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Financial Self Realizations

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I spent the bulk of the month of July alone. The kids were at camp. I work from home. It was very quiet and it was really good for me.

Those who have been following me here at BAD know the last 4 years have been exceptionally hard. Significant loss of income, several moves, kids moving out. It has been hard.

When I met with a counselor recently to discuss, well, we went back 15 years…she immediately brought up PTSD. Not the night sweats and violent outbursts from the movies, although, I’m sure I’m guilty of those. But moreso, the extreme stress and continually being in reactive mode versus proactive.

It was an eye opening conversation. And I’ve had a lot to think about the last few weeks.

Single Income Household

As a result, I’ve done a lot of digging around on single moms and money, even wrote this post over the KidsAintCheap.com. My editor would say it’s a hot mess, but in reality that research was a jumping off point for a lot of eye opening moments for me.

It really made me realize that I have been in “emergency” mode for lack of a better term for most of the last 11 years since I became a single mom. And probably even further back then that as my ex-husband hit me for the first time 1 week after we married in the fall of 2002.

While researching single income families, from the positive side of things, it made me realize I was just thrown into this life.  There was no preparation or working up to it as so many of the experts of single income families recommend. It was just thrust upon me.

And since then, I’ve been reacting to every new emergency, decision, move or change with no thought to planning. I know you are probably saying, well duh, Hope, but this realization has been so eye opening for me.

Financial Self Realizations

It has also been very helpful to know that I am not alone in my struggle. Seriously, do you know how many times I hear about other single mom’s who father-in-law bought them a house to live in after the split or whose parents stayed close to help out? My experience has been quite the opposite, I have truly been alone in this since day 1.

single mom statistics

Statistics from Single Mother Guide

And as qualified as I am for work and as focused as I have been on getting work, well, it’s much easier than it seems. I think between typical W2 jobs and contract jobs including those through Upwork and Guru, I have probably applied for upwards of 500 jobs in the last 5 months alone.

But look at these statistics, over 1/3 of moms in my same position are struggling. And worse than that, the mothers like me are raising over 25% of children under 18. This is a problem.

A Plan is Forming

I am still digging out of my head and all these new realizations and thoughts. And I’m also still digging into what it means to be a single income family. Not from the poverty, whoa is me, single mom point of view, but from the this is the choice I want to make, what do I do.

It’s just a change in perspective. And even though I’m starting late, I’m embracing this choice, this single income life. And now I need to catch up from the last 11 years of being reactive and start being proactive.

Warning: questions forthcoming…

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Twin Update

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Several BAD readers have asked for a twin update. This is more of a personal update than a money update, so please skip if not interested.

Back Story

For new readers, my twins are 19 years old. They were placed with me from the US Foster Care system two weeks before their 13th birthday. After a tumultuous couple of years waiting to see if they would go home, they became my boys legally just before their 15th birthday. They were already children of my heart.

History Buff

History Buff decided not to move to Georgia with us. He ended up not completing high school and moving back in with his biological mom. Unfortunately, that did not end well and he’s moved around a lot.

It was a really rough year and a half for him. We have kept the lines of communication open and continually offer to move him down.

For a while he worked for a family friend in construction. He is now living with some friend’s and working at a local movie theater. He just purchased a “new to him” car with his tax refund. A proud moment in his life!

history buff

Sea Cadet

When Sea Cadet arrived he was at the 3rd grade level of math, and was considered special needs in the public schools. Their goal for him (which I learned at the first ISP meeting) was that he ride the public bus alone. I was shocked and horrified, and knew he would do so much more!

You can imagine my pride when he graduated high school this year with 28 college credits. He graduated with a regular diploma! He put in the work, he didn’t give up and he never let what others said keep him down.

Sea Cadet was certified for a 504 Plan when we left for Virginia (facilitates accommodations for school and work for his special needs.) But we agreed that we wanted to give it a go here without them.

He worked part time at a local coffee shop here in Georgia. And has now returned to Virginia to work at the Christian summer camp. He has worked there for the last three summers and loves it!

College Bound

When he returns in the fall he is registered to complete a EMT certification program. It requires three consecutive semesters, so he will not be able to return to the summer camp next year. After that…who knows!

I am unbelievably proud of Sea Cadet. He has blossomed here in Georgia. Begun to take on adult responsibilities, managed his schedule, registered for his college courses and followed up on his financial aid.

Financially, because he was a special needs adoption his college expenses are paid for with government aid (grants not loans.) Our goal is to get through his college years with no debt. He and I have talked extensively about what that will require.

He is also saving toward a new car since he totaled his car last fall. Thusfar, we have done okay sharing our one car. For graduation, my parents and four siblings are giving him money towards the car. We are hoping he can afford a “new to him” car in the fall.

sea cadet with graduation cake


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