Some things just need to be said.
My mother left my father when I was 12 years old. she went without any child support. My mother also worked 4 jobs. Full time day job at the Vet Center, nights at Taco Johns till midnight, then she would come home and do books and payroll for two large construction companies. I also never went to school once without a hot home cooked breakfast. I honestly don’t know when my mother could have slept, ever. I’m not sure she did. Going out to eat, did not happen, ever. Christmas and birthdays she did her best to get my brother and I gifts that were on our lists and we knew that if we asked for something big and got it, that’s all you were getting. It was always quality not quantity in our house. It was also waste not, want not. You better make things last because when it’s gone…it’s gone and it’s not being replaced anytime soon. We didn’t get new clothes because we wanted them, we got them because we out grew them and not a moment before. Also, while my mother was busting her ass working 4 jobs, I was running around with gang bangers
and getting arrested.
Now I’m the mom who desperately wants better for her daughter. Things are a bit different though…I’ve been single since day one. The days get long and there are many….alone. I went back to working full time when my daughter was 3 months old. I worked until midnight. Do you have any idea what it’s like trying to find daycare until midnight? It wasn’t long before I fell behind on house payments. A house that I loved, that I used my grandfathers inheritance for…a house I couldn’t care for. I mean really, try scooping your driveway with a nine month old strapped to your c...
. It’s not simple. Mowing the lawn in 90 degree heat and 98% humidity is no picnic either. A hot, sweaty, grass covered baby is an angry baby.
I drove my car to the dealer with a 3 month old baby and pretty much begged them to buy the car back in a desperate attempt to maintain my credit. I tried to sell the house I loved with no success. I wrote letters to the bank explaining my situation and why I was suddenly unable to make the payments and why I wouldn’t be able to make any payments anytime soon and filled out all the papers and forms they sent me until finally, they took the house back, literally 3 days before the house was to be foreclosed on. It didn’t help my credit all that much but it just felt really irresponsible to just wait for shit to be repossessed. I had to try.
I wasn’t just exhausted as a single mom. I was beyond exhausted. I didn't just look tired, I lived tired...BIG difference. That is what happens when you work till midnight and then get home and play with your baby for a little bit, put her down for bed and then you stay up until sunrise just to be sure your crazy meth addicted soon...
. Do not underestimate the exhausting, life sucking strain that comes with fearing for your life. If you've never experienced that kind of fear first hand it's probably harder to comprehend just how disturbing it can be. If you've never felt that fear close your eyes for a moment, imagine in your mind, picture YOUR child laying there in a tiny casket, dead. Knees weak? Feel that knot in the pit of your stomach? That's similar to the gut wrenching feeling of fearing for your life.
Oh and if the baby is sick, you can forget about sleep all together, it’s not happening. Nobody is coming home to help you, ever.
Tired and sick I still had to drag my ass to work where I didn't fill out insurance forms by hand. I wiped asses. I applied pressure to blood head wounds and scrubbing the gravel out of road rash that covered a kids back. I was chasing after nurses who had too many patients to handle, trying to help them all as much as I could. I'd work weekends, holidays and I'd work until midnight. I'd come home covered in germs and most days, poop. My back ached from all the lifting, transferring patients to and from recovery post op. One day I even ran to the ER after a code was called only to find my own grandfather laying there, nurses pumping on his fragile chest trying to revive him. That's just a smidge of how my days at work went. Insurance forms would have been a refreshing change from blood, puke, poop and death.
My first Christmas as mom was a trip to the food shelf. I’m firmiliar with how it works. My daughter only had gifts under the tree because of Toys for Tots. My husband wasn’t working late or traveling. He was in jail. Not looking great there….
My first year living in the city, the PIT was just over a year and a half. The first winter in the city, I drove a car that didn’t have heat. It takes A LOT of bundeling up to take your kid to daycare when its 40 below zero and then drive an hour and half to work, still no heat. And a garage? Ha. Yeah right. Most mornings I prayed my car would start, or that a neighbor would come out soon and jump start it so I wouldn’t be late, and my kid wouldn’t freeze in the unheated car waiting. One morning I actually had to take my shoes off and look to make SURE my toes were still there.
I have an ulcer that causes such incredible abdominal pain and unstoppable vomiting I've been to the ER, with my kid along for the ride, more than once. It's almost impossible to reassure your child that you're going to just fine when you can't stop heaving or catch your breathe.
Oh and that 'husband', still not working late or traveling for business. In fact, it doesn't even exist anymore thankfully. There is a difference in knowing you're going to be on your on for a few days and FOREVER. Both can be exhausting
of course, one is temporary.
The next time you think you 'feel' like a single mom, shut your mouth and read this. If you still have the odasity to whine, then step right up and meet my fist because all you will get from me is a knuckle sandwich, not pity, not respect and certainly not compassion.
Until you live a day in a life anything like mine, please keep your opinions ignorance to yourself. Things like no having a garage and a husband that was more committed to his career than his family, are no where even fucking close to the life that I've lived. If that was an attempt to 'cry my a river', you failed. That is barely a puddle. Get real.
You see, I am more than aware of how to live within my minimal means. I'm really fucking good at being poor. Don't you dare try to advise me on how to survive. Quite frankly, recommending that I take my kid to the grocery store and fill up on free sample Saturday is fucking insulting. Perhaps if I didn't work a full time job that causes me way more stress than its worth, it might be less insulting.
No this is not just my 'negative' attitude
either. This is reality kicking my fucking ass over and over and over again. This is me refusing to fucking surrender to the reality that continues to kick my ass. One day, I will kick it's ass back.