As I was checking the blogs that I read daily, I came across a post that really struck home. It was a post about the recession and all the people that are affected. Usually I skip over posts like that, because I've been there first hand many times and don't really need to be reminded of how the economy is.
I've been a stat-at-home mom for most of the time that I've had kids. We agreed early on that if I wanted to work, I could, and if I didn't that was ok too. I've had a handful of jobs. I worked as a nurses aide when James was little. I worked as a temp, and then at McDonald's when Gabe was 2-4yrs on and off. We bought a house in 2002 when Gabe was about 1 1/2. The following summer, Mike quit his job of 9yrs for a better paying one. That lasted almost 2 months, just a few days shy of his probationary period being up, they canned him. Thankfully he qualified for unemployment.
It was a bad time for us, Caleb had just been diagnosed with autism the spring/summer before. We had just bought a house. If it hadn't been for the twins qualifying for SSI for their disabilities, we'd have gone under then for sure. He lost his job Aug 20, 2003. He didn't work again until Feb 12, 2006. 18 months. November of 2003 I started working full time at McD's to try and help us make bills. The kids' SSI wasn't enough to cover even most of the bills. It covered the mortgage, and sometimes the utilities and some of the groceries. It didn't cover gas, phone, clothes, or any of the other bills that were in collection. Unemployment was only bringing in about $180 a week. After gas and whatever little groceries, diapers, and odds and ends, there wasn't much of anything left. McD's was a paycheck of $200 every 2 weeks. It was a crappy job, but it was better than having nothing.
The day that he found out for sure that he would be working at Tyson, and when he would start, I QUIT! There was no way that we'd be able to cover day care for 3 special needs kids plus James for 3rd shift (both of us were going to be working 3rd), much less cover gas and everything we'd need for 2 jobs. Plus, his pay would be double mine, WEEKLY! The only really big problem now was that we had gotten so far behind on payments on all the bills that we had to catch up on them. We'd had to rob one bill to pay another quite a few times, trying to make sure that the mortgage was always paid first, and trying to make sure that it was paid in full. Juggling payments so that we didn't get the electric shut off, or the phone, or lose the van. We missed 1 payment on the mortgage, because of the van breaking down. So when we paid the next month, we included 1/2 the past due with it. And the next month, and the next. It became a vicious cycle, not being able to pay in full each month. And then the recession hit, which made it worse. The mortgage company wanted all the payment and all the late fees, NOW, instead of letting us work things out. In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise. We really couldn't afford the house, nor did we have the money to fix it. The city was nailing us left and right for fines for not painting, needing a new roof, taxes not caught up, garage needing to be fixed. So we tried to give back (quit claim deed) the house. But they wouldn't let us. So we told them that we were moving out, come take the house (Oct-Nov of 2007), they waited till Jan of 2008 to file for foreclosure. It was final in May 2008. Our finances aren't a whole lot better, but they are getting there. The big thing that sucks is, even if they get better we still won't be able to get a house loan for at least 3 yrs from the final date of foreclosure.
I know this was pretty long winded, but all that aside, I want to tell anyone reading that it does get better. You will make it, just like we did. It may get tight, and you may have to go without some things, but it can be done. Make it an adventure, learn new things to do that don't cost money. Do local things and things that give back to the community. Most of all, be happy and content with who and what you have.
To read the post that got me thinking, go to http://badladies.blogspot.com/2009/05/no-money-changes-everything.html
I'm sure Catherine will be happy to hear from you!