Do You Pay Yourself?


     I wrote this letter to my husband, Coffeeguy, and it occurred to me that it might be helpful to share it.   Coffeeguy is a crossdresser, who is new to wearing makeup, and so naturally he needs to build up a supply of makeup as women tend to do over the years.  I had bought him some cheap makeup--because I always end up buying cheap makeup...but when I went to put it away, I realized that he had some really nice makeup already.  (Disclaimer:  by "really nice" I mean Revlon & Maybelline as opposed to Dollar Store.)  I became really upset, not really knowing why, and it took me a good couple of days before I realized I had been blaming him for something he didn't even know about.
      I have been doing the grocery shopping for a year now.  Since we are down to only his salary ("they" still don't pay you for being a Mom), I work hard at budgeting our money.  I drive two towns over because they have a Market Basket.  Every single store trip, I pick up pretty things I like.  I carry them around the store with me.  I even imagine that THIS time I'll buy them.  But inevitably, I think that I need the money I would have spent on the things I want for extra snacks for the kids, or a treat for them from the frozen food aisle.  The pretty makeup I pick up gets ogled almost every shopping trip, but never ever makes it home.  But Coffeeguy doesn't know that.  
Here was my letter:
"I don't know why this is bothering me so much.  But I realized that maybe you just don't KNOW what my shopping trips are like, because I go alone.  I choose to go alone, and why would I tell you that every few feet I pick up something I would like, only to put it away again when I come across something the kids need or we need for the house.  
Wednesday we went to Walmart and you put a tank top in the cart.  I know I lost your yellow one (it has to be here somewhere, unless it's a magic Houdini tank, which I'm beginning to believe.) But I lost it, so I told myself that even though that $5 tank was the same one I had put back (though not in white) a week ago, I lost your magic Houdini shirt, so you should get that one.  
Yesterday I was cleaning up, and came across the dollar store makeup I had bought--one for you and one for me.  One for me because the only makeup I can afford is dollar store makeup, or clearance after Christmas makeup.  I often see the pretty colors and liners and thickening mascaras in Rite Aid or at Shaw's...sometimes I even put them in my basket.  But by the time I make it to the counter, they have made it back onto a shelf somewhere, because I can't justify $7-$9 for makeup.  
So when I went to put your makeup in the little black bag, and I saw the pretty Revlon and Maybelline eyeshadow and mascara I was taken aback.  Well, first I was super super angry.  I had to think about that for a long time yesterday, because I thought, God, do I have a problem with you cross-dressing and just don't want to admit it?? Because I have never felt so angry about a package of Calvin Klein MEN'S T-shirts...but the "girl things" were making me SO MAD.  I literally shook with it.
Then I realized it wasn't that you were buying girl things, it was that I couldn't buy girl things.  I have been the shopper for almost a year, maybe longer, and every shopping trip ended with me putting all those things you are grabbing back on the shelf.
That's not your fault, but I thought you need to know.  
      I put back the brand of shampoo I like, because it has gone up to $4, and I put back the pretty makeup, because $7 could buy exactly 2 cans of tomato sauce, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and 2 cans of kidney/pinto beans so we have the makings for chili and sauce.  Those are examples, but pretty much every shopping trip I go on has something like that.  
Maybe because I don't get paid I didn't feel like I earned my own money to buy those things.  I considered every dollar taken.  There are times where the kids have more "free money" than I do.   I thought I was ok with that, but I think after seeing the makeup that I'm not.  
So.  Solutions?"
     We decided to go over our budget again, and I realized that I pay each of my children $5 per week for their one chore per day.  I cook, clean, do laundry, do the grocery shopping, change diapers, make the baby food, help with homework, buy the school supplies, and provide quality education for all three children (Camp Awesome, hellllooo.)  But I pay myself nothing.  Now, our budget doesn't allow for much.  There are weeks we "borrow from Peter to pay Paul."  But even $5 every week is $5 more than I have now, and after 2 weeks I could potentially buy one of those pretty lip stains that keep getting put back on the shelf.  We agreed to start there, and re-negotiate if that doesn't break the bank!  I feel excited at the prospect of it, my new "pay raise"!
     Do you "pay yourself"?  Or do consider every dollar taken, like I did? I'm a 40 something year old with two tweens and a new baby. This is my effort to keep my sanity after leaving the workforce, taking up breastfeeding, and managing the kids. I'm mostly failing at it.



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