My blogger friend Grace struck a chord with me today when she posted about being the "go-to" person in the family, especially when it comes to money.
Currently I am financially responsible for only myself and my son. However if something bad happens and I can no longer work and earn, it will force his dad to become more responsible with his own time and money, if possible. So in an indirect way I am the go-to parent, even though at this point in time no one is actually asking me for money.
I get bills that the dad doesn't:
Daycare - which is subsidized but there is a monthly bill to pay plus I have to meet with the social worker twice a year to insure continuation in the program
Dental and prescriptions - which I have benefits to cover but I have to pay the bill before I can get reimbursed.
School - always seems to be nickle and diming me for fundraisers, PLUS I have to come up with a lunch the kid will actually eat, which I try to keep cheap and healthy
Car (gas, maintenance, insurance) - which I might not have if I did not have a kid, plus it sure is handy to have me pick Bean up and drop him off at the bus station since his dad does not have a car
Apartment - I definately would not be living here if I did not have Bean, since it is expensive with two bedrooms
I am not trying to complain, because my life is far richer with my son a part of it. I complain about the reality sometimes but I am still grateful for what I have.
What I try to focus on sometimes is my idea of our future. At this point I contribute to a life insurance plan that Bean can cash in when he gets to his twenties. I also put aside a small amount for his education. I think the biggest most important thing I am currently doing is paying off my debt so that I will have cash in hand for the times that he needs it. Once I have my debts paid off I can aggressively save, and the savings will be for Bean as well as for myself.
Most importantly, I want to teach him to be responsible with money, and to not fill his life with "needs" that are costly and wasteful. One of my strategies is to do almost all the shopping while he is in school or at his dad's, so that he doesn't get "the buys" or learn how to indulge in retail therapy.
I know there's a possibility that everything I teach him can be undone by his dad, but I am doing the best I can here.