Three Years Later

I called it.

Happy April Fool’s Day, but this post is not a prank. Counting today, my 25th birthday is in 27 days. That surreal feeling has come back and it is stronger than ever.

Actually, I think about it a lot. How my mother was a parent at my age. My mom’s birthday is in July, so she would still be 24, but at the time, she had a nearly three-year-old child (me) and was about seven months pregnant. I cannot imagine. In that post, I said I couldn’t see where I’d be at 25. I wasn’t sure this blog would still be around. Well, at 25, I’ve finished school and am looking for a job in what I studied while dealing with retail for the time being. I also have student loans and credit card debt.

I don’t know if my mom had any debt, but I know her circumstances at the time weren’t much different than mine. I try to imagine having one child, but I can never figure it out. People say “you’ll figure it out”, but I genuinely can’t. I’m barely keeping myself above water. My retail job barely covers my monthly expenses. At best, I may have an extra $10 or $20 after I cover my bills from week to week, and that’s far from enough to care for a child. Heck, just if I were pregnant, I’d be in hot water. I have health insurance, but I’ve still had to pay out of pocket for some medical expenses. What about things like pre-natal vitamins and maternity clothes? And what if I couldn’t keep working while I was pregnant? I know many women work up until just days before they’re due (I had a manager who went on maternity leave and gave birth a week later!), but not everyone can do that. Pregnancy itself isn’t a cakewalk, but some are worse than others. And it’s not free to give birth! You get a bill for giving birth in a hospital, despite that’s the safest way (statistically speaking; there is sexism around childbirth).

If I’d be in deep mud before the child arrives, I’d metaphorically drown when the kid finally is here. Sure, I don’t have to spend $300 on baby clothes they’d quickly outgrow and constantly throw up on. But a crib? Diapers? Changing pad? Stroller? Bottles (don’t say breastfeed; the kid wouldn’t be in my care 24/7 because I’d have to work)? Bibs? Formula? Daycare? That alone would be nearly an extra $1,000 a month, and that’s cheap. That’s actually more than my monthly expenses. And these would be the expenses for a healthy baby!

But it crosses my mind a lot because of the way I’m currently struggling and knowing my mom did it over 20 years ago. A popular meme I’ve read is about how having your kids young means you’ll be free in your 40s and be able to do everything you missed out on when your kids were young. The problem is that assumes you’ll be well off by the time your kids are grown, and they’ll move out at 18 and not move back in. My mom’s financial situation is no better now than it was when I was an infant, and my sister and I aren’t well off either. It may be worth mentioning my grandparents also weren’t well off. I think this is what’s called generational poverty.

I know this surreal feeling will pass, but I’ll never not be astounded that people do this. For the record, I know how my mom did it. She had government assistance. And no, I don’t think that’s shameful. But to see in twenty years, her situation hasn’t changed – and to know it’s been this way for two generations, three if I count myself and my sister without kids – is depressing, to say the least. I hear “there’s never a good time” and “you’ll never be ready”. Maybe that’s true, but if I wanted kids, I sure wouldn’t willingly have them when I couldn’t pay rent if I needed to. Maybe there really never is a good time, but I’m sure it’s a bad time when daycare alone would take more than your entirely monthly income.

For the sake of my curiosity, and my absurd enjoyment of creating lists, I’m going to add up those expenses. Let’s say I get what I can what from the store I work at.

Crib? Cheapest they have is $200.

Baby outfits? Let’s go with a set of four. Those usually cost about $8.

Bottles? We have packs of three that are about $4.

Bibs? One set has four, I think, and that’s another $4.

Stroller? An umbrella one is $20, but those aren’t exactly sturdy and probably not good for a newborn child. The sturdy ones are $50 at cheapest.

Changing pad? I can’t remember how much in-store, but according to their website, their cheapest is $15.

That’s all the necessities I could get from my job. My job is near Wal-Mart, so I could get diapers and formula from there. Lowest is a pack of 20 diapers for $5, but on average, a newborn uses around 10 diapers a day, so that’d only last two days. So, that’s $20 for a week’s worth of diapers. Baby formula, for a box of one quart, is $7, and that would last only a day (a quick Google search tells me newborns drink 2 to 3 ounces per feeding every 2 to 3 hours; a quart is equal to 32 ounces). A week’s worth of that would be $49, and that’s for 7 individual boxes. A pack is more expensive!

So, let’s add all of that up.

$200 (crib)
$8 (set of baby outfits)
$4(x2) (pack of bottles and set of bibs)
$50 (stroller)
$15 (changing pad)

Minus 15% employee discount, and the total is $238.85 before taxes. Add in the diapers ($20) and formula ($49), and the total reaches $307.85 before taxes. So, at minimum, I’m spending $300.

“But you’ll only buy one crib, one stroller, one changing pad…”

Okay, but I’ll need more clothes when my baby gets bigger, and diapers and formula for a month still total $276 (again, before taxes). Also, I need to work, so again, daycare. Using a local one here I searched, that’s over $900 a month. Round up, and baby’s expenses are about $1,200 a month, on top of my own and not including new clothes for the baby. If my retail job barely covers my expenses, where am I getting an extra $1,200 a month? Once again, this is assuming the baby is healthy and born with zero health issues.

Exactly. I have no clue and I’m not curious enough to find out. The whole idea makes my head spin. And yes, I know there are people my age and younger who are supporting kids on minimum wage jobs. I have a supervisor who does it. Let me put it this way: just because it’s doable doesn’t mean I want to find out how. And just because one person can do it doesn’t mean someone else can. Assistance doesn’t cover absolutely everything.

I’m sure this surreal feeling will pop up every so often. Maybe near every birthday. I don’t know.

I wish those who are financially struggling, with kids and without, the very best. As for myself, right now, I only wish to find a better-paying job in my field.

Jealousy: Co-Worker Edition

Because I already have a post titled Jealousy that’s more recent than I thought.

I’m just going to make this a confession post and admit it: the green-eyed monster is real.

Yes, I’m jealous.

I’m jealous of the manager who gets to work with her boyfriend and her best friend, train the latter, and was able to get her best friend hired for said reason (her boyfriend was already there). She gets to spend all her breaks and most of her shift with him/her/them as a result. I once did have a good friend of mine at work during 2017’s seasonal period and it was awesome! I miss her being there so much, but she moved on to a better job, so I’m not unhappy she stayed. I just miss having my friend work with me. I’d kill to be able to work with my best friend or my boyfriend, and being able to share a job with both would be an absolute miracle I’d thank fate/destiny/whatever every day for.

I’m jealous of the co-workers who get nearly a week off, and who get a weekend day off. I work every weekend, and even when my schedule was limited due to school, I never had half a week off, let alone nearly an entire week. I can’t get a weekend off unless I request it and the request is approved. I can’t remember the last time I did have a Saturday or a Sunday off, let alone both. I think I’d cut my arm off just for the privilege.

Yes, I enjoy money, but I also enjoy having my sanity intact and having time for anything else instead of having to force it because I’m dead tired. Call it “adulthood” if you want. My sanity is still slipping and I feel nothing for my job but my frustration. I do not care about customer service. I do not care about cashiering. I don’t even care about being on time (though I still am). Honestly, I just care that I get through and go home. The only reason I haven’t left is I’ve found nothing that’s worth leaving for. Any retail job would be the same, and retail is utter trash.

Stay out of retail, kids.

No Forgiveness

A comic I will not link to because it’s maddening prompted this post.

I have a big problem with the concept of forgiveness. It’s supposed to be “healing”. As far as I’ve been able to see, it’s a way to excuse the bad things people do.

The comic was about bullying. In summary, the artist’s childhood bully was once her friend, but ditched her because she (the bully) became popular. Artist finds the bully on Facebook years later to discover she and the other kids who mistreated her have grown up and live normal lives while the artist wishes she could erase those awful years from her life.

I know the feeling.

The title described it as a “heart-melting comic”, but there is nothing that melts my heart about knowing people can mistreat or flat-out ruin years of your life with no remorse and carry on like normal while you live with the after effects. I consider those people borderline sociopaths.

Yes, people can argue there’s no point in being angry years later and, to an extent, I agree. However, as far as I am concerned, I have the right to be angry with my bullies because they made my school life a living hell, and the adults had zero power to stop it (heads up: “tell an adult” is the most worthless advice that can ever be given in regards to bullying). They are part of the reason I want to burn my childhood to ashes, and I am supposed to forgive them because time passed? Because “kids will be kids” {so, why bother with discipline?)? Of course, they’ve moved on. Bullies don’t have remorse or they wouldn’t do it. But they do not deserve forgiveness and I won’t forgive them because, even if I will never see them again, I refuse to justify and excuse what they did to me!

No, it’s not okay to hurt someone because it will be in the past. No, it’s not okay for children to be bullies because they are children. No, time passing does not excuse someone’s abusive actions. And no, I do not wish any of my bullies a happy life. Perhaps it now makes me border on sociopathic, but for what they did to me for all of those years, I wish them nothing less than the absolute hell they gave me!

No, I don’t live my life angry every second. The only reason I even thought about it is I came across that comic. But I do not, and I will never, forgive my bullies for how they treated me.

Forgiveness is not a right and not everyone deserves the privilege.

I Think I May Miss Them

Shockingly, I made it through to the end of my trade school program.

I have one day left, and it’s not a full day. I have to go to take a final test, but after I finish, I can immediately go home. I also have one more payment due, which will be paid next Friday.

I’m currently waiting on a call for an interview for an internship position. If I’m approved for it, I’ll be working in a public school in a town that is, thankfully, much closer to my home than my school is. I’m very nervous about it because it’ll be my first interview for a non-retail job, which means the “cute and cheerful” persona won’t cut it.

Yesterday, our second-to-last day, we had a pizza party. Yes, despite being on a 500-calorie diet, I participated and went to gym later to burn it off. We took a few pictures too, and I have one of the whole class. Then, a feeling I never expected hit me.

We are really leaving.

I didn’t become friends with my classmates. We were friendly to each other, yes, but no friendships formed. Yet, when I look at the class picture I have on my phone, I think about how I spent the last eight months with this group and Monday will really be our last day as a class. Unless the stars align, chances are none of us will see each other again. I looked forward to internship, and to the end of this program, since I started it, especially since I had to withdraw and re-enter. Now that it’s here, I suddenly have an emotional conflict going on.

I truly may miss them.

I don’t know why. As I said, no friendships formed. There are no special bonds. I don’t know them beyond a few mentions of their personal lives here and there. There’s no reason I should feel this way. But I do.

For the sake of preserving their privacy, I won’t post the picture here. I uploaded it to Dropbox, and saved it on an SD card in my phone, to ensure it won’t be lost. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now, and how I’ll feel if I look back on that picture in 2020. Will I remember their names?

In lieu of the class picture, I’m going to end this post with a song I haven’t listened to in a few years that writing this out has brought to mind. The “friends forever” part sure won’t happen, though.

“Somehow today, we have to say… goodbye.”