Stand Up and Step Up

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Being a single parent is hard work.  I would know.  Divorced and all of that hoopla, it happens, and unfortunately is pretty common.  I was not the best mom at first, I had to fight with my new found freedom and learn how to do everything on my own again while dealing with active Crohns Disease.

It took me a bit, a year of fucking up to be exact, but I did it. ¬†I stay out of the bars (except for ¬†a rare and precious night out… which I usually stay sober for. ¬†Whodathunk?), I save my money, and I work on spending time with my family and providing a wonderful life for my daughter. ¬†It’s hard work, it really is. ¬†But to know that I am completely 100% self-sustained and my daughter doesn’t want for anything (beyond “ICE CREAM MAN MOOOOM”) makes me proud. ¬†I’ve done it all on my own, and now my home is even more stable and loving with Ryan in it. ¬†You all know how messed up my thinking had got there for a while. ¬†I’ll admit it, purely to prove that you can get through it. ¬†Especially if you have kids. ¬†Because of that though, I’m pretty tough on other single moms.

I’m sure you know the stereotype. ¬†Mom with a scraggly looking kid, standing in line at the welfare office, nails done, hair dyed, brand spanking new iPhone5 in her hand. ¬†I *hate* that stereotype. ¬†Actually, hate is a pretty mild way of putting it. ¬†I do everything I can to not be that mom. ¬†I busted my ass to get on my own two feet and give my daughter a better life. ¬†I just want to scream when I see it, or even more so when people are¬†surprised¬†that a young mom like me isn’t on welfare.

I have nothing against welfare, I truly don’t. ¬†I used SNAP benefits for 6 months after I threw my ex-husband out. ¬†Later on I lost a job and used SNAP benefits for a little over a month. ¬†Welfare is there as a step up, to give you that hand that you need when you’re super down on your luck. ¬†Without those benefits, food was too expensive to pay for and my utilities fell behind. ¬†It’s useful, it’s there for you to use.

However, it’s not there for you to live on.

When I met Ry, him and his ex-wife had officially parted ways (after being separated for months) a couple months before. ¬†It seems really amicable, everyone got along. ¬†I was on “Team-Single-Mom”, I felt for her, even though her ex still was very active in her child’s life… I could understand. ¬†As time passed, real attitudes and personalities started coming out and I distanced myself. ¬†I didn’t want to be that woman who picked fights with an ex-wife. ¬†It’s annoying, and I’m an ex-wife too, I could still understand… couldn’t I?

I tried really hard to keep my mouth shut but after¬†awhile¬†I started piping up. ¬†During her days, her son stayed at his grandmothers house. ¬†She had claimed she was working long hours at the bar, but after a little investigating (the whole knowing everyone thing comes in handy) we found out she spent equal time drinking. ¬†I still tried to remind myself, freedom is delicious after a failed marriage. ¬†I still liked going to the bar… I tried to forget the fact that I came home every night and never left before the kiddo was fast asleep and tucked in.

One day, her son told me, “I miss my mom, I haven’t seen her in more than a week.” The judgement was made. ¬†It was final. ¬†I was not a fan. ¬†Yes, I went out, a lot even. ¬†I got that, I¬†understood¬†that more than anyone else could… but I still spent every moment I possibly could with my daughter. ¬†Hell, I *STILL* get upset when Nood goes to school/summer camp. ¬†Anyone who could leave their kid “because it was easier” at their parents for days on end was not cool in my book.

I gave up on beating that horse. ¬†It’s been two years and he still sees his grandmother more than his mom. ¬†I finally just resigned myself to this thought… when her son grows up, he’ll find out the truth eventually. ¬†Then the only person she’ll have to face is the shame from her own kid. ¬†She just has to grow up.

So then the “gimme-gimmes” started. ¬†I’ve always offered to buy clothes or his baseball shit, but we started getting calls for random stuff. ¬†The latest was six-flags passes. ¬†I finally had to put my foot down. ¬†Absolutely-fucking-not.

We don’t splurge like that in my household, I am not splurging like that outside of it. ¬†Maybe when the kids get older, but right now it’s not a necessity, and it’s not in my budget. ¬†She then started harping on how we should pay for school registration… after we paid for the school supplies (she was supposed to pay registration). ¬†She says $180 is too much for her. ¬†Considering I pay $180 a week for daycare/summer camp (It was $190 for Kindergarten), I don’t have too much sympathy, I still have to pay Noodle’s school registration for next year next week.

So I snapped. ¬†I told her that since she is on food stamps (3 plus years now), gets medical, free childcare and free utilities she will be fine. ¬†I am more than willing to help her if she ever gets her own utilities and falls behind not to mention anything the kiddo needs. ¬†Needs, not wants. ¬†I have no problem splurging for wants, but money isn’t growing on a tree here. ¬†I can’t pay for things like passes, when I have bills to pay.

I told her that if she can present me with a literal bill or invoice (for things like baseball, school, supplies, etc) I will pay them, but I will not be giving her cold-hard-cash when she hasn’t gotten a job that can support her son yet. ¬†As long as she’s on welfare, I will be paying anything the kid needs direct. ¬†I am not a walking wallet, and I am *not* going to support a welfare mom.

I am sick and tired of it to be blunt. ¬†I managed to pull myself up and fix my life, so can she. ¬†Her son depends on it. ¬†So unfortunately I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of calls or texts whining for money, but the difference is, I’m good at saying no. ¬†I’m good at budgeting and I am well aware of what living within your means is.

I signed up for this to step up for the kids. ¬†I signed up to love my family, not to give my hard earned paycheck for a night at the bar. ¬†I hope this is a wake up call for her. ¬†She needs to be a better mom, I know she can, she just has to step up and do it. ¬†It’s going to be a long few months, but hopefully refusing to enable welfare-life gives her the reality-check she desperately needs.

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A Working Mom’s Exasperation

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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.]

An Open Letter To The Ex-Wives

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[Explanation: ¬†This is not a hack on all single mothers or all ex-wives. ¬†This is for those women who divorce a man for whatever reason but then refuse to let go. ¬†This is for the women who get mad when things start going right for the man that *they* walked out on. This is for those mothers who spend too much money on¬†frivolous¬†shit and then complain when they don’t have money for their half of their child’s¬†necessities. ¬†Take offense if you must but if you do, think about why you’re offended. ] [ This is also not a dig on mothers who want their ex-husbands to pay child support or their half of the child’s expenses. ¬†I am also a mother, who unfortunately has an ex-husband who doesn’t pay a dime. ]

 

Hey you,

Yeah you. ¬†I’m sure this will get around to you some how. ¬†Someone you know will see it and link it to you, and that’s okay. ¬†I’m cool with that. ¬†I am also writing this so other ex-wives understand what they have signed up for.

I just wanted to explain something to you.  I am an ex-wife too, I, like you decided to end my marriage and continue on, on my own.  More power to you!  However, there are consequences to your actions, especially when your ex-husband decides to enter a long-term relationship with a girl like me.

I am a single mother. ¬†I do it all with out any child-support or assistance from the state (not that that is wrong, unless you abuse it… ahem). ¬†I have worked my ass off to get to where I am today, which includes a mortgage, car, as well as day to day expenses. ¬†I am proud of the fact that I’ve managed to make it this far, and if my accomplishments bother you, too bad.

So lets get down to what is bothering you then shall we?

From what I guess, you’re kind of salty that the man you divorced is living a stable and happy life. ¬†My mistake, but what you could do is maybe get a “real” job, you know one with benefits and hours that let you actually spend time with your kid. ¬†You know, the kind where you don’t drink *and* pay your taxes? ¬†It’s not his fault that you’re broke and it’s not my fault that you’re in the same place as you were when you left him.

Speaking of money. ¬†I’ve told you numerous times that I’ll give you half of the money that is needed for something. ¬†I offered to pay for half of the school supply package, I have no problem paying half of baseball, I have no problem buying the kid clothes. ¬†Hell, I called you a little over a week ago and asked what clothes he needed, “Just maybe some basketball shorts, he’s fine other than that.” ¬†Apparently you forgot that information since “Well he needs a whole new wardrobe” popped up today. ¬†I am not a fool. ¬†I will not be bailing you out of whatever financial hole you have gotten yourself into. ¬†One of the consequences of getting a divorce is becoming financially independent. ¬†It’s called budgeting.

Also, as you may now know, money does not grow on trees. ¬†I understand that you want to send your child to some camp that magically costs $400 (which by the way, I have internet, you shouldn’t lie). ¬†We unfortunately do not see that as reasonable, so we cannot come up with that large of a sum of money. ¬†We do have bills to pay, remember, we’re *not* on welfare? ¬†As a mother myself, I cannot favor one child over another, and since I cannot afford to send my daughter to camp, I cannot afford to send your kid either. ¬†I’m a huge fan of avoiding favoritism.

Also, I need you to remember that you’re the EX. ¬†You are no longer apart of my boyfriends life. ¬†You left him, so there should be no bitching. ¬†I can’t believe that he has repeatedly had to explain to you that he doesn’t want to hear about your day. ¬†There is no need for daily phone calls unless it is from his child or about his child. ¬†I need you to realize that beyond the fact that you’re still alive and at least attempting to provide your child with a good life, neither of us care. ¬†I’m sorry this seems to bother you so much, but you’d think after 2 years you would’ve gotten used to this. ¬†I’ve tried to stay out of it, but apparently you need to hear it from me as well. ¬†I will call you if I have to, and as you already have learned, I will tell you what’s on my mind, how things work with me, and you will listen… again.

You know, we’ve already had this conversation once. ¬†I figured you’d get it, but apparently not. ¬†I realize that there is an adjustment period to getting over the fact that your ex-husband is happy with out you, but honey it’s been 2 years. ¬†Time to get moving. ¬†You can call me the wicked-step-mother or whatever you may, because frankly it doesn’t bother me. ¬†You just need to realize that I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to stay, and I am most definitely not a fool. ¬†The man you left has changed as well, he’s made himself stronger and refuses to be a doormat again.

So I guess what it comes down to is – Suck it up buttercup, because this is the way it is.

 

Sincerely,

A very aggravated girlfriend.