it's the little things that are said that make me not want to talk about money.
people will be talking about doing their nursery really cute, because "a baby HAS to have a nursery" or upgrading to a new house so that each of their kids can have their own room, because "kids NEED their own space."
or someone will be talking about their maternity leave and saying "why would anyone EVER go back to work before 3 months?"
it's all these "have to/never/must" terms that TEACH ME that my lifestyle is seen as unacceptable - at least by my peers.
i could go on & on with the examples, but i hear it all day long. my whole life i have tended to be a lower-middle-class kid who was surrounded by middle & upper-middle class (some downright wealthy) peers, i have ALWAYS felt the scrutiny and confusion others have towards the way i live.
"why don't you just . . . ?" as if "just" doing something is so simple. "just put it on your credit card." "just get a loan." "just dip into your savings."
at some point, though, i had to realllllly examine what was most important to me, and whether or not i felt like american standards of lifestyle held water. there are many people who would look at my family & consider us poor, from our lack of certain resources to where we live to the condition of our car to countless other things. but i have come to the belief that these trappings do not hold some magic happy ending or satisfaction. i enjoy my life. even as "poor" as i am, i live a luxurious lifestyle compared to most in the world. i have access to LOTS of resources. i have an able body & mind. i have good health coverage. i have a job. i have a roof over my head that has working heat & cool air. good plumbing. a washer & dryer that takes quarters but is right outside my backdoor. my car isn't pretty but it runs. i have money for the gas in it. i even (finally) have money to insure it. i have enough money to feed my family and enough to splurge every once in a while on eating out, treats, inexpensive trips to see family, a few birthday & christmas presents and hobbies.
i make use of the free resources around me like the zoo and the library and the forest preserve and the lake and if someone wants to look down on me because i plan my visits to museums on free days, or can't go because i don't have the gas to get into the city & don't have enough for the bus, then so be it.
i live a full life and i am working hard to come to terms with the fact that it isn't the american dream. i am working to examine the american dream and its FALSE promises of happiness and satisfaction.