Let me introduce myself: Sort of single parent (we coparent, 50/50, ie: no child support), full time student, currently staying at mom's house and paying her rent. I made the decision to cut my hours at work down to essentially, still employed but no longer scheduled, last fall to return to school full time. It was by far the best and worst decision I've ever made - on one hand, I'm pulling a 4.0 and have deeply invested myself in both my department (English) and the Women's Resource Center where I am a program coordinator for student parents. I'm feeling absolutely confident in continuing my MA here with a GAship once I finish my undergrad, which will be somewhere between next summer ('12) and fall. On the other hand, I'm strapped financially. The drive from my mother's house to school is about 35 minutes and filling up my gas tank every 4 days is taking its toll. My daughter has been extra explosive since the school workload picked up, and she seems to be struggling at my mother's house - bedtime is an epic battle, probably because she wants more momma time, but also because she's not an incredibly independent/self-directed kid - she likes to be the center of the universe, with all her fans doting on her princess self, and so on. :)
I need a change, and so I thought I'd look into family housing on/near campus - my university has two apartment options, neither of which are ideal (no laundry), and the cost is only *slightly* less than any old two bedroom apartment in the area. I've tried living on student loans before and it was really awful - by the time the semester was done, I was down to nothing and the stress was unbearable. I suppose my question is this: if you've been here before, how did you do it? How did you make ends meet while finishing school? I have work study as my only income right now, which is about $120 every two weeks. Nothing substantial enough to rely on, and we do get EBT. The low-income housing assistance programs here have waitlists that stretch past the several year mark, so that isn't an option. We can continue to stay with my mother but remain 30 miles from everything (school, dd's dad, friends), or we could try finding a place near school but have an increased rent cost and I'm not confident that we can pull it off.
Please, share your thoughts. My sanity is on the line here, mamas! I'm having one of those days in which I feel totally paralyzed - like I'm *never* going to be able to get by on my own - what if I get offered a GAship an hour or two away, and *have* to move? Will I be able to afford it? And so on, and so forth, and on, and on.