As I stated, I came home from my vacation more determined to make my life my own.
Little changes that I’ve been thinking about that I haven’t put into action need to be addressed.
Louie, for one.
I try to give her freedom. I try to give her the opportunity to stand on her own two feet and learn from her mistakes. But, how much am I actually doing that for her?
I pay her bills, put gas in her car, cover her tuition, give her spending money, tell her which jobs to apply for, etc.
Hell, when I was her age I was living on my own. I was in the Army and falling flat on my face. I wasn’t making the best decisions but I was learning.
I’m going to tell her that it’s time to grow up.
My lease is up in November. I dread the notion of moving, but I think I can save a lot more money if I do. A smaller place in a smaller town. Closer to school.
She has an interview today at a Pet Supply store. They pay decent money and it’s close to her school. So hopefully, she can do and say all the right things and land the job.
I’ve already told her that I’m going to drop her from my insurance in October. I’ve given her time to research different policies and find one that she can afford, or at the very least, find one that she is comfortable paying.
I think I’m going to explain to her that when I move in November, she needs to plan on either finding her own place or paying me rent.
I know that may sound horrible and selfish. It’s really not. I need to know that when I move to Illinois that she’ll be ok. I’d rather toss her in the pool than throw her in the ocean. After all, it’ll be easier for me to help her when I’m a few miles away rather than when I’m halfway across the country.
I’ll continue to pay for her school expenses. Continue to cover her cell phone bill. But, between now and then, I need to start making her take more responsibility.
Before I left for my trip I gave her $100 to buy groceries. I told her, “don’t get junk. Buy real food that will last for the next two weeks.”
When I shop, I spend about $75 every two weeks. I get the things we need and I typically can spread that out and make several trips to get my fresh vegetables and fruits.
I came home to discover she had spent the money on…. Junk.
Ramen noodles, soda, cookies, instant pasta, chips.
Needless to say, I was more than a little pissed.
I informed her last night that if she gets this job, groceries will now be her responsibility. Maybe if she’s having to spend the bulk of her check on our food, she’ll learn to make better choices.
I feel a bit guilty. But, I know in the long run it will help her to be able to take care of herself when I leave.
Other changes I’m making?
Cut back on the areas that I find myself going, “oh yeah. I do have that bill each month.”
Little reoccurring charges that I don’t use. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, the gym.
Each month I look at my credit card statement and see these charges that go towards luxury items that only Louie uses. I haven’t been to the gym in a few months because it’s easier for me to use the fitness center at school, which is free. (I’ll keep the Amazon, simply because I order text books from them and I found out that as a student, I get a 50% discount)
My finances are easy to manage, even with the expenses I have. But, I want more. More independence for me and for Louie.
What made me decide all of this needs to be implemented today?
I don’t want her to fall and not have me there to catch her.
She’s almost 20. Still a child in many ways, but an adult in those that matter most and could impact her life.
She has to do her own taxes now. She is responsible for her own credit card bill. If she does something foolish, she’s the one that has to face the legal ramifications.
I’ve watched friends of mine go straight from the nest to the big scary world with no preparation.
Jared decided to go to school in Alaska. He’d never been on his own before. He was thousands of miles from home and surrounded by new people and situations. Within 6 weeks he found himself sitting in a Juno jail facing charges of DUI. His parents too far away to fix things. Still to this day that conviction haunts him.
I had the Army to guide me. Tell me how to act, what to wear, what to say, where to live, how to manage my money. I was spared the indignities that living on my own without guidance can cause.
I don’t want Louie to find herself in a situation where she hasn’t been prepared to face life, realistically.
So, that’s where I’m starting at today.
Sitting my little girl down and explaining that she is now going to have to grow up. She is going to have to do it while I’m close enough to pick her up and dust her off when she makes mistakes.
That may make me an asshole, but I want her to be strong enough to survive on her own.