Thursday, May 10, 2012

Upper-Lower Class

This one has been rolling around in my brain for awhile now. On the internets all I can find is something about white trash... which is not quite what I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of people like me, who on the outside might appear to be middle class but if you looked at my actual income/expenses/debt you would think otherwise. I'm not below poverty level, but hovering above it.

I don't mean to offend anyone but here I go anyways.

I think a lot of the mommy bloggers here on the web are if not wealthy then at least middle class. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just think that the perspective of those with limited or low income is not very well represented in this sphere. When I read discussions of many issues that new moms and moms in general have, they are often skewed in the general direction of money is not an object. I guess the presumption here (which can be true, don't get me wrong) is that people who don't have much money/low income are consumed with thinking about meeting their basic needs and don't have the time/energy/resources to think about broader social issues. Like a Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs type thingie.

"Baby should sleep in his/her own room, in his/her own bed." Do we see the expectation here? What if you live in a 1-bedroom (like we did until our son was about 6 months old)? What if you can't afford to drop $100 or $200 for a nice, safe crib?

Honestly I don't know how we would have gotten by if we'd had to buy formula. Luckily I was able to breastfeed and fulfill my son's needs that way for quite a while (also he was late with starting to really eat solids). Breastfeeding is free (except for the EXTRA gobs of food you need to eat in order to avoid growly belly at 3am after your child has been nursing every hour since you both went to bed at 9pm and dinner was early at 6pm... but I digress)

There are many who probably judge me thinking, well if you couldn't afford to take care of yourself, then you went ahead and had a kid, whose fault is that? I'm not blaming anyone. I don't think it's right however to say that unless you are middle class and financially "comfortable" that you are not allowed to have children!

I don't necessarily feel comfortable representing any type of class or population of people. But I also feel like my situation does not fit in either lower or middle class. My and my husband's annual gross income might put us into the middle class, but when you subtract out all of our expenses and our debt, and if you take out taxes (which you should when you're analyzing cost of living/applications for assistance, etc. You never see your gross income, you see your net, that is your REAL income, the actual money that you get in your bank account that you can spend) then we're looking not so great. Like "how exactly are these people getting by?" Which we are, but barely.

I'm sure I have more to say on this subject but my break is over so back to the grind.

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