Money, it’s a gas

I grew up in a very thrifty home. My Mother (remember, the almost nun?) pinched every penny to such a great extent that I believe she feels spending money on anything not needed for basic survival is a sin. Once I started earning my own money, I enjoyed spending it! I’m sure I’ve wasted plenty of cash on useless crap over the years, but thankfully, I’ve learned how to balance the budget a little better. Ok, so I still have a few lessons to learn, but, I’m getting there.
I personally believe there are 2 things you can NOT put a price on:

#1 Sanity.

My own sanity-savers that are not free include: babysitter & a kid-free night out with the hubs, a massage, doing anything to get out of the house after you’ve felt trapped all day/week, night at a hotel, good beer/wine, therapy, some people need a gym or even meds to help get them escape. I could go on, but you get the idea… These are all things my Mother would avoid. Whether she felt they couldn’t afford it, or didn’t deserve these things, it makes me sad. My Mother has many issues, and some of them could’ve been resolved if she simply allowed herself to splurge once in awhile in order to hit that all-important reset button. You become a better Mom after you take a little time for yourself. Sometimes you need to make yourself a priority. I’m guilty of putting everyone else first too, but thankfully, I have an incredible husband who knows me well enough to tell me when I need a break.

#2 My children’s education

Searching for a school to send my now 5 yr old was such a challenge. When I say challenge, I mean, overwhelming-pulling-handfuls-of-hair-out-tear-fest-annoyingly-frustrating decision to make!! We weren’t huge fans of the last year of preschool she attended. Turned out to be mainly the teachers that we didn’t like, not necessarily the school, but still. The school could’ve done a better job regulating what was (or in her case, wasn’t) going on the classroom. It was a waste of a year, and in some ways, I felt she regressed. But, if we were ever going to be taught a lesson about the importance of education, it was a good lesson to be taught early on.

Once we realized we lived in a district that had a terrible school system, we looked into every other available option. We didn’t have a problem sending her to public school, but I’ll be damned if she’s just a number in a classroom. And since the hubs & I are musicians, a Music Class was vital. Yes, we can do private lessons. But when Music Education is a priority in schools it illustrates that the school is a well-rounded place to learn. Art classes were also something I wanted to see, especially since my daughter expresses herself so well through her art, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. And, my husband is a computer engineer; he wanted to be sure there were computer classes on computers that weren’t older than dirt.

I looked into schools of choice in the surrounding districts… no openings. I visited a couple charter schools – they made us believe it was difficult to get into because they had a limited registration period and promoted having a “waiting list”. Well, we got in, but when I went to the initial meeting, I didn’t have a good vibe after walking around the cold building, but then I saw the principal & several teachers standing around the overhead projector, fumbling. The principal started the meeting by saying “Anyone know how to use PowerPoint? None of us are computer proficient! Ha ha!” Um… really? Joking that no one knows how to use PowerPoint?! And, you are admitting the whole staff is not computer proficient?! Wow. Already wanted to walk out, but before leaving, I looked at what would’ve been her classroom, which crammed 24 kids into a 12×12 room? NEXT!

So, we knew we were going to be paying for school… but where? Looked into Montessori, Christian & Catholic schools. All of them were pricey, but the Catholic school at our church cost half as much as the Montessori & Christian schools. And, the school itself was really good. They compete in Math, Geography, Spelling Bees and rank among much bigger (wealthier) schools. 95% of former students go on to graduate HS in the top 5% of their class AND go on to college. In the PreK program, they do daily art projects in the classroom, daily outdoor activities (even in the winter!), weekly music, computer & gym classes. This is the PREK program! She will add a weekly art class once she starts Kindergarten in the fall, and can attend this school through 8th grade. When we send her sister, we will get a tuition break. If you have 5 kids, the 5th one attends free! Damn Catholics & their lack of birth control! HA! The difference we have seen in our daughter after attending this school so far this year has been incredible. She’s reading, more social, has a deeper desire to learn and is generally more empathetic to others & tolerant of change.

The education of our children is so valuable to us, and for their future! Why isn’t education more of a priority in this country?! For kids to attend a “good” public school, they need to live in the wealthy areas. We aren’t living in the slums or anything, but we’re in a district that’s in the shithole right now, and not improving from what I hear. Don’t people realize that if we don’t do something about this issue, it’s a never-ending cycle that will not improve? These half-assed educated kids are going to be members of our society one day. So, only people “with money” can educate their kids now? Because many people in our position, who may live in a great neighborhood that’s placed in a crappy school-district, have to pay out of pocket to send our kids to a good school. Look, I know health care is a big hot-button issue right now, along with the economy as a whole, but we need to focus on the future & throw some money at the public education system… NOW.

Money sucks. I never thought I’d spend money on my child’s education until they started college, and I never saw the point of spending money on a massage, until I had one. 😉 Thing is, when it comes to things like sanity & your children, there is no pricetag. Take some time to figure out what’s important to you, and find a way to make it happen. 

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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