Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mundane Monday McBlog #2

I was in the middle of my Monday's post when I got called to see if I would go in early again, today. Since my sons were both home from work (one was off and the other sick) I decided to go ahead and leave the baby with them and I went in early. So here's my now-finished Monday blog.

So, it's another mundane Monday. I am trying to lay low and help my legs get back to normal size. The baby arrived sleeping and his uncles are both staying home today from work, so I was able to sleep in a little and that helped. Jeren was up half the night throwing up. David is not sick, but just having a day off after working extra yesterday.

My house is a total wreck, my routines are all cranked around the wrong way and I just wonder if life will ever return to "normal" for me.

I remember the days when everything was sooooooooooo organized and things were always clean and dusted and put where they belonged.

Why was it so much easier to keep up with things when the kids were young? You would think it would be easier now. I don't know how moms with young ones and working an outside job ever have a clean house. When I was a stay-at-home mom it was easy. I was home all day. The ones who were in school were gone and the ones who were not in school had routines. I usually found myself taking care of other children and routines were something I depended upon to be able to accomplish all I wanted to do. I had breakfast time, play time, lunch time, nap time and then the older kids were home. We had homework time, dinner time and then play or relax until bed time time. It was a wonderful life and I still miss it a lot sometimes.

Once I became a working mom things changed, but since I was working in the same school district as my children attended, it wasn't that bad. You get a lot of time off when you work for the school system and things could still be accomplished. It was fairly easy to keep up with both the house and the yard.
Then I decided to go fulltime at a "real" job and from then on it seems things have been chaotic. Between working fulltime retail management, which is like full time and a half, and the kids being home alone (teens or young adults) and then kids moving back home and moving out and moving back.....on and on, it became impossible to have even a small resemblance to a routine. I would get a routine going and then someone would move out and someone would move back in and it was a never-ending circle.
Finally things seem to have stabilized. I'm working full time, but no longer retail management. My job is easy and doesn't come home with me. David and Jeren live here with me and finally things seem to have come to a place where we are all comfortable and doing well. We've worked out the kinks in the relationships and have a nice roommate situation. It took some work to get to this, though.
They were paying a little bit toward the cost, but while they were having spending money each and every payday, I was struggling to meet the expenses. I started taking a realistic picture of what it was really costing me to have them here. I like having them here, but since they are both working "adults" I realized I should not be supporting them anymore. I helped out all of my other kids that stayed here. They paid a little bit to cover the costs of utilities and such and I was happy with that, but things were way more affordable then. The cost of gas has driven even the simple things up in price and when I really sat down and looked at it....it's a wonder anyone can afford even a simple life style. It was hard to realize that I was still carrying most of the boys's expenses and they needed to step up to the plate and start carrying their own weight.

I talked to David about it first. He is 24 and always paid more then Jeren because he had lived out on his own and knew what a deal he was getting. Jeren has never moved away from home. He just became an "adult" last spring. David and I took the bills and averaged them and divided them all by three and came up with a figure that was fair to all of us. We decided to give it to the end of the year and in January the rent for them would go up to reflect 1/3 of the actual cost of running our home plus a fair amount for gas while I am still driving them each to work. David and I each talked separately to Jeren about it. David was able to present things to Jeren as an older brother and also as someone who had lived out on his own and knew the costs of renting.

I used to buy all the groceries, figuring it was covered by what they paid. haha. It's nice to live with your head in a hole, but not realistic. David pointed out to me that I was still covering all the groceries, plus shampoos, soaps, laundry products, cleaning products, etc. In November I stopped buying groceries. We had made an earlier agreement to take turns and David pointed out that Jeren had never achieved his turn. Jeren was good at excuses, yet he had bought himself a Wii and put almost 800 dollars into accessories and games. I can eat free at work and David said he would fend for himself. He and I were done buying groceries for Jeren. haha. Pretty soon all our reserves were depleted. Jeren came to me and said, "Mom, we are out of peanut butter." I said, "Jeren, I don't eat peanut butter."
You have to understand that this is a child who lives for peanut butter. When he was little he would cry if it came to bedtime and he realized he had not had his "lunchtoast" which is what he called peanut butter and jam sandwiches. (I don't know why he called them that. It started when he was around two.) He has had at least one peanut butter sandwich daily for most of his life. The only time he doesn't eat a daily pb&j is if we are out of peanut butter.

A couple of weeks later, I went and bought myself some groceries. I bought veggies, salad stuff, and some skim milk. Jeren came to me and said, "Mom, you accidentally bought skim milk. No one is going to drink that." I said, "Jeren I bought skim milk because I like skim milk and since I can buy just for myself, now, I am buying what I like." Within a week my skim milk was gone and I only had consumed two glasses. (did I mention that we are milk-a-holics at our house?). haha. I didn't really care that the milk got used, because I drink milk at work and tend to forget to drink it at home. The whole point was still in getting Jeren to realize that he needed to keep his end of the bargain and chip in for groceries. The next thing he mentioned was the ketchup. "Mom, we are out of ketchup." To which I replied, "Jeren, I don't use ketchup." He and his friend went to McDonalds several times and each time loaded up on ketchup. haha What a guy!

Things were pretty scarce around here. It was nearly the middle of January and I still hadn't bought any groceries except that one time when I bought myself veggies and greens. David was carefully buying things to prepare for himself, but nothing extra. There were none of our mainstays in the house. No cheese, milk, eggs, tuna, hamburger, bread, tortillas, broccoli, peanut butter...the list goes on. The cupboards were bare. It was difficult for me to not go fill them up, but I held to my guns. Finally one night Jeren realized that there was simply nothing to eat here. He was complaining to David, his friends, my mom and anyone else that would listen. David finally told him that he needed to step up to the plate and uphold his end of the bargain. We all needed to be chipping in for the things we all use and then if there were things that we wanted specifically for ourselves we would each get our own.

Jeren finally went grocery shopping and he did a great job. There is a place near us where we can get ground beef at a great price if we buy over ten pounds. If we each take turns using less than 20 dollars we can always have that on hand. When hot dogs go on sale for ten for ten....we can each take 10 dollars and have 30 packs of hot dogs in the freezer which lasts forever! I told them we should each take ten dollars a payday and each of us buy a different ten for ten item. Then we can have things stocked up and if we each take one payday a month and be the one to fill in the extra stuff, we will always have stuff to fix. The boys buy their own junk food and I buy my own health food items. It's finally starting to work and Jeren finally got the picture. He just had to get over that "mom lives here" thinking. It's hard to make that transition from being the child to being a roommate.

Even just this first month of them paying the new amount of rent and with all of us chipping in together to buy groceries it has made quite a difference. Jeren bought his own shampoo and soap and he bought me some things, too. I finally feel as if I can have some spending money, too, that I can actually spend on me. I have been wanting to try a pedicure and some things like that and just couldn't afford them. I want to buy things for my grandkids sometimes. I want to even be able to take the boys out to dinner once in awhile. I finally see the changes coming. Things are starting to get more organized and I'm finishing projects.

I'm returning to lists to help me out. I'm exercising more and hoping that it will give me more energy and strength. I can't wait to get out in the yard and start the physical work of getting my gardens started. Jeren and I plan on building a gazebo-like structure for around the fire pit. David is going to help me with a couple of the garage projects and the yard. Most of all I am excited for the changes I see coming and enjoying the ones I've already made. It's weird expecting 'rent' from your kids at first, but it's realistic to realize that you can't support them all their lives. I think we will have a great roommate relationship. It's starting out well, already.


Christine said...

This story sound so familiar. I wonder where I have heard it before. LOL! It sure is hard when the kids move in and out. I don't know how many times our place has turned into a storage facility. It sure does mess with the routines too. I loved your grocery solution.

The Invisible Mo said...

Thanks! Yes, it is hard when they move in and out. I think all I have left now is the moving out of these last couple of boys. Actually it may be me that moves out. My son-in-law is determined to have me come live with them eventually. He wants to build me a little place on their property. So, who knows? LOL