Add This To the List

939b3764eb0fd0ab5ea958c7cd1bb286I just discovered something new to worry about. The good news is it’s not a life threatening kind of worry. The bad news is how could this worry not have ever crossed my mind? It was totally M.I.A. in my “things I might worry about someday” pile that ricochets around in my brain like a teaspoon stuck in a garbage disposal.

This new worry came about courtesy of some women who have older kids. They were sharing horror stories of their adult children having serious romances with or in some cases even marrying (and divorcing) people who are hauling around some pretty hefty personal baggage that has the power to not exactly ruin your child’s life, but certainly crush their credit score.

These credit crushing young adults even have a not so nifty moniker. They’re called “FICO fiances/fiancees” or “Fiscal Drags” – college educated young men and women who are up to their still unfurrowed brow in college debt. There are even levels of Fiscal Drags. The worst, according to the sisterhood of the traveling hormone creams are the liberal arts majors with advanced degrees from “fancy east coast” schools.

Mom A whose son was smitten with a woman who has a degree from Vassar in Victorian Studies says she was “freaking out” over the relationship. “You can’t tell me she’s ever going to be able pay six figure in loans working retail at Anthropologie.”

Mom B did a one up and shared that her daughter was almost engaged to a “boy with a more than $125,000 in college debt who never even graduated.” The parents had to go hard-core with a Powerpoint presentation to illustrate to their daughter “the amount of debt she would be marrying.” The mother said her husband labeled the presentation “Attention K Mart Shoppers.” (Although that kind of dated shopping humor was lost on the millennial.)

The STEM degrees also should be approached with caution. Mom C explained in detail how getting hitched to a doctor can be a nightmare. I learned from her that if your child falls in love with an aspiring M.D. going through schools on loans make sure it’s “someone who wants to be a cutter.”

That confused me. So, I asked for clarification on the term. Mom A quickly explained that if you’re not wielding a scalpel you’re not making the money. Mom C jumped in with “that’s yes to the plastic surgeon and no to the family practice doctor.”

These women were scaring me. I was frightened by their frankness and their flippant ability to breakdown relationships based on credit scores and lifetime earning potential. Although I understand where they’re coming from. The stress of financial debt is a marriage killer.

They also pushed my panic button. With a child in the second semester of his sophomore year of college I’m constantly texting my son with grocery store coupons and money-saving tips. (I save my beloved Kohl’s cash for me. I’m afraid he’s just not Kohl’s cash worthy yet. Although I dare to dream of that day coming very soon.) I do all this because the price tag for a college education is beyond outrageous even at a state school.

How did we allow this happen? Since I graduated college in the 80’s some studies point to the cost of college increasing by 500%! And to circle back around to my friends FICO fiancees fears all I have to say is good luck finding a future spouse who isn’t walking down the aisle with some sort of loan lodestone around his or her neck.

I believe I was blessed to go to college back in the day when my parents could, with a straight face, tell me to “major in what I loved and to do work that would make me smile every day.” And that was said with two kids already at the University of Texas. Of course that’s when a semester hour at U.T. was, and I’m not kidding here, $8.00! Yep, a semester hour of college cost the same as a couple of Happy Meals from McDonalds.

Fast forward three decades and my sweet son had to get a cold, hard lesson on college costs from my husband and I. No sunshine and unicorns for him with parents whose careers surfed the tech bubble bursting, the housing bust and the worst recession since the Great Depression he got sobering lesson about the American economy. And although my husband and I are footing the bill for college my son was still strongly encouraged to select a major that would ensure him a job immediately after graduation and has an earning scale that would outpace inflation. Do I feel bad that we never mentioned the word smile? You bet.

Dear Snarky – WTH On Gender Reveal Parties?

tumblr_inline_n83ulw2umC1sy7t8zDear Snarky,

Would you please share with me your feelings concerning Gender Reveal parties? I just went to my first one, with at least 50 people there, and was made to feel like a loser because I didn’t bring a gift.

My question is why do you bring a gift if you don’t know the sex of the baby yet? And how has this become a thing? Am I wrong to think it’s just another excuse for people to shake down their friends for gifts?

Signed, Confused

 Dear Confused,

I admit to being baffled over the concept of the gender reveal party so I did some digging (which dear_snarky_logomeans at least 8 minutes of extensive googling) and I blame Pinterest. Somebody a couple of years shared some pics of a super cutesy is it a boy or girl cake and voila – you have the entertainment behemoth that is the gender reveal.

Now, that we have that mystery solved take a deep breath and let these words soothe you. You are not alone. The Gender Reveal party is goofy. Okay, maybe not goofy, but I’m going to take a stand and say People of Earth can we, for the love of all that his holy, quit turning every life event into a party where friends, business associates, co-workers, people you nod at in church or the grocery line and neighbors six houses down and to the left are required to bring a gift?

 So, based on that petite rant – no you were not wrong to arrive at the party empty-handed. In fact, I applaud you for going at all because I have research (yes, research) that shows folks who have gender reveal parties will also be inviting you to at least 4 or more baby showers.  They’ll get that gift from you one way or another – trust me.

 So, stand strong, hold your head up high, and know that you did nothing wrong. You know except be friends with someone who would subject 50 of their “closest” friends to such an event.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice with an Attitude” email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.  

 

Dear Snarky – Help, I’ve Lied To My Mom Friends!

609d7b389ff7a7660fe3e11a39842d59Dear Snarky,

I’m the mother of a soon to be kindergartener. All my pre-school mom friends are going to be sending their kids off to a private kindergarten in the fall. I kind of, because I didn’t want to be the odd man out, lied that my son would also being going to this private kindergarten. The truth is we can’t afford it and our public schools are great.

Well, now all the moms are talking about the Spring Welcome to Kindergarten meeting and I have to fess up that my child will never be going to that school.

What’s the best way to do this and not look like a big liar?

Signed,

Worried Mom

dear_snarky_logo-1 Dear Worried,

 I could tell you to cleanse your conscience and be 100% truthful yet I’m sure that’s not the kind of advice you’re seeking. I’m guessing you want me to give you a way to save face. So, because this is Dear Snarky not Dear Abby here’s what I recommend.

 Share with your posse of pre school moms that after much soul-searching and thoughtful deliberation you and your husband have decided to support your local public schools. You feel as a family that by investing in public education you are doing your part to build a better community for everyone.

 I call this a two-fer. It gets you out of a sticky spot and you’re making yourself sound like a burgeoning community activist.

 Now for some advice you didn’t ask for. In the future stop trying so hard to fit in with the herd and quit fibbing. There are only so many times I’m going to be able to come to your rescue. 

If you have a question for Dear Snarky, “21st Century advice with an attitude” please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.