kind of a spin-off ~~ almost seems like a conspiracy.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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... to keep the poor folk down.


yes, i think this has been mentioned here before. (but of course without a search function i can't go browsing for any. ) ~ that someone starts out from a not-so-well-off family... and then is hit with poor luck or maybe makes a few bad decisions (or some combination of the two).

so she (or he) tries to find a job.

but nobody will hire them without experience.... except very low-wage jobs. so she goes to work flipping burgers... and in the meantime decides to go back to school.

but guess what? now she is trying to make ends meet on a very low income, working as hard as she can as many hours as she can for all the spare change she can accquire, AND now has schoolwork to do.


can it be done? of course, but not easily. there is a tremendous drop-out / failure rate among even non-parents in college.

but now take that same situation and add a kid or two. even one.

let's say this poor, down on her luck girl has two kids and the father just left her and refuses to pay child support. or, is paying child support and it's being taken by the state (which happened to one of my sisters btw ~ she finally got the father to pay child support and the state took it).

she finds a low-paying job.

she qualifies for subsidized housing... so she moves in. only to find the walls rotting, problems with the water heater, no dishwasher (which, for any of you who have lived without dishwashers, eats up a TON of time), and rats (or some other infestation). (i'm NOT saying all subsidized housing is this bad. but all of the subsidized housing around my area is, including what i've living in.)

now she has to put her child in day care full time, and probably hire a baby sitter as well in order just to work to pay rent, utilities, food.

and she wants to go back to school, to get a degree ~ which may or may not guarantee a job! but she knows that "she needs to try."


so she puts her child in maybe another day care as well ~~ the one the kid is at while the mother is at work... and the one on campus.

... then after school, or after work, she picks up her kid, rushes home, tries to cook a meal, clean the kitchen (i'm sure we've all heard the horror stories of CPS taking away kids from homes just because they weren't clean enough!).... and after all of that, try to do her school work, and do a stellar job in order to pass her classes well enough to get a degree in a decent amount of time.

can she do it?
with no support? no family members? no network of friends to lean on? in a job that refuses to pay a living wage to it's workers? and having to buy schoolbooks on top of everything else...?

:

it should be apparant how society reinforces negative cycles....



... ahhh ok i could keep going on about this but i want to hear what you all want to say.

----

some further reading material for the uninformed or interested ~

The Working Poor (Shipler)
Nickle and Dimed (Ehrenrich)
Culture as Given, Culture as Choice (Van der Elst)
Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
Solutions to Social Problems: Lessons from Other Societies
Mirror for Humanity (Kottack)
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#2 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:18 AM
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I couldn't do it!! PROPS to mom's who could! ITA that I think women in that situation you explained, often can't get a job anywhere but a fast food joint or a place like Wal*Mart and aren't paid well and never get ahead.

There are government programs out there that pay for college and childcare, help with utilities, etc. But they are very time consuming and hard to get approved for. I can tell you this. My mom barely has enough money keep "ahead", and yet seh doesn't qualify for any assistance because she makes "too much". But what they don't realize is that she has to pay rent, car payment, car ins (which is BullSHIAT, how can they expect ppl to pay so much for car ins!!?), water, sewer, garbage, gas, electricity, cell phone, internet, child care, food, gas, medical, school loans, etc etc etc!!
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#3 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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myself ~~ i was working nearly full time (no benefits)... going to school full time (i managed to squeeze in enough units to qualify as "full time" just two days a week.... but those were Loooong days)... and there is NO way i could have done it without the kids' dad watching them during the day. still, we don't qualify for most types of assistance, because *i'm* the one outside the home working and going to school. the only way we could have gotten assistance is if he also took a full time job. : and they would have paid for daycare, gas/transportation.... but what would that have meant for the kids?

and now that i'm off work on disability it's even worse, because i'm not supposed to even look for other work, and i'm tied up in the courts. there's no way i can afford car insurance, and even if i COULD i couldn't afford gas for my car.

and it's going to be at LEAST another 4 semesters or so until i get my degree, probably more if i have to work also (because i refuse to do second-rate academic work just so i can get the units in faster)....


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#4 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:31 AM
 
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"can she do it?
with no support? no family members? no network of friends to lean on? in a job that refuses to pay a living wage to it's workers? and having to buy schoolbooks on top of everything else...?"

hi! thats pretty much me! hows it going?:

me: currently laying on livingroom floor having the biggest pity party on earth while inhaling the odor of my dirty catbox and trying not to look at the pile of dishes.
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#5 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:37 AM
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QUOTE:
me: currently laying on livingroom floor having the biggest pity party on earth while inhaling the odor of my dirty catbox and trying not to look at the pile of dishes.

*LOL*

Stirringleaf, are you really ME??? I'm doing the exact same thing!! :
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#6 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:38 AM
 
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thats strangely comforting. im crying alot. are you crying?


lol this is funny to me, to ask that. lololol
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#7 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:39 AM
 
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Perhaps in that kind of situation she would have to make different choices. Wait till the kid(s) are in school so that she doesn't have to pay full days worth of childcare for instance. Maybe find other ways to bring in money (paper route?) where she could bring the kids. Maybe move to a place with a lower cost of living or more available jobs. Here the jobs far outweigh the workers in the service industry and so they all pay above min. wage. Move closer to work/school and get a job on campus to lower transportation costs. Take her courses online. Choose a career that pays good enough and takes less time to complete even though it isn't quite her dream job.

Being poor sucks and it is hard to get ahead, but sometimes you have to focus on the long-term success and sacrifice the short term goals.


 

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#8 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:46 AM
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Not currently crying, but yes, I get to that point all the time, lol
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#9 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:55 AM
 
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after i go get my bic mac i am going to go head out on my paper route.

dunno who will watch ds... maybe my stbx will come over from his date with his girlfriend? maybe i should just ask the neighbor.

:

i think i should make some different choices. like just stay a cook for life and be a lesbian. thats what i am thinking right about now. then i will move to where there is lower cost of living.. although i would probably get in trouble for taking my son away from his dad... and then i should really just get an associates in fashion merchandising instead of becoming an english professor. probably. thats probably a more realistic long term plan.
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#10 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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s stirringleaf + Kat.



ahhh well. i'm going to bed. it takes more than one night to change the world, ne?
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#11 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 11:46 AM
 
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re: Moving to where there's a lower cost of living...usually where there's a lower cost of living, there are also NO jobs.

Kudos to all the mamas that are trying with no help!
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#12 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 12:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkenny
re: Moving to where there's a lower cost of living...usually where there's a lower cost of living, there are also NO jobs.
: My town is fairly cheap, when compared to lots of other places. The reason is- there is NOTHING around here. You can work in fast food, walmart (or 2 other grocery stores in the next town over), or one of a few factories. The cost of living has to be low, or else it would be a ghost town. It's just low enough where I can scrape by (with the help of low income housing, food stamps, and medicaid for ds), but not low enough for me to actually get ahead.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#13 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkenny
re: Moving to where there's a lower cost of living...usually where there's a lower cost of living, there are also NO jobs.

Kudos to all the mamas that are trying with no help!
: I should also add that the very act of relocating can be a costly act and in the end could cost more than where this Mama is already located. Dh & I moved from Chicago to Maine 4 years ago and while technically Maine is cheaper, let me say that really that has not been the case. The move itself cost close to 10K, then there was just all the other crap that relocating involves, when its all said and done, financially I would have done better to stay in Chicago but this was not a move done for financial reasons so I need to be here.

To the OP, yeah it does seem like a conspiracy at times. While I was never quite in the same boat as the Mama you described, I did come from a low income situation years ago and used education to get ahead. Well a BA & M.Ed later plus 100K in student loan debts, I can attest to the fact that education alone will not move you ahead. Let's face it you need to know people to get ahead (ole boy system anyone?), I saw first hand in grad school that good grades did not equal good paying gig. There were people in my dept who were azz kissers and who knew the "right" people and guess what they have far better jobs than me. Granted I am not complaining, I teach pt at a career/trade school, I get paid a decent wage and the hours allow me to stay home days with dd and not use daycare. The crazy thing is I needed the education to get the gig but really pay wise its no where near what someone would expect of someone with 100K in student loans. (consolidated on the 30 year plan I should add ).

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#14 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 01:11 PM
 
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Lafayette IN. Low cost of living, at least 4 major factories*, a ton of retail, 3 different temp agencies that are constantly busy, and a University that is constantly hiring for *something* and gives its employees a %50 discount on classes.

Daycare in town sucks.

And there is the tiny detail of a curse on the place which basically says that if you live here long enough you'll never leave.

*significant because the people working at the factories aren't competing for other jobs
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#15 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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Yup. Story of my life. Dh finally makes what should be reasonable pay, but we are so in debt from living off credit cards when we made $7k a year, student loan debt for him, paying my tuition, paying daycare, the high cost of living here, moving across the country ($4k), and gas and food and we are broke. The house is a pig sty because I am so depressed that I CAN NOT even find a crappy fast food job. I have applied for 20 jobs, but still no luck. I have years of healthcare experience, 4 certifications, etc., but here in NC none of that means squat. So I am over qualified for most jobs, but unqualified for the rest. Not to mention the $11k in student loans I may need to take out this fall for school-which doesn't even cover what is not covered by scholarships.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to get ahead.

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#16 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 02:52 PM
 
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I have heard lafayette is pretty nice. I used to live in central IL. But it's impossible to get ahead there when noone gets paid didly and all the factories that pay decently are closing down.

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#17 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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Possibly a conspiracy. This pretty much sums up my Mom's life:
Quote:
My mom barely has enough money keep "ahead", and yet seh doesn't qualify for any assistance because she makes "too much". But what they don't realize is that she has to pay rent, car payment, car ins (which is BullSHIAT, how can they expect ppl to pay so much for car ins!!?), water, sewer, garbage, gas, electricity, cell phone, internet, child care, food, gas, medical, school loans, etc etc etc!!
Except minus the cell phone, internet, child care and school loans.

In reality, we have my dad and his addiction to drinking and gambling to blame. But sometimes I like to pass the buck. Any takers?

Jen, Mom to DS (8) , DD (5) & Alli
(1-04) (8-09)
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#18 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by klothos
no dishwasher (which, for any of you who have lived without dishwashers, eats up a TON of time),
I'm sorry, but I don't see how this little detail contributes to the whole scenario. I lived my whole life w/o a dishwasher (until 2 years ago). Not a big deal at all. Now, if you had said "no indoor plumbing" (like my dh spent his early years without), then I'd understand.

I know that's not the point of your thread, but I just wanted to comment on that.

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#19 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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I'm waiting til my son is in school full time before I try to 'better myself' (education and/or good job). I just don't see it hapenning now for me.
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#20 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama
Perhaps in that kind of situation she would have to make different choices.
Choices. That's the garbage they sell us, the upper class folk who want us to believe that the misery in our lives is all the fault of our lousy "choices." There just aren't that many options on the bottom rungs of the ladder.

If we would all put our energies into changing our society and the way it operates, particularly the way it neglects families, instead of condemning women for their "choices," we just might...well, I'm no idealist, but at least we could be a little more constructive.

I've been there, where this rhetorical woman is. I was alone, broke, uneducated, with two little kids. The difference was, I had a family with the resources and the willingness to help. I can't even imagine how things would have been if I hadn't had them to back me up and help us out.

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#21 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 04:32 PM
 
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s and support to all of the mamas who have it hard..
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#22 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 05:07 PM
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That was me 27 years ago, I couldn't do it, and I'm going back to school now that I'm (cough-cough,) 46 and my youngest is 7.

Is it easy?

NO.

But I love it and feel bad I wasn't able to go to school sooner.

I keep harping on my kids because I don't want them to try supporting a family without a college education.

I'm really starting to believe that college education is, more often than not, the dividing line between the, "haves," and "have-not's."

And, to answer the question, YES!! I believe it's a method to keep poor people in their place.
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#23 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trini
I'm sorry, but I don't see how this little detail contributes to the whole scenario. I lived my whole life w/o a dishwasher (until 2 years ago). Not a big deal at all. Now, if you had said "no indoor plumbing" (like my dh spent his early years without), then I'd understand.

I know that's not the point of your thread, but I just wanted to comment on that.

because if you're working 8 hours a day, going to school, and trying to raise kids, that extra time you spend just washing dishes is time you're NOT spending studying, or reading to your kids, or even just laying down and relaxing for five or ten minutes.

and if you don't spend that extra time -- if instead you choose to keep a messy kitchen and home in order to read to your kids, spend time with them, and also pay attention to your schoolwork, CPS can step in and say that you're unfit to be a parent and take them away for having a messy home.


time is the luxury of the well-off. THAT'S how it's relevant here.
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#24 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 07:13 PM
 
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There is def. a system in place to keep the poor poorer. The wealthy talk about it, admit to it, and we still have to debate this? The rich look out for other rich, while the poor look out for...not even themselves, a lot of times. Unity is the main problem and difference btn. the two, outside of resources.

Personally, I believe in helping the system help me. I get on TANF when X isn't paying support like he's been court-ordered to and get the prosecutor after him in the meantime. As soon as he's in court, he starts paying and then, I'm off TANF before they get the opportunity to take my support in exchange. That way, the TANF I got gets added to his arrearage and I get my support on time. In the meantime, I'm in school and getting extra loans to live on in the lean moments and I don't work outside my home b/c I don't want my kids in daycare. A friend watches them the few hours a week I am in class and I sign up for as many online classes as possible, so I only have to be on-campus a very minimum of time.

Of course, I think my situation is the exception and not the rule. I live in an area where I can take online classes and I can get my caseworkers to talk to me quickly and I can go to the courthouse whenever I want and they actually get things done in a timely fashion. I had my kids in daycare last semester and I was getting state funding and it was better than it could have been, but still not good for my kids.

Long-term goals? Was she serious? My long-term goals include my kids growing up knowing they are vital in the world. Which means I want to be able to be with them as close to 24 hours a day as possible. There is no system set up to help a woman with that in the US. She's gotta figure it out completely on her own given the variable resources in her immediate environment. For lots of ppl, that's a huge impediment, b/c they don't have many useable resources in their immediate environments.

And, moving costs money. When you're poor, money is not in large supply. Eat this month or move? What kind of question is that? And, as others have addressed, low cost of living usually equals few job opps. (Lafayette, IN is better than lots of places, but still has it's disadvantages, and is, at best, a lateral move for a single-parent household. Depending on your lifestyle, of course. For many on this board, doing NFL and AP, it can be a huge challenge, esp. if ppl give up friends and family to come here. This is not the easiest place to get to know like-minded ppl. Mostly, b/c there aren't many and ppl tend to like to be busy here, to make up for the absence of anything real to sink their teeth into.)
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#25 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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Hi! I went to college, and graduate school. Last year dh got laid off (which wasn't A HUGE DEAL at first, as he only worked part time anyway, to watch the kids). I applied for food stamps and was rejected because my dh was getting paid $163 too much per month in unemployment..

First year teachers get paid LOADS, yeah right.. My required health insurance premiums, union dues, etc. eat up about $1000 a month out of my paycheck, and I can't opt out of that..

I did everything that *society* says I should to get somewhere, and it still didn't help.
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#26 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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Maybe I should go to work for Phillip Morris, or Nestle..
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#27 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 07:39 PM
 
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just a note about dishwashers... we own our home and have NO dishwasher. We can certainly afford one but it doesn't fit in our kitchen, it doesn't really go with the way the kitchen is made. I like not having one, now.

back on the topic, I think it's true. It's awful that if you're born in a well-off family, then you have it much easier (most of the time) than if you're not. It's sad and it makes me wonder and ask why. Why is life so unfair? Some people don't work or do anything to make $$ and are wealthy anyway. Some people work hard their whole lives and still cannot make ends meet. Add children to the mix, a bad marriage, no support, etc.. and it's just terrible. I realize and thank God everyday for how lucky I am that I do have a supportive family, a husband that is able to work so I stay home with the kids, and resources to fall on if anything bad happens, but I can't stop thinking why me and why someone else doesn't have the same things if I'm clearly not better than them.
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#28 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klothos
because if you're working 8 hours a day, going to school, and trying to raise kids, that extra time you spend just washing dishes is time you're NOT spending studying, or reading to your kids, or even just laying down and relaxing for five or ten minutes.

and if you don't spend that extra time -- if instead you choose to keep a messy kitchen and home in order to read to your kids, spend time with them, and also pay attention to your schoolwork, CPS can step in and say that you're unfit to be a parent and take them away for having a messy home.


time is the luxury of the well-off. THAT'S how it's relevant here.
I think (from what I have heard) that CPS doesn't take the kids away because of a "messy" home, but a "dirty" one that is simply not safe/suitable for a child to live in. I'm not defending CPS, I *know* a lot of times they screw up and get the "wrong person", but a messy home and a dirty home are 2 different things. Yes, I clean my house, but not all the time does my house look like a home "should" look like, all the toys put away, the table cleared, etc.. but it's clean. sometimes cluttered and messy, but clean. (I've heard of local CPS cases where there was human feces all over the floor, roaches all over the food/beds, obviously not a place where a child should live in)
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#29 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan
Lafayette IN. Low cost of living, at least 4 major factories*, a ton of retail, 3 different temp agencies that are constantly busy, and a University that is constantly hiring for *something* and gives its employees a %50 discount on classes.

Daycare in town sucks.

And there is the tiny detail of a curse on the place which basically says that if you live here long enough you'll never leave.

*significant because the people working at the factories aren't competing for other jobs
I was born there and lived there until I was 18 My parents still live there. I hated it when I was a teenager but it was actually a pretty nice place to grow up! You're right though, there are a lot of jobs that don't require much in the way of previous skills but provide a living wage for the area.
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#30 of 53 Old 07-09-2006, 09:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loving-my-babies
I think (from what I have heard) that CPS doesn't take the kids away because of a "messy" home, but a "dirty" one that is simply not safe/suitable for a child to live in. I'm not defending CPS, I *know* a lot of times they screw up and get the "wrong person", but a messy home and a dirty home are 2 different things. Yes, I clean my house, but not all the time does my house look like a home "should" look like, all the toys put away, the table cleared, etc.. but it's clean. sometimes cluttered and messy, but clean. (I've heard of local CPS cases where there was human feces all over the floor, roaches all over the food/beds, obviously not a place where a child should live in)
most of the low cost housing around here comes with roaches already...

also with the dishwasher thing... i need to do dishes right now but i cant because my baby is being clingy and i cant put her down for the 10 or so minutes it would take for me to scrub my dishes(sling isnt working atm)
if i had a dishwasher id imagine i could put the dishes in it quickly enough that the little one wouldnt be crying for too long but im not going to let her cry for 10 minutes to do the dishes...
and if you dont do the dishes you run the risk of roaches...
what if there was old chocolate cake or something smeared on the floor... they would probably assume it was feces...

its a possibility because this woman barely has time to mother her children. if she puts them before housework its an enevitability...
my mom has been going to school since i was 4. she gave up so many times. single mother with two kids 2 and 4 when she starts... i remember playing on the college campus picking crabapples to eat, picking mulberries from the tree down the street... getting dinner from my moms backpack of things she smuggled out of the school cafeteria or an all you can eat restaurant...
we had food stamps, tribal funding, signed up for every single program for help but it was really hard, even for us kids.
i was thrust into responsibility very early to just help us survive.
my mom did make alot of mistakes but she graduated and got her bachelors degree.... and now... she cant find a job...
sucks doesnt it?

when my dd starts eating solids im going to try to go back to school... i know it will be easier for me because i have my family support and my dp helping me. but my heart goes out to all the mamas right now trying to work and go to school. i wish i could find them and come clean thier house or something...

i think its misleading when people say 'its not easy' i think that 'its a millimeter short of impossible' sums up the experience better.

Mother to Sandrel(oct 2003) and Liesl(mar 2006) and someone new coming February 2013

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