Despite the title of this post, nope, I am not asking you for money (even though I write this blog about being in debt and not being able to be a stay-at-home mom, so I guess if you’d like to pay off my student loans, that would be OK. I mean, if you’re going to twist my arm…) Nope, this post is just some ruminations on recent internet trends – hopefully no judgements!!
In my daily marathon breastfeeding / internet reading sessions, I’ve recently stumbled across website after website where the administrator has a PayPal button. Yep, rather than leave a comment, you can just pay them to voice your enthusiasm for their content. I’m not even sure what I thought the first time, but I know the second site elicited a chuckle because of the wording below the button. The websites I’ve seen this on are more or less blogs – just folks out there like you and me, typing up posts on their opinions or daily observations. It seems a bit odd to me to pay someone for their non-expert opinion, so I’m unlikely to donate to any of these websites, but I also don’t see anything wrong with it. But, hey, if you have a few bucks to spare and you want to support someone on their goal of working from home or supporting their stay-at-home wife – I think you are a generous, sweet person. Go you!!
On the topic of soliciting funds, my husband I frequently get emails and letters from our (very expensive but not-worth-the-price-tag) alma mater, asking us to donate. They should fire the marketing firm they are using, I tell ya. The email or letter will tell the story of poor so-and-so, who is an excellent student with big dreams of being an air traffic controller/astronaut/pilot (not trying to hide my alma mater too hard ;-)), but who cannot possibly afford tuition (let’s be honest, who can???) Won’t I please, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee, donate to the scholarship fund to help them?
Here is where bitterness overtakes any generous spirit I have. Probably because of the donations of folks who came before me, I was offered an academic merit scholarship of $1,000. $1,000!!! Sounds like a lot, right? For awhile it was – it covered about 25% of my tuition. Not so much being smart about money, but just because I thought it was cool, I was a Resident Assistant for awhile, covering room and board. I switched campuses, losing that position and then tuition spiked, so my academic scholarship was less than 5% of my tuition and I still had to cover room and board. My father had passed away in high school, leaving my mother, with only a HS diploma, to work two jobs just to make ends meet and that was before I chose a college. Then, she passed away while I was finishing up college and I didn’t know how I’d even pay to fly back for the funeral or find gas money / hotel money for the long drive back. We were not well off. And I made it through almost entirely on my own. But I’m also paying for it very dearly for twenty years. You know what I say to poor so-and-so? Go to a state school. It’s just as good. You’ll have the same job opportunities afforded to you. Get a scholarship if you need it and work to cover any expenses left over. Do not take out a single student loan. And oh, yeah. I can’t afford a cup of coffee for at least ten more years, so take that back to your marketing firm…
Now, I did cheekily think about setting up something like a Go Fund Me site to solicit help paying off my student loan debt (I won’t touch hubby’s with a ten foot pole). I laughed at the thought of it ever going viral (which I’d need in order to come close to success) because who wants to help eliminate someone else’s debt that they signed up for? And in this day and age, not many people see the value of moms staying home with their kids. I’m sure that it would be an awesome failure (in part because I’d be terribly embarrassed to share it with friends and family anyway… Where would my viral network start??)
It’s a nice thought that I could essentially win the lottery by getting the anonymous internet to rally behind me… But I don’t think it’s the right attitude to have. My husband I dug our hole with each student loan and we need to “man up” and pay them off. We’ve had opportunity after opportunity the last ten years to be smarter with our funds and we didn’t seize them. Unfortunately, (I believe) my girls are ultimately paying for my mistakes.
I’m home now on maternity leave and my oldest daughter, who has been in daycare her whole life, is eating up the extra time she gets with me, even though I’m not particularly fun because all I do is nurse the baby, hold the baby, and change the baby’s diaper. My oldest has been craving my attention. My touch. She sits as close to me as she can. She’ll hold my hand while she naps next to me while I nurse. She never cried to go to school before but now she cries on the two days a week she goes. She wants mommy. And then you have my youngest – my baby – who has refused every attempt at taking a bottle or pacifier and I’m going to dropping her off to starve and cry in just a few short weeks. If I didn’t feel ashamed of my situation before, I sure do now.
My prayers have been filled with tears, but I resist the urge to beg God for a miracle fix, partly because it smacks of testing God, but mostly because I think it’s time for us to put in the work. But I tell God I’m sorry. I pray for my girls. I pray for mommy to teach them better.
Did you take out any student loans for school?