From The Confessional: Struggling With Money? You're Not Alone

by Karen Johnson
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It’s no secret that being financially unstable has an impact on all other facets of life. It affects our mental and physical health if we cannot afford to seek medical care. If we cannot buy groceries. If we cannot get our kids new shoes. And if we cannot pay the rent or mortgage.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant families who were already struggling just got pushed further down. Those living paycheck to paycheck, praying for a break, worrying about how they’d float Christmas or afford new winter coats, saw their bank accounts dwindle even more.

Word of stimulus checks gave lots of people hope, but not everyone received one. And some did, but watched in horror as their partner blew the cash on stupid shit, rather than pay down a credit card or finally stock the fridge with enough groceries.

Money doesn’t buy happiness (there are a shit-ton of really unhappy rich people), but damn, does it make life easier. Once you have the peace of mind that your electricity won’t get shut off and your car won’t be repossessed because you finally made a payment, you can breathe a little bit. But until you can take that breath, it’s hard to be a good parent. It’s hard to find joy in the everyday things—like hearing your kids’ laughter or expressing pride in their latest artwork. Because as you stand there, feigning happiness at the rainbow they drew to hang on the fridge, you’re really wondering what TF you’re going to do if that kid gets sick. Or how you’ll afford a few presents for under the tree for them. Or what you’ll do come spring when they need new sneakers and there will be only 10 bucks left in the bank account.

I would be the best mom if I were even moderately wealthy. I'm poor, though, and that shit is EXHAUSTING. So I'm stuck as a mediocre-at-best mom.

Confessional #25815815

I wonder what its like to work and actually get to keep your money instead of it going to child care. Must be nice.

Confessional #25815457

Feel like a general failure. Not a patient enough mom. Not a good enough or supportive enough wife. Crap job since I lost a career 7 years ago. Just feel like a loser who wasted money on college.

Confessional #25814811

I feel worthless, poor, stuck, and lonely. I wish the universe would cut me a fucking break already

Confessional #25810554

For many moms, financial struggles make them feel like failures and that they’re doing a shitty job at parenting.

I think its BS how high NSF fees are. Like "hey this person doesn't have enough money to pay their bills so great idea let's take another $50 from them!" Its like they are punishing you for being poor which is already punishment enough!

Confessional #25815682

$1K is all that stands between me and achieving a dream. Come on second stimulus check. Mama is tired of always coming last.

Confessional #25791727

I regret not having my own money & bank account. I work part time, but it doesn't bring in much. H supports us & even though I manage the $ & pay the bills, I feel trapped. I wish I had a career.

Confessional #25813096

Being poor means feeling trapped, being kicked while you’re down, and always coming in last.

We have no money and I'm scared.

Confessional #25813464

My husband won’t stop spending all of the money. Anytime we get any “extra he immediately spends it all. I’m losing my mind because I’d like to be able to breathe a little bit and not be stressed about bills constantly and to have a savings.”

Confessional #25813260

I didn't win the lottery, I won't get a stimulus check, unemployment has run out, and I didn't even get chosen for jury duty which would've been $15 per day; jobs are hard to look for and find. I do NOT want to start couch surfing. Not sure what to do.

Confessional #25813342

Scared of what will happen to my family since we will not be receiving a stimulus check, yet I have been out of work since May.

Confessional #25812688

Having no money is scary and stressful, and it can feel like there’s no way out. For many, 2020 was the scariest and most stressful year yet.

I desperately hope to wake up to my stimulus money in the bank tomorrow, we need it badly. Thankful we at least paid our rent, electric and car payment but we need groceries and supplies badly and have credit cards that have gone unpaid 2 months

Confessional #25813250

Hope another stimulus passes. Drowning bc covid paycuts.

Confessional #25785844

Everyone is getting their stimulus checks. We haven’t yet and I’m freaking the fuck out.

Confessional #25812558

I DESPERATELY Need another stimulus check if we're going to survive. Im so financially screwed right now

Confessional #25808183

Recently unemployed due to COVID, just gave birth. I knew my maternity leave would be unpaid. But omg if they pass the stimulus with an extra $300, I’d get a paid leave and it would help my family so much. Please.

Confessional #25810827

Americans need more stimulus money, full stop. These two rounds of checks have helped, but they are not enough to keep struggling families afloat. Kids are hungry. And cold. And sick. So are their parents. And they need more support as we continue to wait out this pandemic.

The reality for the average American is that money is tight. That’s not new. But then a deadly pandemic hit, bringing a whole new host of stresses to our world that we’d never seen before in our lifetime. Suddenly our kids couldn’t go to school, and we couldn’t go to work. Restaurants and shops shuttered their doors because customers stopped coming. Lay-offs and furloughs happened across the nation, and families in every city and every state suddenly struggled to put food on the table more than ever before.

If all of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. But 2021 and a vaccine and a new president who believes that COVID-19 is real mean we can hopefully, finally see the light. We can feel hope rising up from the ashes of 2020, and we can feel optimism that this year will be kinder—to our mental health, on our physical health, and on our bank accounts as well.