The Rat Race

I feel like a smelly old hamster running in circles on a rickety wheel in a small plastic cage with airholes at the top, in some ten-year old’s bedroom. This isn’t because I’m smelly or I’m hairy, of which I am neither, but simply because of the life that most of us live here in the good ol’ US of A. 

There is always a to-do list that never ends and a bunch of goals in front of me that require what feels like mountains to leap simply to accomplish. 

Making your survival in today’s day and age is no freaking joke. I got myself an education because it was both a necessity and a personal life goal. Not graduating college was just unacceptable to me and so I set off with the goal of educating myself only to find that 80% of these jobs do not want to pay you enough in order to cover the costs of childcare/student loans/and a mortgage. It feels like a death sentence ( I know that sounds dramatic, but it does feel like a trap) to have worked so hard to get a very respectable and enviable education only to find yourself gasping when you see job postings that offer you somewhere between 10-15 an hour or 25-30,000 a year to start.  Who lives on that, and what was the point of educating yourself if employers simply don’t want to pay you? Not that I am expecting 60 or 50 K to start, but raising a kid is expensive. If you are a stay-at home-mom, you can basically appease yourself by realizing that in New Jersey, the cost of sending your kid to a daycare is anywhere from 850-1350 a month for one kid. I’ve known places that charge 800 and others 1300. That is the rate for an infant. So, do the math. If you’re at home, you are technically earning or saving your family anywhere from 10k- 16,500 for one year of care. Even sadder? Your daycare teacher is earning anywhere from 8- 12 dollars an hour. Remember that when you get pissed at her for forgetting something!

We work so hard for our homes and lives, that we don’t even realize that all we are working for is to survive, or if you’re like many people, working to keep up with the Jonses. How can you afford that big Disney Cruise? That spalshy car? The home? But for so many of us it is simply, how can I pay my mortgage? My medical costs?

Really, life here is certainly not hell one earth, but it is no paradise. I’ve been spending quite a few hours job hunting almost daily only to be severely disappointed. When will it get better? 

The sad reality is my generation is coming around to that haunting conclusion (unless you are in the medical field/ technical field/public service or a tenured teacher—and thank god you have those jobs even if they are taking your benefits!!) that what our parents had is not what we will have or what we have. That in some ways although not all of course, our parents had it better. They could buy a sizable house with space and privacy without going broke. Parents who wanted to be home with their kids could be. Parents who had to work could count on more affordable care—in some, not all aspects. And people could ask teenagers to babysit for a night. 

Life has its pluses now as compared to then, but it has its downsides.

I just want off the wheel. It feels like either I am trying to be a good worker or a great mother or everything, plus get ahead and have the space/place/privacy. The Vacation.. Everything basically. It is a lot on our shoulders as a generation of people, as parents.