Despite a couple of decades out of the education system, I seem to be very susceptible to the new term, new year, new start, ethos.
This, unfortunately, has led to a good hard look at the finances.
I am a child of the “70s brought up in a very frugal household. Credit was frowned on, saving and second hand the order of the day.
My lovely man, however, was never taught the joys of delayed gratification and is under the impression that not owning every single power in existence, is a sign of searing poverty.
We have managed to jog along with these vastly different spending styles for over twenty years of marriage.
Imagine my surprise, dear reader, when I started looking at our accounts.
When I was growing up, my parents had very little. Coming from an Anglo-Indian background, with servants, my dad seemed extraordinarily frugal.
It was only later I found out that gambling debts run up by my Grandad had led to several moonlight flits from properties.
Dad decided such things wouldn’t happen on his watch, and kept a tight rein on the already meagre finances. Mum was brought up in a council house, with war as the background. She had three siblings and a dad who worked on the railways. Living on a budget was a way of life.
During the summer, we spent a lot of time in Wales. On a packed Llandudno beach I found myself with a small Pearl in leg plasters. For ten minutes, we attracted some glances on the beach.
Pearl was rolling around on the sand shrieking with happiness. wearing two bright orange casts so it was understandable, possibly even forgivable.
Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the mood changed. Shrieks of joy changed to screams of pain? Anger? Frustration? I was not at all sure. Pearl had entered full meltdown mode.
It is quite difficult to indicate yes/no when you are screaming at full lung capacity with tears streaming down your face (Pearl not me, but it was becoming a close thing).
The wheelchair was out of reach, the child was inconsolable, and small dog Herb, attached to the wheelchair started crying too.
Having tried everything, I stood up and picked up a reluctant, loud, and heavy ten- year- old. Carrying her across the beach.
I am not exaggerating to say that every person on the sand was watching us. And on the prom. And the pier. It was as though the whole of North Wales froze, hushed and turned to follow our progress.
Five minutes later, walking with child in chair and dog in tow I felt my emotions re-engage.
If I don’t, I would go up and down with every emotion riddled situation that batters our family daily, I would need more than coffee and antidepressants to get by, and the family would lose out.
I have learnt to flick off the emotion switch temporarily, in extremis.
This works, but risks me feeling like an identity less husk.
In order to reassert myself I spend money on how I look to tell the world “This is me! I am not just a Carer, I am me, a person! I care about how I look, what I wear! Me! Myself! I!"
Oh, and if you think this is a long, complicated justification of my overspending to Mr. Power Tool…I couldn’t possibly comment.
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