Big changes are afoot. I’m about to become a stay at home mommy.
We got the letter from the local Head Start program stating that we were over income and our three year old, who has been in the Early Head Start program for the past two school years (including the current one) will not be transitioning into Head Start in September. This is based on my 20 hr/week job and her dad’s unemployment benefits. Since he just started working as an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver and his pay is based on how many miles he drives per load he’s assigned, our income will change, but it will be inconsistent due to the nature of the business. The possibility exists that he could be earning a lot more than our income was at the time we turned in the application. However, we don’t know what his actual income will be. The cost of a pre-school program or center based daycare program for her ranges from $950 – $975 or more per month. My gross income is less than $950. We would lose money if I continued to work.
Now that he will be on the road for three or four weeks at a time and home only one day for each week he spends driving, with a maximum of four days at home, I’ve essentially become a single mom again, as well. This has been really challenging, considering that there aren’t any family members or non-working close friends nearby to provide child care coverage when she gets sick or has a day off from school. This is a problem. She was sick enough the entirety of last week that I didn’t go to work at all and next week is Spring Break – which I had already gotten approved to not work. Thankfully, my boss is allowing me to work double hours this week to make up the time, otherwise I’d be going a week without pay at a time when rent and bills are due and his income is in transition. However, that is not something that is reasonable to expect in the future on an ongoing basis, considering company attendance policies and the responsibilities of the office I work in. Add into this mix the fibromyaglia and depression symptoms that flare up for a variety of reasons: cold wet weather (I live in the Pacific NW, so that’s a given), stressful circumstances (story of my life it seems), and lifestyle factors – i.e. how well I manage self-care, and my track record as a productive and effective employee is less than stellar.
We’ve discussed me doing the stay-at-home mom thing off and on ever since I found out I was pregnant, four years ago. One of the main reasons it never really happened is because I never felt stable, safe, and secure in our relationship, our finances, or in myself to make a go of it. Now, it seems that is the most reasonable choice to make.
So, I’m going to be a stay at home mom to a bright, inquisitive, energetic three year old who needs to be taught, guided, challenged, kept active, and nurtured. I am 100+ lbs overweight, struggle with chronic back pain, chronic dysthemic depression, as well as the chronic pain, fatigue, & insomnia that has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Full Disclosure: I also tend to be an unmotivated, lazy, procrastinating couch potato. Somehow those seem diametrically opposed to one another and since she’s the child, I’m the one who has to adjust.
I have a lot of work to do. Fortunately, I have some time. She gets to remain in her current program through the end of August. I gave my notice yesterday. I gave a little over two months notice so that, hopefully, they can find and hire my replacement soon enough that I can train him or her and ensure that my co-worker/manager isn’t left with an unmanageable workload and our newest supervisor doesn’t have another fire to put out. I said that June 1st would be my last day, unless my replacement was hired and trained before that date. Between now and June 1st, my plan is to work on putting together a how-to manual for my replacement, since the training offered on a corporate level is basic at best and does not prepare someone to actually work in the office. Working in subsidized housing property management is complex and tedious. Anyone want a job?
While I’m doing that, I’m taking steps toward improving aspects of self-care: nutrition, physical activity, and stress management (aka – blogging). In June, my plan is to spend the time that I’ve been working, in her school learning the routines and activities, while continuing to increase the self-care. The goal is that by September I will have gained stamina, energy, knowledge, and confidence in my abilities as a mom. So, here I go on the road to wellness…again.