Being a Broke-Ass Parent

I realized this past weekend that I come from a long line of Broke-Asses.  My grandfather used to drive 5 miles outside of town to save 10¢ on gas.  My other grandfather would buy fifty rolls of toilet paper every time it went on sale (Although he did have at least forty pairs of shoes, so there was some double standard going on there.).  My father will avoid the toll roads to save a few bucks, but doesn’t think about the money he might be spending by not taking the toll roads. Even my mother is getting into the act these days, and she loves to shop.

Some of this is just being cheap, and some of this is having a Broke-Ass mindset.  Although I remember it driving me crazy to sit in the car with my grandfather while he drove the extra five miles to save on gas, I admired him for making his way in the world by working at the age of sixteen.  He paid his way through law school as a waiter, as the story goes.  Sure I had to be careful opening closets in my other grandfather’s house for fear of being toppled by rolls and rolls of toilet paper.  But he worked in a bar growing up, and if it hadn’t been for that bar he wouldn’t have met my grandmother.  Then there’s my father.  I love him dearly, and admire him in every way possible. So if I have to turn a blind eye every time he refuses to turn on the air-conditioning at night in eighty-degree weather, then so be it.

Children growing up today would probably be better off coming from a Broke-Ass family than being a trust fund baby.  There are many life lessons to be learned by paying your way in life, and having to pinch a few pennies.  What I discovered, though this weekend is that maybe I didn’t find Broke-Asshood, maybe it in fact, found me.  Some days I hate it, but there are those days that I love it.

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About the author

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.
  • Kathryn

    I know what you mean. I am sometimes envious of people I know that come from money and have never had to struggle when I too come from a long line of broke.

    People who come from money are discontent and feel deprived with not having the newest and the best and not being able to keep up/being down upon the crowd they run with.

    When their money and their clout run low disappear, so do their friends (and sometimes their family). When you don’t have money, you know the people who do like you really like you for who you are, not what you can buy them or what you can do for their social status.

    I think in the long run not having money and having to pinch pennies I think gives you a greater appreciation of what you do have and contentment with live when you score small victories – like as an adult cranking the air conditioning on hot summer’s night.

  • http://my-watercooler.com Jennifer

    amen to that, kathryn!