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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I've been trying to figure out how to write this post and where to put this post for a week now.  I asked for a temp guest acct b/c there's only so much I can put out publicly right now.</p>
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<p>I'm not exactly a single parent yet, nor will I be a single parent forever, but it looks like my SO will be doing some prison time in the not so distant future.  The details don't matter - his offense was entirely non-violent, legal on a federal level, but the particular state involved (not the one we live in) sees things differently.  (Try to figure that one out - nvm, don't, it will give you a headache.)</p>
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<p>We don't know until "sometime in January or February" what the likely outcome is.  If he's lucky, he'll get 6 months.  The max they can give him is 10 years, but that's highly unlikely, though 5 years is within the realm of possibility.  Wouldn't say likely, but it is something a judge in this state could do if so determined.</p>
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<p><strong>My SO is the primary caretaker of our 1yo son</strong>.  He's amazing.  He's been unemployed since we lost our business 7 months ago b/c of the lousy economy, and he's just naturally fallen into the Superdaddy role.  He cooks, he cleans, he plays, he does it all.  Not saying I do nothing - only that he has willingly taken on primary household & childcare responsibilities so I can work on another business.  Aside from the legal stuff and always being broke, I consider myself to be very lucky.</p>
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<p>And that's all about to change.  Not knowing if we're looking @ 6 months or 5 years or somewhere in between is maddening enough, but how do I explain to my 1yo daddy's boy that daddy wants to be here but can't?  (Any military mamas want to help me out with that one?  I know it's different, but there are also some significant similarities.)  </p>
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<p><strong>How do I somehow go back to being #1 caretaker on top of being #1 income producer PLUS starting school for the first time next week?</strong> </p>
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<p>I don't operate well without a partner - I'm one of those highly intelligent space cadet people that sit on the front porch watching the baby giggle and eat dandelions and thinking about the cellular structure of leaves while dinner burns on the stove.  Seriously.  I have NO IDEA how I'm going to hold all the practical pieces together, not to mention the emotional pieces, and then throw the entire last year's PPD/PP anxiety into the mix, and I already feel like sinking into the abyss.</p>
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<p>For what it's worth, I'm very stubborn (which = determined, in the right situations) and financially, I'm really lucky in some ways.  Our rent, for a 4br farmhouse, is $250 a month.  My only other bills are phone/internet ($225) and electricity ($100-200).  We get Medicaid and EBT.  There's lots of usable land here for gardening and small-scale farming - but that just adds to my workload.  (insert headspin here...)</p>
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<p>On the other hand, I have no car, and live nowhere near public transportation.  I've been getting by since my car died 2 months ago w/ the help of a nearby relative.  That's not going to work forever, and I don't know yet if what I get back for school loans is going to do much for that problem,</p>
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<p>It's likely that I will end up with a roommate (that is already very close to our family), and that will help.  I've already hit up the United Way (with or without SO here, we're flat FLAT broke right now) but other than the clothes closet place they can't do much to help.  Maybe pay a back electric bill.</p>
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<p>I have no practical family support (my dad is awesome, but also broke and lives 2 hrs away).  I don't live in an area with much AP/NL community support.  Actually, I live on a lot of land at the edge of a wealthy conservative metropolitan area.  The kind of community support I'm used to in other more crunchy areas of the country is so far not to be found here.  I'd start a small single mama commune in the heartbeat if I thought I could actually pull it off, but this just isn't the area for it to come easily, and I'm really hesitant to bring more people into my child's life under less than superstable conditions.  I don't want to over-complicate.</p>
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<p>I've been extremely depressed lately, almost entirely not functioning, but somehow a ray of light cut through tonight that told me "Damnit, YOU CAN DO THIS.  Look at what you've been through before.  Now quit whining and get to work."  I just need to figure out how to juggle and set priorities without the help of a partner, which is where you all come in...?</p>
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<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"><strong>So I feel like this is all over the place, but of all the mamas on MDC, I know from past experience that you all are often the most resourceful and strongest.  There's so much more that I feel like I need to get out, but I'm trying to quit wasting my time on the static and get a better sense of focus.</strong>  I have a psych appt next week, I think 29 years of unmedicated ADD is probably enough, and if there's ever a time, it would be now.</p>
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<div>So give me what you've got, if you've got the time.  Hugs are great, but I need ass kicking, practical advice, and btdt stories even more.  THANK YOU.</div>
 

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<p>With that little rent and bills, hit up your financial aid office at your school and see how much you're getting in loans.  Go there in person.  Often if you aren't working you will qualify for enough in loans to get by (I live in NYC on school loans right now, very high COL area).  If you have low income and are willing to quit your job you may qualify for more than what they are planning to give you now - go to the school and talk to an adviser.  Lay EVERYTHING out on the table for them. </p>
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<p>You'll need to figure out a better transportation system than what you have now.  Ask about carpooling at school for part of the gas money (find other students).  Ask if there is a daycare center on campus - there may be, and it might be discounted for students.  That way, your ds will be nearby while you're in school, and if you carpool with someone they may allow you to put the carseat in their car and just leave it there (I'll be doing this with a friend soon).</p>
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<p>You also may need to look into living somewhere else, using your loan money, closer to school so that you don't have any transportation costs.  All should be doable on school loans.</p>
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<p>Good luck!!</p>
 

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<p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
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<p>I don't have much advice, but here are my thoughts...</p>
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<p>You say you may get a roommate, how likely is that? I would plan as if they won't move in just to be safe. Better to assume the worst and go by that and then possibly find out it's a little better than that, right?</p>
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<p>Look more into gardening. Talk to your neighbours. They may be willing to help you out (be it giving you advice, or helping you start it until you get the hang of it, or even giving you a few plants to start out with). Ask, ask, ask. You can post in the "digging in the earth" forum on here and ask them, I'm sure you'll get tons of great information there! You CAN eventually get it to a point where you can live mostly or solely off of what you grow, but even if you don't, every tiny bit makes a huge difference. You can also get chickens for the eggs, if you want. And you can also sell the food to make some extra money (which might be a good option since you have EBT). You can get your LO involved as he grows older and he'll love picking the fresh food and eating it that way, so you can get afternoon snack and/or dinner done that way! <span><img alt="orngbiggrin.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif"></span></p>
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<p>Call everyone you can possibly think of. DHS (they helped me with my crazy high electric bills and were willing to continue helping me beyond that because of my low income), all local charities, public housing, shelters, etc. Even places you don't need (like housing and shelters), they should still have resources. Call EVERY SINGLE public assistance place you can think of and ask them, not only what they can provide, but for every single program they can think of. When I was looking for housing assistance almost every number I called gave me the same two or three numbers, and then I happened to call one that gave me a couple totally different numbers! You just have to ask everyone. Also look into daycare assistance; DHS will likely have information on that.</p>
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<p>Does your potential roommate work? If so, do they have hours (or could either of you change your hours) that would allow them to watch your LO while you're at work? On the possibility that they don't move in, you could look for a roommate who can do this (a fellow single mom might be ideal). You can lower rent in exchange, or if it's a fellow single mom you can watch her kid(s) in exchange, or you can find some other way to compensate them for their time. </p>
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<p>And, yes, definitely look into taking care of your ADD. (This, especially, will make it hard to take advantage of gardening so you need to develop some tools to help you.) I do think meds would very likely be helpful at this point (and you don't HAVE to take them every day and/or all day - I only take them when I have something I really need to focus on and take the dose I need for however long I think I will be working). I also suggest taking omegas (I do evening primrose oil and flax seed oil, or fish oil sometimes)...they really help me with my mood and somewhat with my focus. And it may be well worth considering meds for your depression. Meds suck, yes, but sometimes they're a necessary evil. Also, diet change can help significantly with mood and ADD. Try getting more raw veggies and less dairy. You can look up in more detail what all is helpful to include or decrease/eliminate in your diet. And look up tips for managing your ADD beyond the pharmaceutical aspect. There are little "tricks" that you can use that help you remember things and become more focused. There is also a book that talks about a "hunter in a farmers world" theory. I have not read the book but my dad did when I was diagnosed with ADD (and he realized he, too, was ADD) and told me about the theory. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense! Essentially, we are "hunters." When we get interested in something, we get VERY focused, but we need to be interested. And, in those situations, we can pay attention to a million things at once because of the way our brains are naturally all over the place. But the non-ADD population are more "farmers." They can focus on things and get things done in a timely manner. They can watch the garden grow while we get bored. They can go out there every day and water the garden and do whatever else needs to be done while we have the amazing ability to forget about it for a week straight. <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"> Understanding your ADD, and seeing the positives of it and taking advantage of those positives, I think is essential to learning how to work with it. </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MDCGuest02</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289400/i-will-be-okay-need-help#post_16161385"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm one of those highly intelligent space cadet people that sit on the front porch watching the baby giggle and eat dandelions and thinking about the cellular structure of leaves while dinner burns on the stove.</p>
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Before I read the ADD part at the end, my first thought was, "Mama, that's called ADD..." <img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif"> It seriously made me <img alt="ROTFLMAO.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif"> because I COMPLETELY understand it!!! It's very, very true. I could tell you the most interesting things about how breasts make milk, down to anatomic details that send most people into a state of complete confusion, but I can't remember to get DS a snack 3 seconds after he has asked me. <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"></p>
 

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<p>For your son/his father have your DH make videos of him doing day-to-day stuff with Dad.  Take pictures of "a day in the life of" them together, have DH record stories on video (anyone with an iPhone can help you, you don't need a big fancy video recorder).  Have DH keep a journal for DS about what being away means for him, how he thinks of his son, etc. for your son to read as an adult if he has any worries about what happened during this time.  And know that kids recover but having a stable parent at home (that means medicate for the ADD) makes a world of difference in how kids do with minimal/controled contact over a period of time. </p>
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<p>What is the timeline for your husband's court case? Many take years before getting to sentencing unless there is a guilty plea so you should talk about that with your lawyer. You should focus on making a strong case for a suspended sentence or some other non-jail thing. If it is his first offence, the judge might not send him to jail or give a shorter sentence (don't forget that inmates usually get out after 1 to 2 thirds of their sentence). Since there is a huge difference between 6 months and 5 years, you will need to know a bit more before making plans.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p><br>
Thanks to all of you.  I've been reading replies, but have to be in the appropriate mood to actual deal with all this sometimes, and I'm tired of falling apart so I'm taking it day by day.</p>
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<p>Got harder #'s on school $ - will get a check in 2 weeks and will be able to buy a (cheap but reliable) car.  School is all online, so still no major transportation worries.</p>
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<p>Need to bring in $400-600/mo on top of school to really maintain w/o a roommate.  Not sure yet where the time will come from, but definitely have the earning potential.  Roommate would bring $300-400 easy.</p>
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<p>Waffling on the roommate thing.  Sometimes really feel like I need one, even just for sanity and safety (live out in the country) but also almost excited about doing this "myself" and not having to take anyone else into consideration re: household decisions except me & ds.  At the same time, again, a single mama commune idea is appealing.  Time will have to show me the way with all that - school has me covered for now, so I don't need to move too quickly on any of that - and if SO goes, it won't be for another couple months, at least.  I don't want to go into the legal side of things b/c, well, it's an open case, but his charges are in "limbo" right now and until we know who takes them (county, state, or dropped entirely) we don't know anything else.  </p>
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<p>I have already been calling LOTS of places for aid, but will get back on that this week and include churches and other places I haven't yet called.  </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>smeep</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289400/i-will-be-okay-need-help#post_16161826"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><span><img alt="hug.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"></span></p>
<p>Before I read the ADD part at the end, my first thought was, "Mama, that's called ADD..." <img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif"> It seriously made me <img alt="ROTFLMAO.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif"> because I COMPLETELY understand it!!! It's very, very true. I could tell you the most interesting things about how breasts make milk, down to anatomic details that send most people into a state of complete confusion, but I can't remember to get DS a snack 3 seconds after he has asked me. <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"></p>
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smeep especially, thanks for the ADD input, and especially this!!  Sometimes I just feel so...broken?  (Not trying to sound dramatic, just can't find the right word.)  I feel like I have all the right pieces (intelligence, determination, ethics, compassion, etc) and just can't ever get them to fit together the right way, at least not for long.  I know life is a balance, but what is so easy for some of the people around me (like short term memory and time management) is soooooo hard for me sometimes, and it's been really discouraging since childhood.  Nobody tagged me as ADD in school b/c i was *not* ADHD, I was just a space cadet w/ a 4.0, weird but not worth "evaluating".  Now that I have a better handle on the different presentations of ADD, I feel a lot more hopeful about my ability to find some kind of balance instead of just be a "hunter" or bored out of my mind.</p>
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<p>Again, thanks mamas, and keep it coming.  </p>
 
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