Tag Archive | stay at home moms

A little $ and a Whole Lotta Faith/ by Elisa Garcia

1411_spring_weather_sun_melting_icicles.jpgSo I’m sure you’ve guessed the theme around my house these days.  What else is new?

I’ve blogged about surviving on a single (paltry) income before, but it’s gotten pretty darn dire lately.

We’ve cut corners wherever possible and sacrificed and scrimped to make the mortgage payment and keep food on the table.  At times we’ve resorted to paying for groceries on credit, the penultimate money sin (hey, I worked in the financial sector for 10 years, I know!).  I literally fought tooth and nail to obtain medical coverage for my daughter since she can’t be on her other mother’s policy– no domestic partner benefits at her job.  I myself have been uninsured for months and pray daily that my fitness routine and smarter eating habits will help me avoid doctor visits.  And, yes, I’ve started on a (real) job search since my freelance gigs are becoming further and fewer between.  At this point we need something stable to supplement our nailbiting paycheck to paycheck existence.

Perhaps it’s the impending holidays, perhaps it’s the overall economic tightening that’s occuring countrywide, but I am experiencing the most difficult job journey of my life.  No one is responding to the applications I’m sending– and, lately, I’ve sent a lot.  When I left my 9 to 5 career a year ago, it was with the stipulation that I would never, ever, EVER return to that industry– if I returned there, I would die there, perpetually mean and grouchy and leaving my cubicle only sporadically before waking to find that another ten years had passed.  So it’s not the best feeling knowing that I may very well need to resort to that, though I’m applying for every other type of job than the one I left.  Now, I love working from home, love being with my daughter all day, am happy to trade the small sacrifices (limited adult contact, fewer resources) for the immense payoffs (freedom and family time) …. but it’s glaringly obvious that my family needs something steadier even though I fully intend to maintain my freelance contacts and projects.

Yes, it is frightening to wonder how we’re going to pay the mortgage.  I’m not even THINKING about the holidays and what Santa will eke out.  Yes, the financial fights in our house are no picnic, either.    And yet– and yet– there is a tiny part of me that is not too terribly stressed.  I’m living in the here and now and leaving it up to the universe, thankful all the while that right now we are still surviving, still fed, clothed, and warm.  Somehow we’ll make it.  We always do.  Things could truly be worse. 

Much, much worse.

by Elisa Garcia

Keeping the Kiddo Engaged/ by Elisa Garcia

So I’m eight months into the whole “work-at-home”/ “stay-at-home” thing– and I feel like I’m still trying to get a handle on it!

Yes, maintaining a household and trying to work and looking for work and raising a child and maintaining some semblance of structure are tough balancing acts … but, more than anything, I’m stymied when it comes to intellectually, creatively, and actively stimulating my daughter.

Her previous daycare was wonderful in terms of preschool preparation, but that was an expense we had to relinquish fairly quickly.  (Hmmm, groceries and gas or daycare?) Though I’m really trying to prevent a total loss of her counting and pre-reading skills, I feel as if my meager repetitions and totally amateur, totally improvised teaching methods are woefully inadequate.  I am fortunate that my city offers tons of daytime child-friendly activities– but regular attendance usually translates to unaffordability.

So how does one with diminished financial resources and limited education nurture their kid’s mind growth? I feel like I’m all park, pool, crafts, and story-timed out– and I’m embarrassed to admit that she watches a little more than her fair share of TV and spends an inordinate amount of time coloring “artsies” solo while I clatter away on the keyboard in pursuit of the dollar.  Sadly, the fact of this didn’t even really hit me until the day not long ago when I walked in on her reciting the Noggin commercials (“Iiiiiiiit’s puzzle time!”) word-for-word as they aired. 

Maybe I’m exaggerating; she is three, after all, and certainly I, as the responsible, nurturing mother, can cope.  Right? After all, I’m in no way entertaining homeschooling down the line or kidding myself that I’d be able to even do it.  This feeling is temporary and will certainly be nullified once she does enter preschool next year, right?  All in all, she enjoys regular social interaction via playdates and “reads” tons of books, and she seems well-adjusted and smart.  Still, I can’t help but think that if she doesn’t get into the college of her dreams some shrink will ultimately trace it to this decidedly uninspired lull ….

by Elisa Garcia