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ampersand: money matters
thursday, february 13, 2003

obsession is a strong word, one that brings to mind stalkers and compulsive behaviors. it's hard to see myself as obsessive. i get hooked on certain things for periods of time, i'm addicted to sugar, and i can get pushy in the midst of my excitement about something, but i don't really perceive myself as obsessive. at least not in the sense of the dictionary definition of "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling." i can get mildly so when i lose friends and brood over that loss, over what went wrong, or wonder how they are, but i'm not sure it falls into the extremes i think of for obsession.

there is, however, a second meaning that i know i fall into: compelling motivation.

i have four wonderful kids that are my responsibility and making sure they have what they need is definitely my obsession. when it comes to caring for your kids, money matter.

when my ex and i split up, he had had control over the finances for the last 4 or 5 months of our marriage. prior to that, i managed the money. i don't know if it was because of encouragement by his mother or because he suddenly felt a need to get involved with the finances (my personal opinion is the former), but he began to pay attention to what i paid and when and then began to tell me what to pay and what not to pay. in pure frustration i handed the whole mess over to him. bad idea. by the time he and i split, we were 3 months behind on every single utility that we had. it wasn't that we didn't have the money to pay, it's that he chose to use the money for other things. what those things were, i honestly cannot remember. do remember having to convince the companies to work with me. the last check they had was signed by me, so as far as most of them were concerned, it was my fault that the utilities had not been paid. i eventually got payment plans from most of them, and at least one of them closed down the old account and gave me a new one. they sent him the bills for the old one.

the welfare of my children was threatened.

since then, i have to admit, i've become obsessive about handling the money. i make sure the rent is paid, the utilities have their payments, and there's money for food. only then does saxy get to touch anything for "luxuries." if there's an immediate need that dad can't cover for one of the kids, that pushes the luxuries even further down the line. i make sure the needs are covered. i won't risk my kids by letting anyone else do it. for them, money matters, and they are my compelling motivation to make sure the basics are covered every month. they make me obsessive about it.

i am very fortunate saxy understands this (not that it would make a difference if he didn't) and acknowledges he's not very good with money (again, not that it would make a difference if he didn't). the truth is, never again will i leave the basic needs of my children in someone else's hands, but it is nice to have his support anyway. the bottom line is that they are my responsibility and i failed them as much as their father when i let him take over the finances and put them at risk that way. i will not let that happen again.

if that's obsessive, then so be it.

site of the moment:
ring/clique of the moment:
word of the moment: compel

to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure


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