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:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Penalties imposed for doing the right thing?

For the past twenty two years, I have worked full-time.
For the past thirteen years, I have been a single mother.
For ten of those years I have been a full-time or part-time college student. For all of those years, finances have been a stress in my life.

Making it financially is hard for new couples just beginning life together. The economic downswing making it that more difficult.
Being a single parent adds to the stress both financially and in workload  vs hours in the day. There are not enough hours in the day for most full-time employees, more so for working parents, and even more so for single parents who work. If you attend night school, God help you.

But that has been the life I have led for a long time.

Recently I graduated from night school. And some time was freed up. The older my kids get, the less they demand of me too. I was unlucky enough to finish night school just as the jobless rates increased. I was also lucky enough to work for three companies who in turn held huge lay-offs in order to cut costs and/or send manufacturing to foreigners to save money.

I have written about surviving in an 'old boys club' field of work. And about juggling motherhood and single parenthood. I have written here about struggling to complete my own school studies while helping the kids with theirs.

I have also written about my school project on the differences between the wages of men and women when comparing the equal education and experience levels.

I have fought a long struggle, I have made the money I have worked for and earned work for me. Both combined with my child support and also in times when I was receiving none. I have made it through. I have one more child to get through school.

I have never qualified for any assistance, government or otherwise. I have done it all on my own.
Nothing reduced, nothing paid for me. (albeit the occasional save from my family when an appliance broke down)

I have rarely complained.

However this article got my attention.

I have heard the stories often.

A full-time working mother struggling to make ends meet, needs just a leg-up, a small subsidy to help pay a medical bill, or put some food on the table for the month... a reduced price for her kids public school fees or lunches. Just a small supplement to aid her while she is doing all she can to survive.. and she is told:

I cannot help you. You do not qualify. You make too much money. But if you quit your job and go on full assistance, we can qualify you for everything!

This is a broken system. I do not know how to fix it. But I have lived it.

What are solutions?

Why do we penalize those who work hard.

Why are you penalized for being a woman? ( my thoughts on the reason this one was put into place was when women were thought of as the supplemental income- which is really not the case these days)

Why are we penalized for being working mothers? Mothers who tend to give 110% as they feel guilty if they need any extra time off.


Why are we penalized when we give all we have to make our kids, our employers, our instructors and our own selves happy in every hour of every day?

I have never taken a sick day just because my child was sick, I made other arrangements.
I have never asked for more time on my school assignments because I am too busy with my kids or life. Most of my teachers didn't even know I was a mother or single.
I never qualified or lied in order to qualify for reductions or waiver of food, fees, bills, etc. I went without and my kids went without the latest gadgets and things we would certainly love to have but could not afford.

We made it through and I think my kids are better for it. They know the value of a dollar, they understand and are sympathetic of those things they went without. But it doesn't make it any easier on a parent knowing they did all they could and still could not provide all they wished they could.

But why the mistreatment? Why penalties are imposed on those working to make it better, I will not know.

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