10 True Stories of Money Nightmares While Parenting

Wendy Robinson | Jun 2, 2016 Money
10 True Stories of Money Nightmares While Parenting

mom stressed computerLet's start by stating the obvious: Nobody likes having to worry about money. But, I can tell you from personal experience that it is a much different experience to feel broke when you only have to take care of yourself versus money being tight when you have kids.

The added responsibility of having to care for a family makes money stress feel more intense and worrisome. Researchers have found that money stress leads to parenting stress and makes the already tough job of being a mom that much harder.

Whether it is an unexpected expense or a job loss, most families are likely to experience money concerns at some point. Read on for 10 stories of money nightmares and how real moms survived them.


Image via iStock.com/Georgijevic

  • The Worst Timing


    iStock.com/Dean Mitchell

    "After struggling with infertility for YEARS, we finally got pregnant via IVF. Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, my husband got laid off. I was working part-time for a place that didn't offer benefits. He got three months of severance, which we thought would be plenty of time to find a job, but it came and went and NOTHING.

    Meanwhile, I got put on bed rest and had to quit my job. It was terrifying to be pregnant and facing the thought of losing our house and having the baby without health insurance.

    He ended up getting a new job a month after the baby was born. We liquidated our retirement accounts to stay afloat. So, now we are a family of three and are basically starting all over at 35 years old. I'm discouraged but grateful we made it through." -- S.W.

  • Moving Expenses


    Image via iStock.com/Kali Nine LLC

    "Overall, we are doing okay financially, but last summer we had a major money clusterf*ck. We moved for my husband's new job and we paid out of pocket for the movers because we were going to be reimbursed by his company.

    The moving ended up being SO expensive -- thousands of dollars -- and then my husband didn't get a paycheck for five weeks due to pay schedule weirdness. We ended up putting over $10,000 on credit cards in the course of four weeks. YIKES. It felt so disconcerting to see my husband going to work and to not have ANY money in the checking account. It took us months to dig out of the credit card debt hole." -- K.H.

  • Stranded


    Image via iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

    "After my divorce, I took my kids on a special trip to France to recover. Two days after we arrived, my purse got stolen -- with EVERYTHING in it. Our passports, my wallet, my phone, and even the keys to the rental car. I was suddenly stranded in a foreign country with no money, no other adult help, and my 3- and 5-year-old.

    I had a total meltdown, panic attack, freak-out. Thankfully someone helped us get back to the hotel and they helped me figure out how to get to the embassy and get some money wired.

    I still feel badly that my girls saw me lose my sh*t so completely." -- A.C.

    More from The Stir: 30 French Baby Names for Boys & Girls -- Ooh La La!

  • Job Wanted


    Image via iStock.com/ glegorly

    "I've been broke before and I've always felt like money stuff will just work itself out. But that changed when I got laid off last fall. I was the primary breadwinner and it made me totally reconsider our finances. Like, we need to totally step up our savings game. Getting let go made it really hit home that we weren't saving enough. We just didn't have a cushion.

    I got a new job pretty quickly, so we are okay now, but we are working extra hard to build savings now." -- R.E.

  • Burst Bubble


    Image via iStock.com/ Pamela Moore

    "One of the most emotional moments of my life was when my 6-year-old brought me her piggy bank after she overheard me and my husband talking about money stuff. She wanted to give us money to help, which made me feel so proud of her and so ashamed that we were in such money trouble.

    This all happened a few years back, 2008, when we moved for my job and could not sell our house. We bought the house for $270,000 in 2006, and even [with our] listing it at $225,000, it just sat there on the market. We went for months paying the mortgage and paying rent on a new house. Our savings got destroyed and we eventually had to go into foreclosure. The house eventually sold for $108,000, which makes me sick.

    We lost our savings, ruined our credit scores, and fought over money for the first time ever. It was awful and I never quite knew if I should be honest with the kids about how much we were struggling or if we should put up a brave front for them. It is so hard." -- J.H.

  • Child Care Cluster


    Image via iStock.com/ BraunS

    "Two years ago we found ourselves having to pay for eight weeks of summer camp plus one year of private school and aftercare all on the SAME DAY. It was a five-figure sum and just about killed me. And, because we had our money stored in several different accounts that weren't playing nicely with the way we needed to pay the fees, we had to borrow several thousand dollars from my mother-in-law to make it work. It was pretty embarrassing, and we mostly just felt dumb, but hoo boy, we sure learned some lessons that day." -- L.M.

  • The Cost of Divorce


    Image via iStock.com/BernardaSv

    "My worst money times were right after I got divorced and was transitioning into being a single mom. It was hard to untangle our finances and I had to figure out how to make more money -- quickly, in order to be able to get into a house big enough for me and the kids. I ended up getting a second job and working on the weekends when the kids were with their dad. It was exhausting and stressful, but it showed me I could make it on my own." -- C.G.

    More from The Stir: 11 Texts That Reveal the Messy Truth About Life After Divorce (PHOTOS)

  • Student Loan Woes


    Image via iStock.com/ sturti

    "The irony of my money story is that I'm married to a doctor. Everyone thinks that if you are married to a doctor you've got it made. HA!

    Between the two of us, we have over $230,000 in student loans. Our student loan payments are bigger than most people's mortgages. Add that to the $900 we spend on daycare and we are barely making it. It will get better once my husband is more established, but I think we are probably 10 years away from being able to buy a house, maybe longer if we decide to have another baby. It sucks." -- M.R.

  • Single Mom


    Image via iStock.com/ gruizza

    "I'm a single mom and though I get crap for it, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm only making ends (barely) meet because I'm on WIC and get help from my country for health insurance and heating oil. I have a toddler and I am making $24,000 a year. But I'm in school and hopefully I'll be able to provide a better life before my son realizes that we are poor. That sounds like a depressing goal, but it is true." -- J.N.

  • Why We Need Insurance


    Image via iStock.com/ Toa55

    "My husband and I are in the midst of filing for bankruptcy and are having to figure out how to explain that whole thing to the kids. We both work and we've never been rich or anything like that, but we've paid our bills on time.

    Last year I got a kidney stone and had to have surgery and ended up having some complications. I stayed two days in the hospital and was out of work for over three weeks. We didn't have health insurance since neither of our works offers it. My husband said he 'didn't believe' in Obamacare -- well, he does now. We ended up with over $50,000 in medical bills. It totally ruined us. We have no savings now and tons of credit card debt.

    One lesson I am teaching my kids is that you ALWAYS have to have insurance." -- T.S.

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