Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Financial Concerns

Having grown up in Manhattan, I normally appreciate the candid behaviour (called "Dugriut" in Hebrew) of Israelis. Most of the time, I appreciate when a person speaks to me directly, straight up, without sugar coating or playing the supposedly polite politically correct game.

Yesterday, however, this was not the case. My cousin's wife, a highly educated, intelligent and "dugrit" Israeli, gave me a whole lecture about how I better get back to full-time work as soon as possible, as I don't want to lose my Chiropractic clients and get my daughter thrown out into the street because we won't be able to pay the rent. I should have a sitter put my child to bed at night so I can take late patients, etc. To prove her point, she casually mentioned that she started working two weeks after her youngest daughter was born, and she took the baby to all her business meetings.

I get it, she has five children and she knows better than me. I get it, I am a single parent and I need to worry about my child more so than the traditional parent.

Thanks (NOT). I had already gotten into a frame of mind of thinking about money issues, about how many hours I would have to work to cover our expenses without my losing out on precious time with Raphaela. I have come to accept that I will earn less per month because I will quite simply not be putting in the hours I used to, before the pregnancy and before I gave birth.

If someone said to me, right now, here's enough money to cover you for the next year, I would close my office and never look back. But I cannot afford to do that right now, unless some random relative I have never met dies and leaves me his estate. (I am not counting on that option, just putting it out there to the Greater Universe.) I also don't want Raphaela to feel the stress of just getting by emotionally or financially, because I believe that babies are especially perceptive to mood and emotions.

Yesterday, Raphaela pulled herself into a sitting position and held her back there, and she has begun to 'speak' spontaneously; I cannot afford to miss that.


Rabba bar bar Chana said...

You can cut corners and make adjustments, but you can never get back the bonding time you're having with Raphaela right now.

You shouldn't doubt your own instincts. You're doing it the right way.

Besides which, yes, while money's important, if Raphaela's already keeping you up many nights, why would you further erode your personal time that keeps you sane by taking late patients?

Amy Charles said...

You have to be quite strong with friends like that and tell them to stop. That's all. That you appreciate their concern and understand they mean it well, but that they are not helping and must stop. If it's clear you mean it, they will.

You are always going to have money troubles unless some kind of magic happens. This is in the nature of being a single parent. There isn't any buffer. Most married parents have money troubles too. But you must be very careful not to compete, in terms of what money can buy, with two-income families. Just don't. You can't win that way or make yourself happy. My daughter has already decided that she'll do work that makes lots of money when she grows up; fine. Your daughter will have her own reactions, and frankly, they will be what they will be. In the end it will have more to do with her personality than with your checkbook.

Don't worry.