I’m writing this because I hope that it will help other people in a tight bind, to get ideas that will help improve their situation.
– Where it All Started…
I started with $0 in my bank account and $0 in my pocket, and I had three children under the age of 4 to feed. I was a stay-at-home-mom who suddenly became a single-stay-at-home-mom.
How things came to that point? Well, that’s a book for another day.
If it were not for good people and random acts of kindness over these past few years, I don’t know where my children and I would be. Don’t ever think that one simple act of kindness, one small donation, or one smile can’t make a HUGE difference in someone else’s life. I’m living proof that the accumulation of many small acts of goodness and generosity can help a single mother with raising three healthy children. Thanks to my family, friends I made along the way, and many strangers who I don’t know by name. It all adds up. In my particular situation, I had a lot of help along the way. Later on, different forms of welfare also became a part of that help.
I constantly had to battle the stress and depression that came with my new found situation as a single mom. I tended to turn my emotions inward, rendering myself useless. Focusing on my little children kept me in a sane frame of mind. When I wasn’t motivated to be strong for myself, I was motivated to stay strong for them. I had to fight through emotional pain to think clearly enough to figure out how we were going to make it. How was I ultimately going to provide for them?
I applied for a countless number of jobs. But, I never heard back from most of them. One person told me that people wouldn’t hire me because I lacked recent work experience. They choose people with the most recent work experience. I had been out in the workforce for years due to my choice to become a stay-at-home-mom years earlier. There was one place that contacted me for an interview. But, it required extensive traveling for a long period of time. I didn’t have a car. And, I didn’t I have a 24 hour, non-stop babysitting service for three children. So, I had to turn that one down.
Through the help of friends and family, I was able to continue on as a stay-at-home-mom while I figured things out. Being a parent is more than a full-time job all by itself! I’m thankful to have friends and family that understand that. I deeply respect those single parents who work outside of their homes for long hours. And then despite how tired they are, they go home and give their children love, care, and attention.
– Rays of Hope –
I was able to figure out how to make some income from home while still taking care of my children. I began by making very small amounts of money through online companies called content mills. These companies hire freelance writers to write a lot, for very little pay. I had always wanted to be a writer and, it was great to get some quick income. But, I knew this wasn’t going to cut it. For the amount of work and time it took, I was basically making about $5/hr. I knew there had to be a better way to do this freelance writing thing. So, I began doing a lot of research on becoming a self-employed freelance writer. One day I came across a blog called Make a Living Writing. This blog is run by Carol Tice. I eventually became a member of her online community called The Freelance Writer’s Den. This was the major resource that taught me the ropes of the freelance writing profession. During this time I had a safety net of friends and family. And, I had moved back in with my parents. Everyone does not have that kind of support. Yet I still write this post in the hopes that someone will find ideas or useful information to draw from.
At first I thought I was crazy because I was actually working toward becoming a work-at-home-single-parent. But then I came across a website called Live Your Legend which was founded by the late Scott Dinsmore. He was an amazing young man who tragically passed away recently. It was his words that helped me to find the courage to follow my budding dream of working from home so that I could still be the kind of mom I wanted to be for my children. Scott’s motto was “Change the world by doing work you love”. That is exactly what I was hungry to do. Though the sting of the pain of my past was still very present, Scott’s work through Live Your Legend brought me much comfort and hope.
After all I had gone through, I became determined not to let any of my past suffering and pain be in vain. I wanted to use it to fuel something for the good of others. If you have to suffer in this life, why not make every sorrow-filled tear worth something? I believe that our strongest callings can be birthed out our deepest sorrows. Valleys we once struggled through years ago, can become the mountain peaks that we conquer today, as we help others through similar valleys.
– Right Now –
So where am I now? I’m still living with my parents. I’m still on two forms of welfare. This fall all of my children reached the age of being able to attend school. So, now that I have more time to work with, I have been able to commit more time to freelance writing and I was able to commit to doing some regular work for a client. I have also decided to step things up a bit and work on a lifelong dream. I have been working on writing a book. The first of many I hope. I hope to use this blog to document the challenges that I overcome as I go on this journey. I have always been curious about how one goes from living with $0 to something sustainable. How exactly does one work themselves out of welfare while still raising healthy children and maintaining a healthy work/life balance? How does one overcome traumatic past experiences and find the confidence to step out of their box and live up to their full potential?
I don’t know. Guess I’m going to find out along my journey. And I invite you to peek over my shoulder. I’m nervous about documenting parts of my life like this. I’ve been contemplating the start of this blog for years. I started and stopped several times. I’m normally a very private person. In fact, as I’m editing this, I kind of hope that no one will really notice it after I post it. But, somewhere deep down inside, I feel like this has to be done. This is work that I can’t not do, for someone’s sake.
– My small disclaimer –
I do not claim to make the best choices nor do I think that you should make the kind of choices I make. Everyone’s life is different. But, I hope that in sharing my experiences, you will gain the courage and hope to do what you have to do to build up your life. This is about the mental/emotional journey as well as the financial journey. I will do some name dropping and point you to resources, in case you are interested in any of the tools and resources I have used. I do not aim to please. I aim to serve. I do not aim to survive. I aim to thrive.
(Image by geralt)