Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why do we do these things?

Today was a "why me?" kind of day, which is especially ridiculous when my problems only involved feeling a bit overwhelmed by work, children who won't sleep, and expensive and frustrating pool repairs, yet in the last 24 hours one friend of mine has had a stroke she may not recover from, another started chemo, and a colleague who runs the largest and longest-running event similar to mine stepped down in disgust after malicious rumors started circulating about him being a Nazi. So, yeah. I actually had a pretty good day, relatively speaking. 

Still I had a moment of zen today, thinking first about being a homeowner, then about being a parent. After I had a pool repair guy back to the house for a third time today ($500 and counting) to fix the issue of the pool overflowing and wasting hundreds of gallons of water which has been ongoing on and off for years, he told me "that's pools for ya," meaning, endless repairs. I have probably sunk $20,000 into this thing in maintenance and repairs over a ten year period. Then I started thinking about the probably $100,000 I've spent over thirteen years in home improvements and maintenance of this house, not to mention an additional $100,000 squandered in home equity I now have to spend my life paying back after an ill-fated attempt at real estate investing. Which kind of brings me to the point - is it worth it? Is it worth it to be a homeowner, when I'd be a lot better off financially if I'd just lived in a rental all this time? The tax credits I've gotten over the years couldn't possibly add up to the debt I've incurred. So why do it?

Because I would never have been satisfied if I hadn't. Because I would have spent my life saving up for a down payment, sacrificed everything to make it happen. Because being in my 40s and living in some marginal 1 bedroom apartment would not have been ok with me. 

The same issue comes up about the kids, and how expensive they are, and how much better off I'd be - maybe even happier, more well rested for sure - if I were just on my own. But I never would have been satisfied with that. I just wouldn't have stopped until I had two kids. Why? Who knows? Do I regret it? Of course not, never. I love that I conjured these two beings. My bank account doesn't, but I do.

Would I rather be 42 and childless in a low-maintenance small apartment with a nice fat 401K? No. So there it is.

Still there was a moment today that gave me a real feeling of pride and satisfaction with my lot, sleepless nights and stress be damned.

Today the pool repair guy's wife, a woman who spoke little English, asked as best she could if the father of the boys had "left". I wasn't comfortable talking about this with her (mainly because of the graphic image of a bleeding Christ pulling a cross as part of their business logo on their truck), but she forced my hand, so I said no, I used a sperm donor.

I held up my beautiful second-born baby boy like a plate of cupcakes and with a big smile, said, "I made them myself!"


  1. I love that: I made them myself. Must store for future use.

    In all seriousness, I knew an SMC a long time ago who sold her house in order to have $$ to try for number 2 (different housing market!) and was very happy with that decision to return to rental living. I think about that from time to time as well...

  2. I, too, love that line, "I made them myself!"

  3. What a perfect way to put it!! :)

  4. You're so right, this phase of motherhood is so hard, but you wouldn't have been happy with the alternative & you will have that time for your self again when your boys are grown.