Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Monday, January 19, 2009

But I've been wrong before

Silly me! I spoke a little too soon. Just like the inversion that has settled into our valley this month. The smog has not lifted as I had hoped, and a large looming cloud has overshadowed not just the sky but life as I know it.

Fourteen years ago, and just two years before I became a single mother, I was lucky enough land my first post-college job at a small manufacturing company. It paid pretty well, and was a mere twenty minutes from home.
Just seven months after starting this job, we bought our second house. How we nearly lost the first house is a long story for another time. Life was beginning again after a rough financial patch which we had suffered following his (my now ex-husband's) 6 month stint serving in Desert Storm at a reduced pay. I had just given birth to my youngest daughter, we were living with my parents and landing this job, and buying another house was a godsend.

But it was short lived. A short three years later, I was a single mother. I was able to keep the house, with both his name and mine on the title. As long as I kept up the payments, and did not cohabitate or remarry, I could stay. I also had the option of refinancing it into my own name if I were able.
Finances, since the divorce have been tight. I have never been on state assistance, and my children have been provided for. I was also able to work out payment arrangements in order to get all three of them into braces, certainly not cheap. I was their sole parent. Their father is in another state, a phone call was rare. Christmas and birthdays were to come from me. School fees and extracurricular activity fees? From me. Don't get me wrong, I receive support but it doesn't seem to make up for the absence and it doesn't go as far as one would think. Owning a house and land can really have deep costs.
In the divorce, I also took over the car payments and had a decent car to drive. These were all blessings that I realize not every single mother has had the luxury of. And they were all due to the fact that I continued my employment with that company for 12 years.

In 2005, this stability hit some turbulence. The company which had been purchased by a larger corporation, was sending our facilities manufacturing over the border to Mexico. We would all be laid off within the year. We were given a last date of work and if we stayed until that date, were offered a severance package. Mine was to be in the double digit thousands, based on my years of service.

But an opportunity became available to me, another small start-up company with similar products. I took it. I had really debated giving up that severance nest-egg. However the stress and emotional turmoil in a company soon to be closed is not a healthy environment to be in. And it was worth losing the severance for my sanity.

For the past 3 years I have worked at this company and loved it. Close to home, good hours, decent pay, flexibility with home and school. Alas....this company has been suffering hardships of its own. Financial and contractual.

These are customary burdens with small companies, As they are often running completely on investment money.

What does this mean? My company is near to closing its doors. 30 of the 26 employees are now out of work. Including me. We will no longer be employed as of the sixth of next month. Just less than three weeks from now.

In all my years as a single mother, I have never been in this position. I have been tight on money but always knew that the next paycheck would be there. Even if I had to borrow from it, or stretch it, it was there. Now, in three short weeks, I will not have that check.

I have a good resume. 14 years experience and two degrees. I have a lot of friends in the business. I just completed my second college degree this past spring after eight years of night school. Things may just turn out for the better. But how do I know that? How do I ensure that my family, is provided for? I realize now, the burden that falls on the shoulders of a father. It is a tough load to bear. No backup income in this house.
Of all the trials I have had as a single mother, and there have been plenty, nothing has been as scary and as out of my control as not having a job. Sure I can get a job at the local supermarket or gas station but it will not pay my car and house payment. Maybe two jobs? I hope there are jobs out there, in my field.
Wish me luck, pray for me, I will take all the help I can get. A good nights sleep would be helpful now, but I am a glutton for punishment and spend most nights staring at the ceiling of my bedroom hoping that I can still keep this house, pay for the heat, the lights, things I have taken for granted.

Hopefully I will look back in a year and say this was the best thing that could have happened. Until then, I will keep my head up and clip coupons.


  1. I'm so sorry Shani. I am crossing my fingers for you. Take care.


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