go since you don’t have sick days left because your kids come first. It’s being on that work trip and finding out that you only have $12 in your bank account and you have to figure out how to eat for the rest of the weekend and then get home.

Middle-class motherhood looks like eating ramen noodles so your kids have lunch money and figuring out what part-time hours you can get online so that you can have enough to cover expenses for school, sports, and extracurricular activities.

Middle-class motherhood looks like being anxious as you scrape together to save for Christmas, birthday parties, and back to school shopping.

Middle-class motherhood is blonde and brunette. It’s black and it’s white. It’s college educated and it’s GED.

Middle-class motherhood does not discriminate and it likely doesn’t look like what you think it does.

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