A Mother’s Take on #OccupyWallstreet

14 Oct

I will admit; I am probably not as educated on this as I should be. Yes, I have read a smattering of Time, Newsweek and other newspapers articles on this if I see them tweeted or someone sends it to me. Yes, I have perused picture galleries filled with hundreds of protestors aligned together with clever signs and purpose. Some of my closest friends spend days participating and organizing #OccupyChicago. I should know more. I should. But I don’t.

What I do know is what I see in my own life. What I do know is that I grew up in one of the most affluent suburbs of Chicago, although my parent’s debt always outweighed the perception of wealth that we had. I grew up seeing what the 1% had, and wanting it. I moved to Minnesota for college and the difference in class was striking to me. My parent’s two bedroom condo could buy me acres in Minnesota.

As I graduated college, having paid out of state tuition, I was left with insurmountable student loan debt. And I had grants; I had a full year paid. Yet still I was carrying $44,923.17 to be paid off over the course of my life.

I got pregnant straight out of college. It wasn’t intentional and while I did debate my right to choose what to do I decided to keep the little baby that was to become Bear. Perhaps, if I hadn’t made that choice I would have been in a better position financially. While my friends got out of college, traveled the world, lived in their parent’s houses, found jobs and saved money I had to immediately start paying for and caring for a child.

My hospital bills for Bear were more than we could bear. It took us a full year to pay them off. While I was pregnant with Bella two years ago I got a second job that I worked in addition to my full time job in order to be able to pay for the impending debt. A few weeks into my pregnancy I started bleeding. In the midst of crying in the bathroom, I told the H I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I was afraid of the cost. And it did cost. It cost me to wait in an ER for hours with a three year old boy while I was examined and poked and prodded and had an internal sonogram to tell me that no one I was in fact not miscarrying my second child.

We bought our house before the market crashed. My house is now worth $40,000 less than I paid for it. My mortgage payment while fixed is higher than it was three years ago because the property taxes have gone up and I didn’t have enough in escrow to cover it so it was added to my payment.

When the H took a new job in his company this past September it allowed him to actually like his job, and placed him on a path for much more career growth than if he had stayed in his previous position. But it costs me $400 a month for him to go to his new job. His schedule change and we had to send the kids to an extra day in daycare. My daycare bill is more than my mortgage.

Yes, I could send my children to an in home facility. I could pay less. But I want them to have the best that they can, and they do. I never feel amount of hesitation dropping them off at school because I know they are probably getting more from there than they even would at home with me.

I could give you numbers. Of the balance on my credit cards, the amount in my checking account, the red number that appears when you subtract our income from our expenses. But you don’t need them. You can probably look at your own account.

There are people, not many, that have more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime. That have things they will never use or never needed. That have a wealth that rivals the kings. There are people that will leave all their assets to their dogs before a dime sees the hands of a well deserving charity.  There are many people, that have much much less than I do.

Fundamentally, there shouldn’t be this immense discrepancy. My kids should be able to go to the doctor when they are sick and not stay home because I don’t want to pay the co-pay. I deserve to go to the hospital to be reassured that I’m not having a miscarriage. I deserve the education that I got. My kids deserve to go to a place every day where they are cared for and taught by loving people.  My family deserves to eat, to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Every family does.

Which is why this mom stands with the 99%.

8 Responses to “A Mother’s Take on #OccupyWallstreet”

  1. Teresa Veramendi October 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I’m glad you’re with us! We are fighting for you.

  2. Brie L October 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I pretty much agree with you across the board. I also do not have a complete grasp on the Occupy Wall Street/Philly/Chicago/insert your town here protests. I too have watched the news reports and read a few articles, but I know I should know more. But I also watched my husband search for a nursing job for nearly two years after he graduated, all the while working 50-60 hours a week at Papa Johns to suppport our family, which included an infant PJ. He played by all the rules and was somehow still left out in the cold. We are still clawing our way out of the HUGE hole we were left in, and know we still have a ways to go. The huge rift in the haves and have-nots has become a huge…I don’t know. Something bigger then a rift! You said it all way better then I could, LOL!! LOL!!

    Also, I don’t know how you stunbled upon my blog, but your encouragemt and sweet comments have meant so much and I am so glad you found me! Thank you!!!

    • M October 18, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Thank you!

      I have no idea how exactly I did either, but at some point I added you to my google reader and I kept reading! =)

  3. Deborah the Closet Monster October 15, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    When I posted Dead Moms Can’t Care a few months back, I know I would’ve counted myself among the 99%. The feeling would have been a loose and fleeting affiliation.

    After posting it and seeing all the comments of others’ like experiences, a loose affiliation become a much stronger one, so that when I cheered and forwarded when I read Elizabeth Warren’s words about how the really wealthy got there:
    You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

    Amen to that, and to the Abigail Disneys and Warren Buffetts who actually understand how all that wealth was built.

    • M October 18, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      I completely agree with you, and her. But slowly, I think its happening, I think people are realizing it AND trying to do something about it.

  4. Polish Mama on the Prairie October 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Marta, plakalam! This was beautiful. This was true. This was everything. I must share this.

    • M October 18, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Thank you Kasia. Really, it means a lot to me and thank you for sharing it.


  1. Insatiable « Lost and Forgotten - November 4, 2011

    […] of course money too. I posted about my take on Occupy Wall Street, but I didn’t get into the details. I try not think […]

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