My blog is suffering… but we all are lately. The kids and I have been battling little sicknesses here and there since before Christmas, and I have a cough straight from the pits of hell that will not get out of my chest. I’ll either get better or die. The doctor is not an option until I’m closer to death because its expensive. And we have no money to spend on crap like doctors and medicine and electricity. Fun times in the life of us.
Speaking of life, a trending question among the concerned and sometimes just nosy surrounding us is, “Chass, what are you going to do with your life?” Well, folks, luckily I have some options, and here they are:
#1) I can get a job working full-time making $12 an hour 8 am to 5 pm, which translates to $23,040 per year before taxes. I spend at least $10,560 on childcare per year, which leaves me with $12,480 per year to live on with option #1. Let’s subtract rent, which at the very least is $750 per month, totaling $9,000 per year, leaving us with $3,480 to live on, before taxes, after childcare and rent are subtracted. I’ve gotten out groceries down to $300ish a month, totaling $3,600 per year. That leaves us -$120 per year, before taxes and after childcare, rent and groceries. Moral of the story: At $12 an hour, the kids and I can have daycare, a place to live and minimal groceries, but we will not have gas, insurance, electricity, or running water. Option #1 can’t work.
#2) I can be a prostitute. This would give me more than $12 an hour (I have references), but the risk of STDs, bodily harm (remember, doctors and medicine is expensive…) and definitely not working 8am to 5 pm won’t work for the kids. I can’t be walking into PTA meetings or karate looking like one giant herpes sore or bruised and beat up. Oh, and its illegal in Texas and also Jesus frowns on it. So option #2 is out, also.
#3) I can live off of the government. Welfare, otherwise known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is a thing, I’ve heard. I can pass the required drug test, if caffeine doesn’t count. The maximum benefit for a family of three consisting of one parent and two children in the household is $260 per month. That’s a joke. We’ve established that won’t even cover minimal groceries. Also, paternity information is required for all children in the household. While I obviously know who my babies’ daddy is, you must have an open child support case with the attorney general’s office (case number required when applying) in order to receive any benefits. The state wants to make sure you’ve exhausted the option of child support before they hand you any money. I get that, but what if, hypothetically speaking, Mr. Paternity is incarcerated and has voluntarily relinquished all parental rights? Well, citizens, there isn’t a check box for that one. The Health and Human Services’ gears get all jammed and no one has answers for that scenario. So, even if we qualified for public assistance and it was enough for us to squeak by on temporarily, we can’t get it. Ever. Because we can’t file for child support. Because my divorce and custody papers tell me specifically I can’t. Because my kids legally have only a mother and no father. BUT, the state of Texas insists that to apply for benefits, it is absolutely necessary to have a case number… Option #3, you’re pissing me off.
#4) I could be a full-time student. My FAFSA says I qualify for $20,000 in financial aid for 2014-2015. School costs $8,400 this semester. See the figures in option #1. This isn’t going to add up nicely, either.
So, in conclusion, life is expensive and there are no definite answers right now. I’m doing freelance work, applying for jobs and hopefully going to school, contingent on financial aid. We will see. I usually don’t put financial matters out there, but I’ve been getting feedback lately that is uninformed and simply ridiculous. Have I applied for jobs? Yes, hundreds all over Texas. Have I received interviews? Yes, over 25. Have I been offered jobs? Yes, several. Why haven’t I taken them? Because, see option #1. Life is expensive, and more so as the sole provider for a three and four year old. Any help we get is from the goodness of people’s hearts. No one on this big, beautiful earth is legally or financially obligated to help our family of three. This is just our world for now. I am not pretentious or too good to take a $10 or $12 an hour job. I can’t take it. My hands are tied. I can’t pay bills and support us on that. Whether I’m $200 or $2,000 short for the month, I’m still clearly short. Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, my friends.