On a rare occasion when both of my kids were home at the same time, we recently discussed Father’s Day gifts. What The Mister might like, what would be something he’s use and enjoy, rather than knick-knacks that would just take up shelf space and gather dust.
Deciding on a couple of items, when I let my daughter know that I’d made the online orders, she laughed. I understand her amusement, but it was another reminder that I’m broke. The idea of me buying my husband, their dad, gifts with his own money* is almost surreal, and definitely depressing.
I’m in that undocumented segment of the population who are no longer included in the 8.1% national unemployment statistic. Out of work for almost three years, I have exhausted my limited job prospects and exhausted my financial benefits. I no longer count.
It’s not that there are no jobs available to me, but when looking for work, I have to weigh my potential salary against the added costs of working away from home – transportation, child care, clothing, etc… It’s not that I feel that I’m above working at Wal-mart or Micky D’s, but household expenses necessary for me to work at those sort of jobs would be more than any salary I’d earn. It’s a fatal Catch-22.
Which brings me back to making purchases for things outside normal monthly expenditures. Groceries, gas, utilities, credit cards, those sorts of things, while cringe worthy (all those damn zeros!), they are expenses that benefit our whole family. I feel tremendous guilt if I buy anything for myself, whether it’s clothing, lunch out, or even a hair cut.
To actually have no money of my own to buy gifts for my husband, it’s not only guilt inducing, it’s embarrassing.
Even though I do contribute to the running of our home, I still feel like I am less than essential. I try to keep our house in a modicum of order. Everyone has clean underwear (mostly) and matching socks (usually). I cook, clean, pay bills, tend our pets, but it’s little comfort when I know that even a little more income would be helpful.
It’s painful and demoralizing, and doesn’t look like my situation will change anytime soon.
*My husband has never done or said anything to make me feel guilty about not working outside the home. He has always been supportive of me staying home, and constantly tells me it’s not His money but Ours. It is my insecurity alone.