Wheezing costs money

Standard

Being a single parent sucks sometimes, hell, being a single parent with a chronic illness really sucks, but that’s neither here nor there.

My little Buddha has been wheezing up a storm lately. We know she’s allergic to cats (not much to the little black fur-ball of hell that we own, but other people’s cats) and when she gets a cold, she immediately feels it in her chest. She’s past the freaking out part, but has a hard time running around and sleeping despite all of the old asthma tricks I know.

So anyway, on Friday she was wheezing, I chalked it up to asshole cat sleeping on her face or something, but it didn’t go away, so I kept her home. Thankfully we have some prescriptions from her doctor, that should kick it in the butt pretty quickly, so there’s that positive note. Unfortunately, even though I met my prescription deductible, the short one did not, so that was the rest of my money and then some.

This is where I’ve struggled the most raising her on my own. Between childcare (which is 1/3 to 1/2 of my paycheck), to every day things like colds, it kicks me right in the bank account. It doesn’t help that I miss days due to my own illness, but I always somehow figure out a way to make it work.

Honestly though, it’s times like this.. where I’m shit broke before Christmas, that I get angry at the sperm donor. Both Noodle and I have LONG gotten over him disappearing to make more babies in Colorado, and I prefer he stay the fuck away at this point, but Christ. He toted to everyone that he was such a good dad, yet since he’s left.. nothing. Not a single dime of child support, no health insurance for Noodle, and he’s supposed to pay half of daycare. I know he’s occasionally paying his other “baby mama” here, but nothing. Yet the fucker goes off and pro-creates again in another state. Man, I sure do know how to pick em. Ugh.

Whatever though, as most of you know, my kid is wise beyond her years. Back when she was 7 she picked up that her dad was a scum bag when one of the kids at school explained what a dead beat was. She understands, she accepts it, and she’s understanding of the fact that I do my best to cover both parental roles. The benefit of all that, is she is a very grateful child, and she understands money more than most kids her age.

It still sucks to have to count pennies and pick bills to pay around the Christmas Season. When all is said and done though, I’m proud as hell of the fact that I’ve been making it work this far. Noodle will grow up knowing that I took care of her on my own.

Advertisements

Moving on up!

Standard

After the craziness of the last few months, life is starting to take on a bit more normalcy. It’s been one hell of a ride, that’s for sure! For once though, I feel like I am coming out a better, happier more knowledgeable person.  

So my heart (be still my beating heart haha) is doing better. I haven’t had any more major issues beyond a couple shot lived episode a few weeks ago. I also prepared myself and learned how to cope if they do happen, and I have a prescription if things get worse again. So far no worries. Back to basic life for me. (Hopefully my EP was right and it was a short lived thing!)

I however did get quite a bit of anxiety from the whole ordeal. I think having your heart stopped and restarted in the ER will do that for anyone. So I took a first step and found myself a really sweet therapist. It’s nice to be able to really tell someone everything… something I haven’t been able to do in about 5 years. She’s helping me learn how to cope with my illnesses as well as being a single mom (again). I’m glad I took that step, as it seems to be really helping me straighten myself and my life out. She’s given me great advice from how to deal with doctors, (she even found me one when I didn’t like the new one I had) to how to take steps to stop being a doormat for people, to great budgeting ideas and resources for writing and art.

Beyond that, I’ve also been making it a point to write and read daily again. Just to get the creativity flowing. I started feeling more confident with myself just doing that.

Oh! Even managed to go a few miles at the forest preserve already. It was so nice out, and felt good to get active again. Noodle and I are just starting to work on the yard for spring (I’ve got a feeling it won’t be as easy as taking it all down for winter). We’re both excited for the garden this year, as well as planting our flowers! She’s really involved with it too!

Nood has been doing great! Grades are steady in school with good behavior. She really has stepped it up with helping at home with chores. I’m proud of my little munchkin.

I’ve also been able to start reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in forever! I forgot what having a social life is like! What I’m working on now is finding a club I want to join. I’ve been looking for quite sometime, just can’t decide.

All in all, things are going well. I hope the trend continues! It feels so great to finally feel happy again after all those years filled with doubt and anxiety! Looking forward to Spring!

Have a nice night everyone!

image

A Balancing Act

Standard

So after the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past few years.  It’s been a pretty hectic ride, went from miserable wife, to single mom, to single mom working multiple jobs to a long-term relationship working one full time job.  The one thing I have to admit is that I’m horrible at finding that balance between mom, girlfriend and employee.

I’ve always had a hard time trying to spread myself out equally among each aspect of my life.  Honestly though, now that I found an industry I’d like to build a career in, I’m having the most difficult time yet.  When I was freshly-divorced, I was working 2 and sometimes 3 jobs with an odd (and often revolving) mixture of full-time and part-time.  I had to learn how to go from a Stay at Home Mom to a single mom busting ass with no child support.  For some odd reason, I didn’t have a problem at all back then.  It might have been because those jobs were all quick blow through jobs.  You know, shitty jobs that I didn’t care about.  That I didn’t dwell on once I left after my shift.  I could go and drop my kiddo off at childcare, go to job A, finish and go to job B and finish my shift.  Then Work-Me was switched off, and I was back to Mom-Me.  I didn’t let work related stress react with the way I was parenting (I tried my best with financial stress, but sometimes that leaked through. Now that I’m older and have “mom friends” I realize that this is normal).

Now, I’m having a hard time balancing.  I can’t seem to lock out the stress from the office from my home-life.  I can’t seem to balance all the different aspects of me.  Work-me stays stressed out far past when I should be in Mom-me-mode.  And girlfriend me?  Well… girlfriend me shows up eventually. Girlfriend-me comes in last here, with working full-time, I try and overcompensate and smoosh as many activities into the time I do have with my daughter to make up for the time I miss with her at work.  It seems like I can’t win sometimes. 

Thankfully, my boyfriend knows what has been bugging me at the office and he also knows how much it bothers me that I’m not able to be at home with my daughter.  He’s heard my rampages regarding how I wanted my family to work and how I feel like shit that I have to work.  (And yes, even when I’m pissed like this… the divorce was totally worth it!!)  So he understands, most definitely, and knows I’m making an attempt to spend time with him too.

I’m getting better at it though.  The stress from work is still following me home, but it’s quickly chased away with iced coffee (or wine) out on the back deck while my kid plays.  Ry and I have taken to spending half an hour together after work and before dinner to just vent about our days or talk in general.  It’s like taking half an hour to shake off the stress.  Usually during this time, the kid is either playing outside or working on her homework (since when do 1st graders have homework 4 out of 5 nights?!) so she gets her stuff done.

I’ve learned no work talk during the weekends.  None.  Absolutely none.  Not even during our morning coffee.  It creates a mini-vacation.  We’ve also been making it a point to go somewhere each weekend, even if it’s just to the forest preserve or to wander around some downtown area each weekend.  If I’m busy, Work-Me takes a hike and I can focus on my family, instead of the 20 voicemails I’ll be walking into on Monday.  These new rules for the weekend are one of the many reasons I try to not work Saturdays.  I’m away from my house on average 50 hours a week.  It doesn’t sound like much to most people, but to a former Stay at Home Mom, that’s a lot.  My weekends are mine.

I honestly think the biggest improvement I’ve made?  I sit down and help my daughter with her homework or read a book (I have a big time reader thank god!) every night.  I put the chores off and sit down and do it.  Working with her, reading her stories, or even going outside to play puts the work-stress right out of my head.  (And I most definitely would put off folding laundry to read a Dr. Seuss book any day of the week!)

I’m not perfect, and I’m most definitely still learning the art of balancing.  I do have to say though… being a stay at home mom was hard.  It was HARD, I know a lot of people don’t think it is.  I know with staying at home I felt like I lost my identity and almost lost myself.  Being a Stay at Home Mom is most definitely a trying and a full time 24/7 job.  However, being a working mother?  It’s a whole different set of hard.  I don’t think it’s more difficult than staying at home, but I do think that it’s a whole different kind of difficult.  Even after, what, almost 4 years or so?  I still don’t have the hang of it.  That’s okay though, I’ll figure it out one day… until then, wish me luck!

Long Distance Part Time “Dad”

Standard

<3

<3

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a lose-lose situation with my ex-husband.  It’s so incredibly frustrating it literally enrages me, no matter which choice I make, I lose, I look like the bad guy in the end.  It all comes down to protecting my daughter, and either way she ends up getting hurt.

I can’t say “I wish I never met him” because then I wouldn’t have that spunky mini-me in my life.  I’ll never regret her, but christ, couldn’t this shit be a little easier?  Parenting in and of itself is rewarding, even when the little one decided that she likes Asparagus as her favorite food and still will not try a freaking cheeseburger off the grill.  There are tons of little battles in parenting, and it’s become easier as she has gotten older to realize that “this too shall pass” and we’ll be back to normal.

I can however wish that he would get some sense in his head and stop.  Or drive his truck off a bridge, whatever is easiest.  His bullheaded, “parent-when-I-want” is hurting my daughter, and it doesn’t seem like there is a good option for me to prevent it.  That is by far the worst part, is that I don’t have too much control over it.

So it’s been 2 months since we got a phone call from the bio-dad.  The calls before that usually had a couple of weeks between them.  Noodle has pretty much stop caring, to be completely honest.  She rarely gets upset now, and usually it’s only when he calls.  Usually after he calls she asks a couple of questions, now that shes a little bit older (and has some friends who have scum-bags in the place of Dads) she’s understanding a bit more so I can stop lying to her.

“Why did he move?” – Because he wanted to, he thought he had work and wanted to move in with his girlfriend.

“Why did he lie?” – Because he thought it was the best thing to do at the time.  Not everyone tells the truth honey, especially if the truth makes them look bad. (Regarding coming back and calling all the time.)

“Is he coming back to visit?” – I don’t know honey, I don’t think so, Daddy has to get his life straightened out. (This was regarding both him “only going to Colorado for a couple of weeks”, and then again coming to visit.)

“I don’t want to talk on the phone” – Are you sure? If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

Then around mothers day, Noodle and I were looking at cards to get for my step-ma.  She was telling me about the cards and presents she made for me at school (because the child doesn’t know the meaning of surprise apparently, haha).  Then she pops out with this?

“When’s Father’s Day?  I want to buy Ryan a present.  Can we pick out a card?”

I was sitting on my heels reading cards and I about fell over.

-Sure baby, if you want to we can get him a card, and one for grandpa.

“Okay, I wanna pick out a good present! [Insert rambling of stupid shit she wants to buy Ryan lol]”

-Anyone else you want to buy a Father’s Day card for?

“Nope! Just Ryan!”

It was cute.  I almost cried, and I didn’t push it.  That was just the beginning of that.  Since then we’ve had a couple of conversations about Dads.

When Ryan and I first started dating, it was right after Tim moved.  Noodle had called Ryan Dad right away, and we sat down with her and talked about it.  Ry had told her that while he wasn’t her Dad, that he could definitely do Dad stuff with her, and that he’ll be there for her anyway.  She accepted that and they’ve been buddies ever since.

The “Dad Talks” have happened a few times lately, and usually they’re out of nowhere.  The one that stuck in my mind (and completely blew me away coming from a child) was “What’s a Dad?” Conversation.

It started by talking about the stuff her and Ryan had done over the course of the weekend.  They have several activities that I have dubbed “Ryan Noodle Time”, mostly stuff that he enjoys doing with her, whereas I prefer to do by myself.  So they had cooked, gardened, and played all day, and she had apparently decided that that was “Daddy stuff” and asked me why Ry did Daddy stuff with her when he wasn’t her real Dad.

I started really slow.  I explained to her that Ryan loves her just like Mommy does, that Ryan likes doing stuff with her, just like how Dads do.  I asked her if she knew how long Ryan had been in our lives, I got “2 summers” as the answer.  I explained that two years is more than enough time to love someone.  I asked her if she liked him, if she said good night and I love you every night before bedtime, and I asked her if she liked when he fixes her owwies.  She nodded, and I asked her if she was happy doing so called “Daddy Stuff” with Ryan and she laughed and “Duuuuuuuh”.

So I asked her what she thought a Dad was, what she thought mattered most.  I got a bunch of answers ranging from spending time together to buying ice cream (too funnny) and I told her that it doesn’t matter sometimes who you’re related to.  I told her that it matters who is there for you and who loves you.  I talked about her Grandma, and how even though Grandma isn’t my real mom, I still love her all the same.  I talked about my (step) Grandpa, and told her how I still did Grandpa stuff with him even though we weren’t blood-related, how he raised my mom and did Daddy Stuff with her even though he wasn’t her real Dad.  I reminded her of her aunts and uncles, who are reality not blood-related, and how they all love her and spend time with her even though they aren’t my real sisters and brothers.

“So even though Ryan’s not my real daddy, he can be like my Daddy?”  -Yes babe, sometimes you get to make your own family out of the people you love, and that’s what matters.

She went to bed smiling that night.

So we haven’t heard from her Bio-Dad in about 2 months.  He just fell off the face of the planet, which is cool with me.  Noodle hasn’t asked about him and has been fine, and I was glad to not have to deal with it as mean as that is.  Her birthday came around and she got a gift from my ex-mother-in-law (wonderful lady) and the day before we got a package from him too.  My temper flared sooo bad I considered “Return-To-Sender” and I about threw it away after reading the card.

He had wrote in it some sob story about not having a phone for 2 months, and *that’s* why he didn’t call.  His phone has been off.  He promised to tell me as soon as he had one again.

Deep Breath. 

That is the biggest bullshit excuse I have ever heard.  I’m sorry, if I didn’t have the phone, I think it would take all of 3 days to find one.  Ask a neighbor, give them a few bucks for the bill, use any of the free apps for phone calls via internet.  Payphones.  Work phones.  SOMETHING.  Send an email, letter, tell your mother to call or write.  Having your phone shut off of 2 months is NOT an excuse for not talking to your kids.

Deep Breath

When he decided to resurface after a year and a half of no contact, I told him it was his last chance.  He had destroyed my daughter’s heart and its taken her a long time to get back to normal.  He wasn’t the one who had to listen to her cry at night because she missed him for the first couple of months.  I told him it was his last chance, that I’d give him one more chance to do things right and that was it.  The only reason I was giving him that chance is so that when Nood grows up and looks back, she’ll know that I didn’t keep him away, even though he did horrible things during our marriage and then abandoned her when she was little, I still gave him the opportunity to fix it.

I gave him a break with child support.  When he dropped off the face of the planet, I didn’t file.  I figured, good, if he wants to stay gone, I don’t need his money.  I’m completely content with Noodle growing up and finding out that her dad couldn’t even contribute financially.  When he popped back up, I asked him if since he was going to be around if he was going to pay his support, he said he needed time, I gave it to him.  Since our divorce, I have paid for *every-single-fucking-thing*, weekly tuition for daycare and school, clothes, food, toys, doctors, and now school supplies and registration.  So 6 months after him popping back up… still nothing.

I gave him a break when he started calling every 3-4 weeks.  I told him he needed to call more, and left it at that.  When he stopped calling, I didn’t harass him, I let him be.  I let him make his own choices, and focused on making my family stronger.  I figured if he wanted to be gone, fine, as long as he stayed gone and stopped hurting my daughter, that was fine.  It’s way better than having a long-distance dad who calls when he feels like it.  I figured, I didn’t need child support anyway, if he’s not there, no big deal.

Deep Breath

I’m tired of playing games.  We have a stable loving family, with everything Noodle could want and or need (besides *another* ice cream from the ice cream truck).  I’m tired of Tim deciding that he wants to be a Dad every couple of months and calling and turning Noodle’s happiness upside down.  She’s a well-adjusted, happy child until her Dad calls… and I’m tired of it.  If you’re not going to call for 2 months, 6 months or a year and a half, just stay gone and stop hurting her.  She has a Dad as far as we’re concerned, one who has raised her since her bio-dad ran away.  We don’t need a part-time-long-distance “dad” too.

So I’m not giving an inch anymore.  I am following my court documents, and sticking to my guns.  If he wants to run away then fine, go away and stop coming back.  If he wants to play this pop-up game, then fine, he’s going to follow the rules.  The next time I hear from him, I’m turning all of his info into child support enforcement (thank god I saved his ssn, DL#, addy and birthdate.  Hell, I even have a recent picture of him.)  I’m tired.  If we have to deal with him disrupting Noodle’s happiness, he’s going to pay his fair share and he’s going to follow the rules.

 

As sad as it is, I just want him to stop screwing with Noodle’s head and stay gone this time.

 

 

A Working Mom’s Exasperation

Standard

You asked why I don’t like you, but really you should ask why I don’t respect you.

I just got home, 12 hours after I left my house this morning.  I have to pull some over time because we lost a girl at the office.  That’s okay with me, extra cash on my paycheck never hurts, and I’m still home by dinner.  I guess me and the kid are going to head into the office tomorrow so I can finish up some stuff, that way I won’t have to spend that much extra time there next week.  I miss my kid during the week while she’s at school, I don’t like missing her any longer.  So we have plans to hang out with her aunt tomorrow and some fun activities for Sunday as well.

I work hard at my job because I pride myself in being successful.  I love my “grown-up” job because it allows me to make enough money to pay for my daughter’s school, clothes, and of course the basics.  I make enough now, that with some budgeting, I can afford fun stuff and vacations.  I work this hard because I like caring for my family and knowing I can provide for them, and I want to set a good example for my girl.  I love my “grown-up” job because I work during her school hours and a tad bit before and after.  That way she’s home with me as much as possible and we can spend time together.

I take pride in my home and in my family.  The majority of my actions are involving them.  I make decisions that will benefit not just me but my entire family.  I believe that raising your child is supposed to be the most important job of a mother.  I do my best to raise her right and be a good mother.  To provide a loving, stable home in which she can thrive despite life’s obstacles.

I have worked long and hard to fix my life after I divorced my ex-husband.  I worked all sorts of jobs until I found one that allowed me to spend more time with her and afford my bills at the same time.  I learned how to deal with the fact that she is in school now, and I miss her dearly when she’s there.  I bought and fixed up a house, and do my best to have a family dinner every night.  Call me traditional, but it’s good enough for me.  I went from a stay at home mom in an abusive relationship to a working mother who has found a career and is thriving.

You wonder why I don’t like you.  You stand for everything I strive not to be.  You are the stereotypical welfare mom.  You defraud the government for more welfare by claiming people you shouldn’t and by working for cash.  You work at a bar, and hang out there when you’re not working, all the while insisting that you can’t get a new job because there’s nothing out there.  Right.  Um retail.  You really don’t have any bills since you don’t pay for food, childcare, or medical.  I don’t even think you pay rent.  Get a day job.  You’ve been working that shit hole bar for 3 years.  Time to move on.  I don’t respect you because you are a poor excuse for a mom.  You choose your friends and your bar-job over your son.  You say “Oh he’s only with me 1 day this week” like it’s no big deal, when by friday, I miss my daughter so much by the time I pick her up from school that I want nothing more than to hug her, and I still see her every day. Your son will grow up to remember that you were not there when he needed you most.  You complain when the government finally catches you ripping off welfare and blame everyone but yourself.  Because obviously, since you’re a single mom, the world owes you something.  You shouldn’t have to work hard to take care of your children.  You shouldn’t have to work at all!  You shouldn’t have to spend time with your kids, because hey, that’s what your parents are for!  God forbid you use the money you *do* earn to buy your child food, when the government pays you for FREE.

So moral of the story here?  Don’t tell me you know how hard it is, when you clearly don’t know.  You haven’t had to raise your own child in 3 years, nor do you even pay your own bills.  Once you grow up and realise that you actually have to BE there for your child, that your child ranks far over your social life, once you get a job that provides for yourself and your child, or hell even SHOW interest or LOOK…. then I might respect you.

Everyone has their low points, hell, in the past 10 years I’ve been on a got-damned rollercoaster.  But you know what?  I picked myself up off the ground and improved myself and my life to benefit my children.  There’s nothing wrong with working at a bar, as long as you make decent money and spend time with your child.  But once a week, is not it.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but if your fun DIRECTLY IMPACTS YOUR CHILD, it’s time to stop.  Everyone hits a financial hard point, and some of us (myself included) have needed state aid.  But it’s there for emergencies, until you improve your situation, it’s not a way of life.  It’s there to help you up when you need a hand, and that’s it.  When you’ve been at the same rock-bottom-point of your life for 3 years, and you don’t see a problem with it, it’s time to grow up.  It’s not about you anymore, it’s about your child.

[I apologize to anyone if I offended them, this is my own personal opinion after being on both sides of the fence.  I do not have respect for someone who lives on welfare for years.  Nor do I have respect for parents who don’t see their children on their own choice.  I don’t have respect for people who are in a shit situation but refuse to fix their lives, even worse expect other people to fix it for them.  Sorry.]

I feel like Roadkill [I’m a wuss when I’m sick]

Standard

I am sick.  Like regular sick, not Crohns-sick thank god.  Wait.  When I’m Crohns-sick at least I know how to function.  When I have a good-ole-fashioned cold I turn into a whiny, crying, wuuuuuuss.  Oh my god.  I’m annoying myself.  Please excuse me while I kick myself in the face.

So Monday, on the way home from work I noticed that my throat was sore.  By the time I went to bed that night I had a headache, runny nose and body ache to add to it.  I was miserable the next morning too.  I made it half way through a cup of coffee before I realized that I wasn’t okay enough to go to work.  So at 5:30am I text my boss and let him know I needed a sick day.  I spent the day in bed or on the couch, going in between chills and sweats but sleeping as much as I could.  I went to bed determined that I’d feel better.

This morning I woke up and despite a fever, I convinced myself I could go into work.  I knew the girls in my small office were probably swamped the day before, and would cry if I didn’t come in today.  – I work in a office of 4 people, including myself, 6 if you include our GM and Logistics Manager. The brunt of the Customer Service falls on 3 of us, so when one of us is sick, the others feel the brunt of the work… and it’s painful. – So I took a double dose of DayQuil and put on my big girl panties and head in.  I start work at 7am, and by 9am, my energy reserve died and my motivation to make it through the work day failed.  I ended up in tears in the bathroom.  I told my co-workers and my GM that I needed to go home.  I ended up leaving at noon and coming home to crash.

Leaving was hard, I hate calling off and feel horrible when I have to leave early.  I hate having the other girls take on my work, even though sometimes they only have time to do my install paperwork and phone calls.  I feel guilty when I call off, even if I’m the only one who does.  It’s even harder knowing that I’m going to take a hit in the paycheck.  Sure I have sick-days, but I also have a daughter in school who will get sick eventually and don’t forget the days I need off for my Remicade Infusions.  So ouch, there goes more money.

However, in the past year, and at the example of my co-workers and urging of my family I have learned that I need to take days for myself.  Last year, I took days off for my daughter only, and even then she went to school sick when she shouldn’t.  I feel horrible for that, and I regret sending her to school when she was sick even though her fever was low enough to pass.  I was on my own and needed the money, but the days I took off were for her, or the couple days I had appointments or infusions.  I pushed myself and my daughter way further than our bodies were meant to go.  The result?  Noodle went to school sick and spent days sick instead of her typical day and a half.  Me?  I was sick for WEEKS.  A cold that in my immune suppressed body should have lasted 5 or so days, lasted 3 weeks.  So in my quest to save money and make it to work, I actually ended up taking MORE time off, and when I was at work my work suffered.  Not only did my work suffer, but my family suffered.

So this cold-season, I’m changing things a bit.  I’m taking the day in bed if I’m sick enough to need it, and I’m letting Noodle stay in bed if she needs it.  As Ryan says, if you get it early, you can beat it quick.  We need to take better care of our bodies, so we can do better with the rest of our lives.  So here’s to feeling better tomorrow and a good sleep tonight.

 

I am going to scream if I’m still sick tomorrow.