This is a post that is difficult to write. Everyone that knows me personally or through social media, probably has the impression that I’m doing alright and I am and things could be much worse. I’m not the type of person that goes out of my way to purposely posts things that give off a certain image, but on the flip side, I don’t put all of my personal business out there on display. I usually stick to posting things that I find helpful, funny, educational, etc. Sometimes I’ll post personal general information about my daughter hitting a milestone or something about my pregnancy or something funny my husband said or did. But not a lot of people could tell you that they know anything about my personal life.
Back in 2010, I left a job that was so incredibly horrible that on my lunch breaks, I would sit in the car and cry. For fifty-eight minutes, I would sit in my car, eat my lunch while sobbing. I had left another job with the promise that this one would be better and it was NOT. I felt like I had jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. After sixty days, I gave thirty days notice. I thought that this would give me enough time to get another job. It didn’t. But that was okay. I live in a major metropolitan city, surely I would find employment easily. Even if it was part-time in retail or fast food. NOPE! Little did I understand that I was right in the middle of the biggest recession that this country had seen in decades and that it was affecting me directly. So after I left this job, I hit the pavement hard looking for work. I had retail management, bookkeeping, property management and warehouse experience and I live in the Atlanta area. We are a major logistical hub. A lot of corporate offices, a lot of distribution centers and a whole heck of a lot of apartment communities. I figured I’d be working with in ninety days easily. That didn’t happen. So I started looking within my network. I had been successful at getting a job without knowing anyone at the company in the past, that wasn’t working. So I asked for help. I took every job lead that was thrown my way. I jazzed up my resume’, bought nice interview clothes. I even got my foot in the door for a few interviews, no one called me back for second interviews or job offers. I left my last job in July, by October, I was ready to move back to my hometown to my parent’s house. My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, asked me to marry him. So we got married. He had already been basically taking care me like a wife and I don’t think he wanted to let me get away! Anyway, I still continued to look for work and do interviews. Finally, my best friend got me an interview with a recruiter at her company. BEST interview ever. I left with two jobs offers, my choice as to what I wanted to do based whether I wanted to commute or not. I was elated. It was like a Thursday and the recruiter was to contact me the next week for my decision. Unfortunately, she became a victim of the recession and she was let go the next day and everyone she had plans to hire was lost in the shuffle. I was devastated. I had just found out that I was pregnant and I was hoping to get in the door somewhere before I was showing.
So when that job fell through, I just kind of lost my fire to continue the search. I had an extremely difficult first trimester, lots of severe morning sickness. To the point that I needed medication to keep even water down. It was bad. My will to find work diminished pretty sharply and we were doing okay. So we decided to just take a break from it and concentrate on having a healthy pregnancy. And as some of you know my birth story, By just past the halfway point in pregnancy, my water broke and I ended up on hospital bed rest for nearly a month before delivering a preemie that stayed in the NICU for six weeks. Obviously, finding a job was the last thing on my mind. I had new, more important job now… MOM! I poured all of my effort and energy into getting my baby girl the best care possible. I was very involved in the NICU and when she came home I accepted all early intervention help that was available. I struggled with nursing, and physical therapy and then occupational therapy. Was she growing enough? Was she learning fast enough? Will she be alright and on par with her peers? By a year I could finally breathe and feel like things were going to be okay.
Money had been tight as it always had been but we were doing alright. When an opportunity came up for my for my husband to take a job, overseas and make a large amount of money, he took it!! Unfortunately or rather fortunately, really after the fact, I had to move back home with my parents for no less than six months. Initially, no one wants to have to move back home if they can help it! It turned out to be just the right thing at the right time and over all I ended up really enjoying it. Except I really, really missed my husband but we used Face Time/ GoogleTalk almost daily, so that made it more bearable. During this six months, I began to notice that my daughter wasn’t talking or trying to talk like other children her age. With the early intervention programs that were with wouldn’t consider speech therapy until she was at least two. I was incredibly frustrated. So I took matters into my own hands and did some research and began working with her own my own. I even made the investment of purchasing an online subscription to ABCMouce.com ( which is worth every penny!! I’ll have to do a post about it.).
So when my husband got back stateside, and we moved back to the Atlanta area. I put out a few feelers for a job and considered some work from home opportunities. Unfortunately all of them, including the legitimate ones, required more money upfront than I could afford. So I just focused on being a stay at home mom. At this point, we are both pretty comfortable with the idea that I was going to be a SAHM and are seriously considering homeschooling.
Now that my husband was home, he was also finding that employment was hard to come by for him too. He main job that was to be waiting for him when he got home, was no longer available. He found another similar job but it was less than half of what he was making before so he found additional less, glamorous work (pizza delivery). And finally was able to secure a position with a major overnight shipping company that I will not name in this blog….The pay is slightly better than sucks and the benefits , eventually, would be great. The hours were the worst though. He works the dead of night, and part-time. In the time since he came home, expenses remained the same but income became less so eventually we we’re in a whole. We had burned through savings and everything we made was just not enough to cover everything in a timely manner and we ended up losing our apartment and had to move into a more affordable housing situation, a studio with utilities included. It’s nowhere near as comfortable as our last place. We are all in one room with each other all day. And I’m pregnant. This happened in May, it’s October. I figured we’d be here for 90 days or so. I thought we’d be out of this situation before I give birth at the beginning of November. That’s not going to happen. We just don’t make enough and the jobs just aren’t out there. Thankfully, yet sadly, another overseas job opportunity has come up for my husband and initially we turned it down because it is to start two days before my due date. And we both really wanted him to be here. Eventually we realized that things were not going to get any better and that we had better take this opportunity before it went away. So now my husband is leaving again, for no less than six months, out of the country. This time I’m moving home with two kids. I’m grateful to have the support of my family. It’s humbling. This whole year has been humbling. The dictionary defines humbling as lowering someone in dignity or importance. I don’t feel like that’s the best meaning for me or maybe I should choose another word. I feel like it doesn’t apply because I never overly important or super dignified. I’m just a regular girl, trying to live a regular life. I guess it applies in the sense that I never imagined that we’d be this bad off financially….that we’d be poor, damn near impoverished. Thankfully not homeless but incredibly close.
I can come away from this situation with a few lessons learned; that far more people are struggling a lot worse than you think. That the poor doesn’t look like what you think it does. I had an impression of the type of people who end up in the housing situation that we’re in. I haven’t seen anyone like that. What I see is a bunch of other families that look like mine. Two parent households, single moms, single dads, Black, White, Asian and Hispanic. Working people. The working poor. No drug addicts, no alcoholics, no prostitutes. Everyone with a similar story of simply falling behind and now playing catch up. Chasing jobs that pay just over broke. People that had good paying jobs, homes, nice cars, nicer lives. Now humbly just trying to make it through this week. I have no words of wisdom. I have nothing encouraging to say. I just wanted to put my story out there in the blogosphere and maybe let someone else that’s just trying to make it through the week know that they are not alone and that they’re is nothing to be ashamed. This post was originally supposed to be about depression but it took a different, I think more purposeful direction. I think anyone that’s gone through anything that’s been less than perfect, can experience depression. Some of us can cope with it better than others. Some can’t cope at all and need help. Some people have the ability to push right through and keep on business as usual. I think for me, when the pregnancy hormones dissipate and we get more stable, I’ll be just fine.