I know this is a deal blog. I also know that I push the envelop and encourage real conversations founded to understand others. I believe if you are not uncomfortable at times you are not learning. I decided to get a little uncomfortable this week and begin to challenge public and private opinions. I will offer mine in my column which will appear on lifetime.com on Thursday. This is a story from one of my fans who asked if I would post her story because she is sick of public perception.
It was 6 ½ to 7 years ago that my husband decided that he wanted to try drugs. I was 9 months pregnant and had no idea of the behavior that he was participating in. Within 2 weeks of our daughter being born, I became suspicious of his actions. Within 6 weeks of her birth, I found out that he had quit his job and had drained our bank accounts. I learned within a few days that he was injecting meth. Times became hard for me, when he left, and did not come back home, forcing me and our new born baby to be evicted from our home.
Since that time, I have been able to pick myself up from that situation, however it has not been easy and the road is still tedious. I am a single mom with two kids now, I work full time, I have a second part time job, and I go to school full time. I am doing everything possible that I know how to better my situation not only for me, but for my kids. Despite all of that, I am still reliant upon welfare to survive in this society.
I have worked at a middle school in the Extended Resource Room, with students with disabilities. Working full time as a State employee, my W2 for 2011 was just a little under $12,000. I have since then picked up a part time job to help stabilize my income more, this job provides me with an additional $120 a month. I also go to school online to obtain my education. I have just completed my Associates degree in Elementary Education, and am continuing on to my BA in Elementary Education.
One would think that it would be easier to get a job that pays more, so then I am not so reliant upon the government for assistance. As much as I would love to be able to get off welfare, this “simple solution” is just not as simple as it sounds. A major factor is that I have my kids 100% of the time, without the support of their father. Also, my daughter has mental health disabilities that are very time consuming. She has been kicked out of over 10 different daycares. She has eloped off the school campus, as well had her school put into lockdown. She is 7 years old. My daughter requires a very unique schedule and needs to be accommodated appropriately. In addition to this, in the state of Idaho, there are very limited services to help my daughter. She obtains 4 hours a week of service from an outside agency to help teach her how to cope.
A combination of these factors, make it nearly impossible to switch jobs and ultimately a different career. It is for all of these reasons that I am dependent upon the assistance of welfare. The welfare that I do receive is limited, but I am thankful for it all the same. I get $450.00 a month for food, and I also get 80% of my daycare bill paid for. It can be very hurtful and frustrating when people judge me for being on assistance. Welfare is not something that I enjoy, nor is it something that I wish to be on forever, however, it is something that has helped my family stay afloat during these hard economic times as I continue to make advances in bettering our situation and ultimately bettering our future.