Take care of you. You can’t take care of anyone until you’ve taken care of yourself. You deserve to be pampered. You have to put yourself first. You-you-you.
What I’m hearing is a whole lot of ME-ME-ME.
I will agree that you should put your air mask on before helping someone else get theirs in place. And yes, overextending yourself is only going to result in exhaustion, either physical or emotional — sometimes both. And okay, we do sometimes deserve to take a break and catch our collective breath.
But all the time?
REALLY? And are there THAT many people out there being so giving that an entire movement should be directed toward encouraging bubble baths by candlelight? Where do they live? I want to move to THAT state!
College For Your Kids Versus Retirement
Personal Finance blogs are notorious for this mentality. With regard to the topic of College Savings for Your kids versus Retirement Savings, you’re supposed to pick YOU, 100%. That seems a bit… selfish?
The Leaders Opine.
Ever flip through money magazines?
No, me neither — booo-ring! But I do know one of the top reads in this field is Kiplinger, and they also assert that, unless you have a very lovely inheritance on the horizon, put yourself at the top of the priority list.
Pray your parents kick-it and everything will be okay.
Otherwise, every man for himself!
So yeah, I’ve read all the reasons why this should be great advise. And for people with money, maybe this does make sense. Never having had an extra dime on which to contemplate such choices, I can’t really say one way or the other. But I CAN tell you why this doesn’t apply to me, or anyone else in a similar financial situation.
(1) One minus One still equals ZERO.
As stated, there are no extra dimes lying about, so there is no choice to be made. Any windfall raining unexpectedly from the sky would not be enough to pay for one month of my mortgage, much less an old folks’ home. Extra money always goes to the kids, because if it’s not going to make much of a difference either way, I might as well put it where it’ll be best appreciated today.
In addition to my altruistic reasons for wanting to ensure my kids are college-educated, I have one admittedly very selfish reason. My parents never pushed me to pursue college. I’m still bitter of this. I managed to obtain a two-year degree, but it took me TEN years to do so. I want to be better than my parents. I want to be the parent they weren’t. I want to end the cycle of low-paying, uneducated bullshit running rampant through my family history. It stops here. My kids will go to college, regardless of what happens to me.
(3) The Future is Hopeless.
At least it will be for my kids if I don’t struggle to get every cent pushed toward getting them into college. If I have any hope of them NOT ending up in my shoes, they MUST get a degree. Screw my retirement. I’m not worrying about that. I’m worrying that my kids have a fighting chance in this world. How could I face my kids in my older years, knowing that my choice to take care of ME first condemned them to minimum wage jobs?
My ex-mother-in-law once asked me, with regard to her college-bound daughter, “Am I supposed to give up MY dream for hers?” I remember biting my tongue because I wanted to smack her face off her head. My answer today, almost a decade later, remains unchanged.
You are supposed to give up your dreams for your kids.
That’s what being a good parent means. When I made the decision to have my son, I promised him that his dreams would trump mine, and that I would do everything in my power to ensure he had a chance to make it. His dreams, in essence, BECAME my dreams.
That’s not to say I don’t still have dreams. I do!
But they aren’t placed above my children’s dreams, or even my husband’s dreams, for that matter. In the grand scheme of things, my dreams are complimentary to theirs. My husband and I share a combined goal toward which we are working. My dream of writing a novel goes hand-in-hand with that. And our shared dream, above anything for ourselves, is to see our kids succeed. They come first. Always.