Skip Nav

Woman's Post on Growing Up Poor

This Woman's Experience Growing Up Poor Will Change Your Perspective on What Truly Matters

I read an article today about being poor. The woman who raised me—the one who was not my mother by blood but was by...

Posted by Suburban Shit Show by Nicole Johnson, Writer on Sunday, January 13, 2019

Nicole Johnson, a mom and blogger at Suburban Sh*t Show, knows that money isn't everything when it comes to raising well-adjusted kids. She explained how growing up poor didn't define who she was in an emotional Facebook post, and it's the reminder we all need that love doesn't cost anything.

"I read an article today about being poor," she wrote. "The woman who raised me — the one who was not my mother by blood but was by the graciousness of the universe who brought us together — she was poor. She lived in the projects raising three kids, if you don't include me and my brother — but you should because we weren't cheap."

Nicole remembers that the woman who raised her clearly struggled with her finances, but she never let it get the best of her.

"I remember watching her count the money from the bank after she'd cash a check," said Nicole. "I remember the white envelope it came in and the way the young teller placed it in the drawer before pushing it out toward my not mother mother's big old car. The one always in need of repair. Sometimes she would have just enough gas to get from here to there. And she loved those damn nearly done cars. The ones painted in hideous mustard yellow or with a million and one miles."

And while not having a ton of money definitely raised some problems for her, Nicole's guardian made sure her financial circumstances didn't get in the way of her general happiness.

"For now, they are getting exactly what they need. Don't worry, mama. You are doing fine — just fine."

"She didn't care about beauty or brand names. She cared about survival with five kids — as a single mom," explained Nicole. "She cared about Jeopardy and reading — even though she'd never gone to college. She cared about laughter and crying until it came. She cared about spending her last dollar on silly putty, though it would have been better spent on bread. She cared little about being poor, though she understood it was an inconvenience."

Despite the fact the woman in question lived paycheck to paycheck most of the time, she did everything she could to save for a home. Eventually, she found a place to call her very own.

"And she saved for her first home. A mobile home she bought with her son," she said. "And it was hers — with well water and a front porch with a rocking chair across from a grandson she loved and with a driveway for the big mustard yellow car."

The bottom line? You can be an amazing parent regardless of what your bank statement says.

"She was poor. And I preferred her home, her company above all others," she wrote. "Being poor does not dictate who you are. And it does not define who you are as a mother or how much your kids love you. I just want any mamas out there who are struggling with finances to know this. Someday they will understand how much you love them, how much you struggle just to get by. And they will know how to get by too — if they ever need to. But for now they are just busy being your kid. For now, they are getting exactly what they need. Don't worry, mama. You are doing fine — just fine."

Latest Family