Originally Posted by MarineWife
It can be very difficult to get services that truly help. When I was a young, single parent, the one thing I really needed was regular, free childcare so I could get those breaks. Since I didn't live close to my mother, I didn't have that. I was involved with social services through the WIC, food stamp, medicaid and child support programs and never once was I told there was any kind of free respite care for me or my child. I was already paying for daily childcare while I worked and went to school. I could not afford to pay a babysitter to watch my child some nights or weekends for a few hours on top of that. In addition to that, I didn't know anyone I trusted enough to leave my child with. I tried to get my son into the Head Start program. It was free preschool for underprivileged children. I assumed we were underprivileged since we were poor and eligible to receive all the social services we received. I was told my child was basically too smart for the Head Start program.
Even now with my dh in the military I am essentially a single parent for months to a year+ at a time. Because I don't vaccinate I cannot take advantage of the free respite care provided to parents and children of deployed spouses/parents. I don't live close enough to my mom to have her watch my kids. I cannot afford to pay a babysitter on a regular basis to watch my children. Plus, going out isn't something that recharges me. I need to be able to relax at home without interruption or being constantly aware that my children are here and may need me. I don't even get that enough when my dh is home. I don't feel comfortable trading child care with another parent for various reasons. So, I'm kind of stuck. Luckily, I have not gotten to the point where I felt like I was on the verge of doing something horrible but I can see how that could happen if you feel like you have no support.
I understand how difficult it can be to never get a break but even if you are on food stamps or something like that it is not the responsibility of taxpayers to pay for you to get a break. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but social safety net programs are in place to provide basic needs - babysitters so parents can have time alone is not a basic need the way food or shelter is.
My husband is military too. When he's deployed I have no help at all with our four kids. When he spent a year overseas I spent 4 months without a break then five days of help from family coming in from out of state, then nearly eight months without a break. I would often stay up half the night to have time alone. Like you I'm not able to use respite care because the kids are not vaccinated. I've tried to get a waiver but haven't been able to find one. I've tried to find a babysitter but the only ones who are willing to babysit are either 12 years old (no way could they safely watch four kids) or ask the same as the hourly rate base daycare providers charge. I'd like a break but $5 per hour per child plus an extra $2 per hour for each child in diapers. That's $24 per hour plus the cost of buying a breast pump, bottles, disposable diapers (they will not take kids in cloth diapers), and so on. I tried to trade care with other parents but no one was willing to watch four kids at once.
I know almost all parents want to take breaks at some point but it doesn't always happen.