Monday, November 17, 2008

Suddenly I Feel A Lot Poorer Than I Did Ten Minutes Ago.

OK, so what are Mondays for but neglecting chores (or, for you office drones, whatever kind of work you do at your job) in favor of surfing the Internet for interesting reading? I found some (more) for you.

First, a poignant essay in the December issue of O Magazine, which will make you tear up a little bit in that Catherine-Newman-is-the-best-writer-ever-and-every-single-thing-she-ever-writes-about-children-and-parenting-is-sweet-and-fantastic sort of way. Seriously, I cried reading this. Don't even get me started talking about it. That line about "Birdy was born in the old house"? That part about moving away from babies in the house, babies on the way, babies in the future? Argh! Kill me now. My heart is broken. I can't stand it. But it's so beautiful. Go read it.

And then, on a less-lovely note, an interesting feature over at, about three different families coping with the current economic crisis. What I found so fascinating about this peek into the daily lives of these other families was the way Babble categorized them: the magazine picked one family from each economic class (low income, middle income, high income), and called the family with an annual income of $65,000 "low income," the family earning $100,000/year "middle income," and the family with a yearly income of over $300,000 as "high income." Do these categories line up with how you define low, middle, and upper class? Our household struggles to support the four of us on one modest academic salary, but I would have at least called us "lower middle class" before reading this. Wow, we're poorer than I thought!

Kidding, folks. It is what it is. But I really would be interested to hear what you all think about these stories, if and when you read any of the articles I've linked to today (see the New Yorker link in my post below, too, if you haven't already).


Mnmom said...

Then we are completely trailer trash - just as I suspected!

Shan said...

Ha! Love you, MNMom. (See you tomorrow!) :)

Question said...

A friend and I were just talking about this topic. She has four kids - two in FT day care and 2 in after school day care (4 days a week). Her and her husband make $100K between them. She was telling me that she felt like they were lower-middle class. I knew that the charts would say that they weren't, but, of course, the charts don't take into consideration things like where you live and day care. Of course she feels like lower-middle class when they live in a bigger city (here) and lots of their income is going to pay for day care. So, I don't place a lot of value in the charts and I think they can make people feel (often unjustifiably) either depressed or smug about their income.

Anonymous said...

Color me depressed, then. Ooof. I just hunted for official federal guidelines for the middle class and such, but learned that there are no such things - only poverty. Jeebus.

donna said...

I would have to agree with Question that it does depend on the cost of living in your city/town. I live in a place with a very high cost of living and it can be depressing. The cost of our gas just dropped to below $3/gallon (as in $2.99/gallon) and I pay $6/gallon for store-brand milk on sale. Don't even ask how much I pay for childcare.