Home > budget, motherhood > Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon

Did I mention that I got a part-time job thing?

It’s a freelance writing gig and before you say “well, at least it’s writing,” let me assure you that to sell out any further I’d need to take off my clothes in Times Square.

You know when you open up some dinky local paper and there’s a “column” running in the ads that is supposed to look like content but is clearly an ad? Something like, “The Pros and Cons of refinishing your hardwood floor”? Then the very last paragraph, it says, “If you would like your floors refinished, the helpful folks at Smith Cabinetry have just the skills you need. Our skilled technicians…. blah blah blah”.

I write the last paragraph. Not the column, just those last four lines that shill for some local company. I write one master paragraph, then do a mail merge on all of the umpteen clients, then tweak each paragraph for the clients. Some want all caps, some want bold, some want me to emphasize their fantastic delivery service, whatever. I do this for five different categories now and many dozens of clients. Like I said, it’s sell-out writing at it’s worst. But I can do it at night and on weekends, so it doesn’t interfere with being a mom and I can crank that crap out in my sleep.

However, I get paid $6.50 a client. $7.50 if the column topic is so wacky that it doesn’t match the client’s needs and I have to write a totally new one.

I know it’s a crappy little job. And the paycheck — right around $75 a week so far, but I’m picking up new clients regularly — is a crappy little paycheck. But I hadn’t realized until I started getting that crappy little paycheck that I’d missed earning money.

Mostly it’s a purely practical thing. That paycheck helps — offers a little breathing room as gas hits $4/gal and milk is twice that. (You would not believe the amount of milk that The Child consumes! But I figure she’s so tall that I need to keep her in as much calcium as I can shove down her throat.) We’ve got our budget trimmed close to the bone and sometimes it’s a little too lean if we want to splurge on, you know, new clothes or something. As my paycheck grows, maybe we’ll be able to swing dinner out once in a while (somewhere that doesn’t have high chairs.)

But there’s a little part of me that is thrilled that I’m earning cash again. Like my self worth is measured in dollars and cents. I know that I contribute to the family — I cook, I clean, I keep the Kid alive. But I guess I’m American enough that I’ve internalized the need to have cold hard cash to feel like a real person.

That’s kinda grim, isn’t it?

Categories: budget, motherhood
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