Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Have You Ever?

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  • Have you ever had to turn in all of your change to get your 14 year old son a hair cut?Have You Ever?
  • Have you ever borrowed money from your sons piggy bank to put gas in your car?
  • Have you ever not taken your child to the doctor when you probably should have because you didn't have the money for the co-pay (not to mention the extra gas)?
  • Have you ever gone over 18 months without a hair cut because you just can't justify spending that money on yourself right now?
  • Have you ever hidden an invitation to a birthday party from your kid because you didn't want to have to tell them you couldn't afford to buy the child a gift?

Unfortunately, since my husband moved out, I can answer yes to all of those questions. I still refer to him as my husband even though we decided over a year ago that our marriage was over, because we haven't legally done anything to end it yet.  

Last Year...

In the past year I have had to apply for HEAP to pay my gas and electric bill, woken up to my cable, internet and phone being shut off for non payment, and sent the boys to their dads for a weekend and not eaten a meal the entire time they were gone because I needed to save money for their meals. I've gotten good at shopping for the week for the three of us on $25. I've stopped going to church because I don't have the money to put in the collection plate.   

Life Changes... 

My entire life has changed, not only because I'm single, but because I'm broke. My ex pays for the mortgage, but just about everything else is basically up to me. Once this school year is over, he will get the house back, and I'll be living between my parents and sister's houses. I can not afford to support myself on my current salary and give my kids the life they deserve. 

Rock Bottom... 

The other week I was in a really bad place.  We had no food, and I didn't have any money.  I went to the food bank and was turned away for being at the wrong one. I had cereal, and the boys school lunch accounts had money in them, so I figured we would get by on cereal dinners the nights they were with me, and good meals the nights they were with their father.

I posted a blog complaining about how hard it is to get public assistance when you really need it, and suddenly the outpouring of help from my friends was so overwhelming I had to take the post down temporarily.  I had two different friends send me gift cards to buy food, and one of my local friends dropped off two huge bags full of food, which my 14 year old was super impressed with because everything was name brand.  

Light at the End of the Tunnel...

Besides making me realize how many people I have in my life who care about me, it made me realize I need to figure out a way to become self sufficient. I work full time, but have my wages garnished for my student loans. They take almost $100 a week. I have applied to several places over the last year to try and get a part time job, but apparently I'm undesirable in the retail world.  

I have been tossing around the idea of joining the Air National Guard for a while now, only to be talked out of it by everyone over and over again. This time, I'm not being talked out of it. I went to the recruiter, and am going to take the ASVAB and get my physical. The hardest part will be being separated from my children during basic training, but the benefits I will receive will make it all worth it in the end.  

By being a member of the Air National Guard, I will be able to finish my education, which I put on hold when I became pregnant with my second son (hence the student loan thing). This will then make it possible to start a career; a job that I love that pays more than the one I have now.  

I will be making just enough extra every month to be able to afford an apartment, get affordable  health insurance, and most importantly, give my boys a mom they can be proud of.

Caroline

I am a broke,  full time working, single mom to two awesome sons and training to be a triathlete. Follow my journey at Tales of a Broke Crazy Triathlete or via Twitter @Want2BIronMommy.

 

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  • Kudos to you for taking control of your own life.  When my daughter was young I joined the Army Reserve (I was already an Army Veteran at the time) and the extra money made all the difference in the world.  

    Being in the Air National Guard will allow you to get your life back on track and serve your country at the same time.

  • It always saddens me when I see people who really need public assistance and can't get it.  Then I'll see others using food stamps that wear gold jewelry, drive off in SUV's, or try to sell their food stamps for cash.  The system really needs to be changed so that people who really need it get it, and those that abuse the system don't.  

    I don't know much about the National Guard, but if it can help you get your family back on track, I can't see why not.   Best wishes as you work through this tough time.  I hope it gets better for you soon!

  • One of the reasons and it's sad, that you probably did not get the assistance was that you have a full-time job, a house, and a car.  Having been on public assistance in the past, you truly have to be almost destitute with children/pregnant or just destitute.  As for the post for Cheryl G, its sad that those who truly need it are turned away and regardless of what a person wears or drives, they had jobs before being on assistance, until you have walked in those shoes, never judge.

    I thank you in advance for your service to AMERICA and you and your family will make it, keep your head up!

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