Being a Single Mom ~ I was one and that is simply not an excuse for anything ~
I had my son in 1996, when I was 22 and never realized what would happen in the next few months or years of my life. Let me step back a few months, even a few years so you can get complete perspective on things. Feel free to judge me, many have and I am okay with that.
I grew up in a middle class family, actually due to the jobs my parents had, where we lived with the cost of living it would probably at that time be considered the higher end of that middle class. When I was 7, my parents divorced. As far as material things we didn’t really want anything as we had pretty much everything material we wanted. We did have a workaholic mother and an alcoholic father. They believed once you were out on your own, you need to figure it out on your own.
At 21 I got pregnant, 4 months prior to me having my son I lost my job without notice, the company collapsed. The money I received from EI was not huge and back than “family allowance” was about $150 . After I paid my rent, paid for lights & heat and diapers I was left with very very little. Once I used the free samples of formula and things I had, I had to put my son on canned milk. That’s all I could afford. I recall eating lots of rice as sometimes that’s all I could afford. I knew the rules with EI at that time I was allowed to make $50 a week, but where could I get a job where I could only make $50 a week and pay for child care? I asked everyone. I would have done anything.
I heard about a baby sitting service at the YMCA so I went down. If I could be there from 9-12, 5 days a week, I could bring my son and watch the children in a room when their parents worked out. It had always been a volunteer position at the YMCA. The operator at the YMCA told me it was a free service they offered to members HOWEVER they said I could put a tip jar out and keep anything in it and if I didn’t make $50 a week; he would give that to me personally. It was awesome, I could work some and feel like I was doing something, my son could socialize with other kids, I could make a bit of extra cash!! It worked amazing as it allowed me to buy some groceries and put some funds away !
I did such an amazing job and people all gave complements that when a summer program was at the YMCA, I was offered a supervisor job there, it was minimum wage, I could bring my son with me for free every day, except the 2 days a month we took all the kids to an out of town adventure as insurance wouldn’t cover him. They camp was for kids ages 5 -12 and my son was only 2 at the time. I stopped my EI, 2 months early to do this job knowing I could fall back on it after this. I worked out with a friend if she watched my son those days I would watch her kids in return when she wanted too. It usually worked out she would baby sit a Friday and I would babysit a Saturday night for her. I was able to get EI to pay for 2 night courses, I would go to school Tuesday for 3 hours and Thursday for 3 hours. EI paid for the course, a babysitter and transpiration.
I realized I couldn’t survive on minimum wage so before September came around I spoke to someone at EI, they were willing to sponsor me to go back to school. They would pay for school, pay for books, pay for transportation, give me my regular EI amount to live on but only $200 a month for child care. WHAT??? Daycare was $25 a day (yep even back than) I talked to the YMCA and they gave me a subsidized spot for $50 a week 🙂 I was on my way.
Fast forward; my last job that I am currently medically retired from I was making $80 000 yearly, with full benefits including pension.
The point of the story was, saying your a single mother is not an excuse. Opportunities are not going to knock on your door, you need to go put yourself out there. You are not always going to find a job that’s Monday – Friday 8-4 the same hours as daycare. You might need to find a baby sitter for a job that is other hours. When I had a job once that was 7 pm to 4 am; I hired a girl in grade 11 or 12, she spent the night and went to school from my house in the morning, was cheaper than daycare as she slept most of the night. Yes I had to get up with kids but when they napped I did. You are not going to find the perfect solution right away.
Ironically, my son and his girlfriend had a child at a young age. Do you think he wanted to go work at MacDonald? No he did not but he did because he had a child to provide for! Do you think his girlfriend Lexie wanted to balance 2 jobs, one casual and one part time? No, but she took what she could find to bring that extra money in. She sold those candles, that didn’t work. Now she sells Younique.
I see many on Facebook & in Parenting Groups (I’m in a few ) that make excuses. There are no jobs (FYI you need to leave your house), you are not going to find the perfect job, take any job for now until you find a better one, even if it is looking after someone else’s child. Try Younique or something similar; great for people who have anxiety and have trouble leaving their home.
If you choose to drink, do drugs or smoke than you really don’t have a reason to complain about not having money. If you have access to the internet there is no reason you can’t be doing surveys to earn cash.
You can use coupons, price matching and cash back on your groceries, diapers, formula and more! Learn how to budget. You can’t leave things until the last minute! Often you are going to need to do many things you don’t like in life to get to a place in life where you do like what you are doing.
**This also applies to single dad’s**