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Money: A Real Discussion

By Beth Montgomery

We can all agree on this: Kids are expensive. I am not a financial guru and this isn’t going to be a “how to manage money” article. I’m simply a single mother who is sharing her experience in this parenthood journey. One of those least talked about experiences is money.

Recently, I asked my friends on Facebook what feelings came up surrounding the topic of money and the response was overwhelming. It didn’t matter if you’re a partnered or solo, parent or not, the word “money” brought up a lot of mixed emotions ranging from positive freedoms to constricting negatives. Most of which I could identify with.

I asked this question on social media to get insight for this article with people I’m connected with, but what I received instead was confirmation that I’m not alone in my feelings about money. I’m hoping that in sharing my experience, it will help someone else not feel alone.

For a long time, money was a source of anxiety for me. To a degree, it still is today. Worries of if I’ll have enough to cover next month’s bills or unexpected emergencies and the like plagued my every thought and decision.

I’ll be honest, having all the financial responsibility of a household is a lot of weight to carry on one person’s shoulders. Not to mention teens ask for expensive gifts and they eat A LOT.

I lived in fear for a long time, and the result of that long-cycling thought pattern is that it shaped my perception of reality. More specifically, when it comes to money, the “lack of” mentality.

It wasn’t until I worked with my local financial coach, The Exuberant Elephant’s Lindsey Whiskeyman, that I was able to shift my perception just enough to have the courage to talk about my experiences around money.

Sure, I was able to pay my bills and even splurge on some things, but inside, I knew there was something deeper to uncover. It was no surprise to discover that it wasn’t money that I had a problem with but my perception surrounding money. It was all about how I reacted in response to it.

Uncovering the deeper issues that surrounded my perception of money, and sharing right where I was at, was an uncomfortable process. I had to get honest and share some really personal information and spending habits. I knew that if I didn’t share vulnerably and honestly, nothing would change. I had to set my pride and ego aside in order to get the help I needed.

With the help of someone who knew more than I did, and some gentle guidance on how to better manage my budget, I feel more confident than ever when it comes to money. I can identify feelings behind my money mindset and change course when necessary. I’m able to see patterns that run deeper than just spending more on eating out or a new outfit.

I am not perfect at this approach by any means, but it has helped shift my perspective just enough to share the hope. For someone who was (and still is) riddled with anxiety every time a bill comes due, the peace I’m beginning to experience with a simple shift in money mindset perspective is a welcome respite.

While this is a long process for me to unravel decades of programmed thinking surrounding money, I’m encouraged that I’ll be able to instill what I’ve learned in my kids. Being able to influence their perception surrounding money and cultivating a positive shift towards abundance and positivity makes everything I’ve experienced worthwhile.

April is Financial Literacy Month. There are many banks and credit unions dedicated to helping our community get educated about financial health, and even more resources for our children (shout out to Members 1st). All we have to do is ask.

For more from this single parent, check out her blog at www.singleparentsproject.com. She’s still on that Dear Diary kick.

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