Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Domestic Enemies of the Low Income Mom

It was exactly one year ago that we posted this. And the reaction to it, both positive and negative, blew our minds. Reading it again a year later, I'm struck by how the comments section is as interesting as the post itself.  It does what it's supposed to, providing a glimpse of our collective perspective on what it.

From these reactions, the Holiday Hooker project was born. And we helped a couple thousand families like Tara's have a brighter holiday. Tomorrow we'll share how you can help this year, including more information about the gift card exchange.

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Today's post is from our pal Tara who wanted to tell us all about the schmidt that low income moms deal with every day.  Here's a little blurbitty blurb about her:

Hi, my name is Tara and I am the mother of two boys, Peanut Butter who is 5 and Jelly who is 2. I am also expecting baby number three, and for many reasons which will become clear, this baby will certainly be our last. I am also married to Jeffe (so named because he thinks he’s the boss, bahaha) who works part-time as a cook when I’m not at work and stays at home with the boys when I am at work. I work as an hourly manager at a fast-food coffee and donut shop. We are an awesome family, but we are broke.  And trust me, broke moms face their own set of enemies. Here they are:

1.) We’re Still Moms: One thing that rings true for all Low Income Mommies is that they’re still moms. Their finances are heaped on top of the fact that there are still chores to be done and children to distract from self-destruction love, and there seems to be a misconception that poor=lazy. I can proudly say that my laundry is folded, the floor is clean (except for the Cheerios under the couch), the dishes are done and the bathrooms are sanitized.

During my pregnancy with Jelly we were working with the local Human Services Department to make some improvements on our house and during the process an employee did several home visits. The first time she came over she remarked on what a relief it was that our house wasn’t a hellhole. You were expecting my house to be a horror-land of microbial death? In the kitchen on top of a very high shelf are the cleaning supplies: sponges, dish-soap and bleach. What can’t be cleaned using those items? There have been times where I’ve had to substitute dish-soap to wash our laundry but we still ended up with clean underwear. So stop-

2.) Acting Surprised: Once, when I brought the kids with me to work a regular said, “Oh, what handsome boys! How do you do it?” A smart-ass response came to mind and instead I asked, “I beg your pardon?” “With a tight budget it must be hard to find nice clothes.” Did you just look up the definition of a back-handed compliment and are now looking for ways to use it? Just because I have a McJob doesn’t mean I can’t clothe my children. Stop acting surprised. Also, keep your-



3.) Advice to yourself. The truth is that no matter how many money-saving tips you give me I’ll still be broke. We don’t go to movies or own any video-games. My phone is the free one I got with the “it’s-the-cheapest” plan, and the reason we have cell-phones is so we don’t get stranded on the side of the road when the POS decides to take a sh*t in our Corn Flakes. If it has nothing to do with survival then I don’t have it. “How are you on the internet? It isn’t a necessity.” If I couldn’t get away from reality the survival of my family would be in jeopardy. Try the whole “unplugged” thing and see how you feel.


Peanut Butter is in Kindergarten and he -- somehow --needs more school supplies. My bras have had the under-wires removed because they were jabbing me in the armpits. Survey says? The markers have it, and I pray to God that none of the kids notice they’re not Crayola. I make decisions like this every day. Gasoline or diapers? Electricity or phone? The gas light is on and my phone is shut off.


4.) Asking For Help Sucks: DHS employees may be wonderful people but when they’re at work they’re demi-gods, handing out favor on a whim. I’ve sat in waiting rooms for hours while my children get progressively agitated and I end up pulling out a bag of Cheese Doodles to keep them occupied. When I finally see someone we step back into their cubicle and they ask me about everything except our underwear sizes. As long as I’ve brought everything, we’ll get benefits. I have to drop off EVERYTHING in person, they NEVER answer the phone and every six months they’ll want an update, so I keep EVERYTHING.


5.) Inappropriate Questions: “Who’s watching your kids?” “Who’s the Baby’s Daddy, and where is he?” I don’t reply because if I did I would succumb to The Rage, but here are the answers: I’m married, all of my children are my husband’s and right now he’s at home changing diapers.

Despite the fact that being broke sucks, there are upsides. When the economic crisis came my family had better coping mechanisms for it than going on a homicidal rampage at Wal-Mart. To get the job I have I’ve had to work twice as hard to get half as much respect as a man, so I work four times as hard and am now The Bad Ass. As far as the rest of the company is concerned, I chew up old smoke detectors and spit out tactical nuclear devices. When people need help they know who to call and it isn’t “Ghostbusters!” My kids will learn to be the opposite of these other over-entitled asshats through our example. And really, love doesn’t actually require that we have money in our checking account, right?

And as a side note: thanks, Lydia and Kate, for writing as honestly as you do about motherhood! You’ve given me some comfort, knowing that I’m not the only one who loses their Schmidt!

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The awesome people at Sweet Relish are working with us to help moms in need this holiday season. They will donate $1 in gift cards for every person who joins their site and follows me (up to $5,000!!). If you're too busy or too broke to help to a family in need this year, here is one really quick and easy way to help.  It only takes a minute and is really useful and fun.

To join Sweet Relish and follow me, click here.



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

169 comments:

  1. Yes and yes. Receiving assistance doesn't make you a bad parent. There are good and shitty parents at all income levels.

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  2. YES. Tara, you are wonderful. Keep being the awesome mom that you are. You are damn right - your children will grow up knowing the real value is in who you are, not what you have. And if you wind up writing more, or starting your own blog, I'd follow you any day.

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  3. Oh! Oh! I have to add one. Solidly middle-income, home-owning families going through a "rough patch" financially who insist that they are pooooooooor. I'm sorry, just because you haven't had your teeth cleaned this year doesn't make you poooooooooor. Shut yer pie hole.

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    1. Isn't that just as judgmental as the people judging the author in this article? If you don't know the situation, don't judge. By all outward appearances, we are a solidly middle class family. We own our house, we drive two cars (one the standard mini-van), we all wear nice clothes and we shower on a regular basis.

      What you can't tell by looking at us is that I have to do a monthly circuit of all the food pantries to feed my family. The kids and I are on Medicaid. We pick up things from Craigslist all month to have a garage sale to pay my husbands gas to get to and from work. He sleeps in his truck twice a week to save on gas and works 60 hours a week on his feet. My oldest daughter lives with friends during the week so she can finish middle school where she started. We haven't told her she has to switch schools next year, this is going to break her heart after everything else she's been through (that's a long story). I reapply weekly for CCAP in the hopes that we'll receive assistance for daycare so I can try to find a job, assuming someone will hire a very pregnant woman at this point.

      The thing is, this is a rough patch for us. The move into our rural home was a long and heartbreaking decision. We searched for an entire year to find a home we could afford that would keep us in the city, one that wasn't on the verge of being condemned. We finally gave in and moved an hour away. There was no way we could have foreseen the mold in the kitchen that required us to rip it out completely, leaving us with a microwave and a toaster oven to cook with. We were not prepared for the amount of gas we would have to go through just to get my husband to his job 1 hour away. We had no idea the boiler needed to be replaced (yes, we did have an inspection and none of this was caught). We didn't know the bathroom ceiling was going to cave in.

      We're holding on to the belief that things will get better, that this is an adjustment. When your way of life is changed due to finances, it can rock your world. Maybe not being able to get the family's teeth cleaned is a huge deal to someone. You don't know unless you're in their shoes.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. It is good to know I am not alone!

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  5. Amen and Amen. Consignment shops are my favorite place to shop! My kids look like I shop at a GREAT store, but I pay a fraction of what you'd pay at the mall or department store. I've learned to be almost as frugal as my mother was! AMEN to that! Keep it real, Tara! I'm glad I see the world from where I am...a hard working lifestyle that I do NOT have to be ashamed of.

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  6. We are blessed enough to be middle class but I have two friends who are in the midst of the joy that are state funded "assistance" programs. One of my other friends finally quit and said she would stop eating and feed only her child just so she didn't have to deal with the condemnation of the people at the WIC office.
    Its a shame that a few lazy dirty people become the stereotype. Most of the people I have met who need assistance are honest hard working people. It takes a village :) God Bless and keep up the good work!

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  7. And your kids won't remember when they grow up that you were broke - they will remember that either mom or dad was always there for them and that they never doubted how much you loved them. They will grow up with an excellent work ethic thanks to your example, and while they might want to give their kids "more than they had growing up" (what parent doesn't), they will be able to tell the difference between NEED and WANT. You ROCK.

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  8. We have another financial domestic enemy. It would cost us more to put our daughter in daycare than my husband would make working, so he's a stay-at-home dad. He does a great job. He runs the household. He makes sure I'm fed when I get home. Yet what do we hear all the time? "Why won't your DH get a job?" Hm. Well I'll tell you what. Just as soon as he finds one we'll let YOU pay the daycare.

    :: grumbles ::

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    1. Amen to that! I am a single mother and I am having issues finding a job for that very reason! No employer wants to work around the fact that I have a kid to take care of but none of them pay enough to cover what it would cost to have her in daycare so I can work, let alone pay the bills!

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  9. One of my favorite "domestic enemies" posts! Thank you.

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  10. We did *way* too many years of the low-income range...this post is still uncomfortably close to home. People are so quick to judge...even if they have walked in our shoes. Thanks for the reminder...and keep doing the amazing job you are with your kids!

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  12. Life is hard, really hard, especially right now. It sounds like you are making the best of a hard situation. However, I know this is going to come under fire, but if you are deciding between diapers and gas, why are you having a third child? Will that not put an even greater strain on an already difficult and tight budget? I don't get it. I love my child, and I look forward to having more but not at the cost of not being able to provide a roof over our heads and heat and food and diapers. And yes, I know this is me being totally judgmental. Sorry. I am just pointing out the elephant in the room.

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    1. I think the message in this rant is not to be judgmental. You missed it. Why she is having another child is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

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  13. Thank you for speaking for the poor moms! We've gotten comments from my husband's old boss (when he was a shift manager at a sports pub, thankfully he's moved "up" to the glamorous position of graduate assistant) like, "Maybe you should have kept it zipped until you were ready to support a family." Love the presumption that because you're young, poor and have a family that you must have had a shotgun wedding. Thanks for the advice, old man -- should have left our marriage unconsummated until we met your income level requirements.

    Also the shock of the WIC employee or the pediatrician's office seeing your KidCare paperwork that you're breastfeeding your kids, or feeding them vegetables, or what have you. I filled out the ped's questionnaire with "0 hours of TV per day" and the ped skimmed right over it and proceeded to lecture me about my kid's TV watching habit??? Guh.

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  14. Thank you for posting this amazing and well deserved rant. Many low income parents work at jobs that don't allow for a closed office door and time to mess around on facebook if they want a break. Coordinating your work schedule with a partner often means you are always "on" and without a babysitter to rescue you for a few hours so you can go out to get things done or even just think without someone needing something every second. Anyone that believes idiotic steryotypes about those receiving assistance needs to get their head out of their ass. If you pay taxes then it is the very least of what is owed to you for as long as you need it in this first world country.

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  15. I am a mother of 3, I understand everything in that blog! It is so nice to know that you are not the only one out there. My view is the more a child knows about what is reality and how much things cost,and how to make decisions about what they think they need, the more better off they will be as parents.

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  16. My husband is in the military, and while we do have steady income, we struggle to pay everyday bills. He HAD to join, or we would have lost our house. WIC is a normal thing for us, and I swear if we didn't get free milk, we might go bankrupt just from that! Bills don't pay themselves, and work doesn't get done on its own. Your kids will probably be jealous at some point that their 5 year old friend got an iPad for their birthday, but 10 years down the road, they will thank you for all the emotional gifts that can't be filled by gadgets. Keep doing. It will pay off.

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  17. Excellent post - great reality check!

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  18. I am "single" Tara...I knew what Extreme Couponing was before people got a show & me and my girls "camped out" more than once when the Electric Company cut my lights & I had to wait 24 hours to get them back on! Needless to say, I haven't even balked in this economy~when I DID lose my job. Three of my four daughters are in college and my "baby" is 14, and they all know the value of a PENNY! Keep up the good work girl!

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  19. I've been dealing with this sort of stuff since my first daughter was born. Hubby and I both lost our jobs within two months of finding out, and we wound up moving back in with the 'rents when we lost our house.
    The 'problem' is that the rents live in an affluent area, and we are quite the opposite of most of the parents around here. We had to shop around for the cheapest preschool that would give assistance, but we still have the biggest POS in the lot when we arrive. Recently my car had a bit of a problem that would require me to add coolant once every couple of weeks. Another mom saw me looking under the hood after I dropped my daughter off and said "Why don't you just get a new car?" I've never paid a car note- I buy a car I can afford and then drive it until it's unfixable. It leaves me without having to worry about the repo man showing up at my door, but usually means I don't have to worry about random problems just popping up. But I'm happy for you that you have the money to just treat a several thousand-dollar decision as easy as going to pick up another gallon of milk. Until then, we figured out it was more cost-effective for the Hubby to go study to become a mechanic, which has the benefit of he might get a job that pays more than the part-time security position he seems to be stuck at.
    In the end my kids are fed, clothed, and healthy. But we do keep the fact that our kids have state aid health insurance from some extended family members who think that using the state aid programs is akin to child neglect. I don't want to have that conversation.

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  20. Right on mama! I have series of posts I'm working on about being poor, but this one is miles above. Some people just don't get it.

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  21. your post hits very close to home. when I told some of my family members about food stamps. they were in shock and I could feel the judgement. I provide for my son the best way I can. If that means I get some help so I can make give him those fresh veggies that he loves so much then so be it. I am not ashamed of admitting I need some help. This will not be permanent. But yes I have def been there. No diapers, no food, no gas for the car, no phone, no internet, and electric about to be shut off and late for the rent. Let me tell you I don't know how but it always comes through. We are always somehow able to come up with it. Some months are more difficult than others but as a family it has brought us closer together. I'm very happy to see this and know that I'm not alone.
    Thank you.

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  22. I was given this link on Facebook and it rings true to me as a single mom with 3 daughters. We too struggle to keep the lights on, the heat on, and the bills paid. Fortunately we are blessed with food stamps to feed us and medicaid to care for my severe asthmatic because the alternative surely would not be good. The judgements out there are extreme and my children aren't immune from them sadly enough. Kids are cruel. But like you said so wisely, love doesn't require money in the checking acct and we are rich beyond measure in that. So life must be okay! Thank you for your words.

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  23. You work hard and that is very admirable, but why choose to make your financial situation even harder by adding a third child when it seems like you can barely stay afloat with two? Do you choose to ignore when people ask you this valid question and pass them off as a "domestic enemy"?

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  24. Thanks for this post and for being a good mom who takes care of her kids, loves them, and is setting a good example for them. Your post reminds me that as mothers we shouldn't judge someone else for their position and we are all working as hard as we can and doing the best we can with our situation.

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  25. Tara, you do absolutely rock! I work some with very low income families and most of them are AMAZING human beings who are so loving and diligent and incredibly capable and smart, and they work their tails off to make amazing things happen for their families on almost nothing. I have so much respect for you and for my families, and I can't stand the people who judge and jump to conclusions based on the minority.

    Mcapril, my family is in the same boat with daycare costs - it is literally as expensive per child as our rent! And since my job is one I love with benes and room for promotion (someday I hope), my husband opted to quit his crappy job and stay home with our girls. He's been home for three years now with the older two, and we just had baby #3, so it's at least another 4 or 5 years before all of them are in school and he is released back into the wild. He's been amazing even when he's ready to tear out his hair (what stay at home parent doesn't feel like that regularly???), but he (we) gets no respect.

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  26. With a family of 6 on a single income household, we are blessed to have what we have, and we teach our kids that. They appreciate what they have (most of the time ), and I think they will have a better view of the world because they don't have everything handed to them. They want something, they go to grandma and grandpas and work for a buck or two and save for it.

    Our boy's room hasn't had a door on it in 12 months, as the flimsy hollow core door that was there couldn't withstand the 2 kids inside it. Just this week the local DIY store had doors on sale, so we splurged and bought one. It was in the garage, and as a joke I called the boys 8 and 5 out to the garage to get a peek at their christmas present! They came out and eyes got wide, and the 8yo said " is that for our room?!?! Thank you Daddy!!!" and they both smothered me in hugs. I started to tear up, as I thought it was a joke, but they were serious! Damn kids... :sniffle:

    Also, when the 8yo was 5, he had probably the most brilliant moment of his little life- we were explaining why we don't have every gaming system in the world (fact- we have none and won't be getting any) like his buddy, who carries around 2 DS's. After esplaining to him that family is more important, and that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, and that its not important to be rich, he pipes up and says "Yeah, but we're rich in love!" Damn kids... :sniffle:....

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  27. I grew up poor and I have to say, I had a great childhood looking back. Still don't know how my mom did it! There were times it was hard and it did influence my career choice but I am way better off as an adult than others I grew up with who had it easier.

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  28. Why is there a general conception that those who don't have a ton of money shouldn't have children? I think we can learn a lot from this post. Well done. Maybe you should consider writing on the side! You're talented.

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  29. You're doing a great job! And kids don't need video games, they need caring parents. And yours have that. Good for you!

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  30. I just lost my job yesterday. My daughter and her husband and kids live with us because he lost his job awhile ago. And yet I am grateful that we all still have a roof over our heads, and food to eat. We are a lot better off than when I had four kids under four, and $25 for food every week. It's all a matter of perspective. Are we dying of starvation like millions in the third world are? No. Are we freezing to death because we have no shelter? Far from it. God is still good, and we WILL get through this.

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  31. Tara, anyone who can "chew up old smoke detectors and spit out tactical nuclear devices" totally rocks. I agree with Misty in that your kids will remember that you were there for them and your attitude while there. Keep kicking a$$; it isn't easy but it looks like you're doing a great job.

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  32. We're in a special situation where on paper, my DH makes too much money for us to qualify for anything, not even WIC let alone daycare assistance or food stamps, and so I don't work, and now we are filing bankruptcy TODAY (I kid you not) because at this point, feeding my children is more important than paying my Visa bill, or the medical bills I have from when I had to go into the emergency room not knowing our insurance had changed their coverages and we had 20% coinsurance to pay. And yeah, I feel like crap about it, but not crappy enough to let my children starve. Rock on, Mama.

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  33. Oh Crystal. Crystal, Crystal, Crystal. I'm going to sandwich slap you with perspective.
    There we were, my husband on workman's comp benefits and waiting for a settlement because he blew out his knee and couldn't drive truck, a MUCH better paying job. He did find a job, but we were still on food stamps and WIC because our planned baby was almost 3, our pill baby was almost 18 months, and we found out despite our best efforts and the patch, one was on the way. 236 in food stamps every month for a family of 4 with a bun cookin isn't a lot, but I MADE DO. Babies come when they want, despite your circumstances. With any luck it's a sex you already have so they have hand me downs.
    You just basically asked another mother who is making it in this world if she had her precious on purpose? Was yours? Sandwich slap. THINK about it.

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  34. Amen sister. I'm not low income but I'm struggling middle class - one of my husband's paychecks covers daycare. I've got friends who are deciding which Kate Spade bag they want for Christmas and I wearing a bra that is pinned together with a safety pin, haven't had a hair cut in 8 months and I'm trying to make $75 worth of groceries stretch 3 weeks...sigh...that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger...

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  35. Tara, you rock!

    As a single mom to a wonderful little girl, and doing it on a low-income salary, I know how all of that goes.

    Last year we lived on our own (we now have two room-mates who also happen to be my best friends.) I had to make those tough choices ... the electric got shut off, we lost our apartment, all because I had to keep gas in the car so I could get to work, and pay daycare so I could work so that I could feed said little girl. It was a very rough patch and we wound up camping out on a friend's couch for a few months. These days it's near to impossible to make it on your own. This year we're doing a lot better, but I remember those moments all too well. Like you, we don't have a lot of the 'extras' ... we have a Good-will bought TV/VCR/DVD combo unit, we don't have cable. We do have internet because one of the roomies stays home with my DD and she also works online part time for a little extra spending cash. Like you, we own our cars (both nearly 13 years old) and will likely keep them until they fall apart, or one of us wins the lottery.

    My daughter doesn't always have the newest greatest thing, but she knows she is loved beyond measure. She also knows that mommy "goes to work to make money and pay the bills". I think she's a better kid for it. :-)

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  36. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! I am married with four kids, my two oldest go to school pretty much for free because of "low-income". My husband found a job where technically he gets paid more, and they offer insurance ( which is awesome) but because of the insurance costs, he is actually bringing home less. So now we get food stamps. I come froma middle class family and I still get my sisters hand-me-downs. You should see the looks I get from people when I pay with my ebt card out of my guess wallet wearing my coach shoes. I totally agree with the WIC office thing. I started making my apps as early as possible so we don't go see the dental hygienist. Because 1. My children do see the dentist every six months and no I'm not feeding them mountain dew in a bottle for every meal and snack. And 2. The lady is just plain mean. She needs a new job, pretty sure she's burnt out.
    Tara, you have as many children as you want, unless you are beating them or leaving them to freeze anda scrounge for food out of the garbage, I'm pretty sure its nobody else's business the size of your family.

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  37. The "elephant in the room"?!?!? Really?!?!? Last I heard we don't mention elephants around pregnant people... Especially ones who can chew up fire alarms! Married couples, even poor ones (if you can believe it) have sex! People who have sex, might get pregnant... I'm not saying this 3rd baby of hers was unplanned, I have no idea... BUT she obviously loves her children more than anything, and wouldn't dream of doing anything but going through with the pregnancy and loving the hell out of this baby too! PLUS she will probably qualify for mat leave, and stay home for a year, hubby can pick uP more hours, or maybe a second job since she's at home, and they'll have more money than before! Also, who cares! It's none of your business!

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  38. To the commenters whose entire response to this post is summed up by a sociopathical and nasty "why are you having a third child," SHAME ON YOU!!!!

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  39. Sandwich slap? please, you don't think I live pay check to pay check? I do. Fortunately, I live in Canada and have the luxury of not living in a messed up economy. However, honey, when your precious angels are "accidents" as you just said they were, please tell me how we are not suppose to question your best intentions. I love that people think we are domestic enemies when we question your incredibly selfish actions. I don't know what it is like for Americans right now, you are right in that. However, when your basic needs aren't being met and your children's basic needs aren't either, I do question the actions of bringing another life into this world. Selfish. You all think your kids are going to turn out the best. That is not necessarily true at all. Only time will tell.

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  40. When I look through my husband's family albums, I see a bitter, grinding sort of poverty that never made his very religious parents question having had any of their seven children. Nor could anyone ever call #3-7 mistakes as each sibling is a kind and empathetic individual with an incredible drive and work ethic. I see every day how growing up in a cash strapped but deeply loving home has shaped seven incredible people, and I know that Peanut Butter, Jelly, and the new baby are beginning their lives with just as strong a foundation.

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  41. Can I write Domestic Enemies of the Food Stamp recipient? Pretty please? I can't get over how many ignorant statements I hear all the time. And I keep this "secret" about how we receive our food so that I don't go off on people. I can tell our tale of woe, how we had a great income, planned our sweet baby and then both lost our jobs. Husband works full time, and I am going back to school, staying home with the baby, AND working part time. You can't judge a situation or circumstance until you've been in it. And I hope if you are THAT kind of judgmental bia that reality smacks you as hard in the face as it did me.

    We're making hard choices every day. Today do we pay the mortgage or the gas bill? The gas WILL be turned off because they are asses and won't work with us, but the bank will give us a little leeway since they know our situation. And in January, at the beginning of a new semester, they'll get 4 months at once! It works out for everyone!

    DHS said that they'll cover the baby's doctor bills and give us some money for food. Without that help I have no idea where we'd be. Probably without a home, I'd not be going to school... I really don't want to think about the possibilities actually. So thank you American taxpayers (and I am thanking my husband and myself because Lord knows we pay taxes still!) for keeping the sweetest eleven month old healthy and fed.

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  42. To this: Anonymous said... "...if you can't provide basic necessities like electricity or diapers for two children, how can you justify having a third?"
    Please, people, this post is anything but a justification to have a third! Who are you to make any assumptions about the how and the why of this baby?

    Tara, your kids will remember this childhood, but not deprivation - they'll remember that you don't need A&F clothes or a DS just because the other kids have one; that you don't throw away what's still useful; that if you want something nonessential you're going to have to save for it; that xmas is not a spending competition. Your grandchildren will be the better for it.

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  43. I was with you up until I got to the "overentitled asshats" part. I grew up poor... I always thought it was funny when people would reminisce about the yummy peanut butter on school lunch sandwiches and I could brag that I had that peanut butter at home because it was the welfare peanut butter. I knew we were poor, and that was alright--I knew my mom made sacrifices to give me what I needed, and most of the time even what I wanted, and I grew up appreciating what I had. I knew she wanted more for herself, and hoped for more for me in the future.

    Now I'm married with two kids and we'd probably be considered upper middle class. We have a mortgage that is about half of what the bank says we can "afford," and we both worked our way through college and have good paying jobs. We drive older cars that we paid for in cash and have no debt besides our mortgage. All of these things mean that I can buy my kids expensive gifts if I want, or we can take a nice family vacation if we want... and because of these things, are my children "overentitled asshats?" I take serious offense at that.

    Every parent aspires to give their children the best they can provide. Are there kids who have expensive things they don't appreciate? Yes. But that child is no more at fault for their "overentitlement" than yours are for their lack of material possessions. And my kids will be just as ready to be the "Ghostbusters" person called as yours will be.

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    1. Thank you for this response. I also grew up in this same type of home. I was loved, the house was clean and we survived with assistance. I always wanted more for myself and my family. As an adult, my husband and I are well educated, live within our means and made the decision to have one child we know we can provide for. It is important to note that in ten years of marriage, we have never used birth control. I know when my fertile days are and we are careful. Yes, our son has seen more of the world than most six year olds, lives in a nice home and has been the recipient of expensive gifts. That same child saves his allowance and gives it away. He asked for donations for the humane society rather than gifts at his last birthday. He has an amazing heart, is grateful for all he has and his experiences. Just because we don't need assistance does not mean we are raising "over entitled asshats". We are judged everyday too. There was a time when I felt like I needed to feel ashamed for my many blessings, but I can't say that anymore. I have a very happy, loving marriage, a wonderful son and the life I always dreamed of having. However, every bit of it is because we worked through school, made sacrifices (like my husband being home 72 days one year while he traveled for work and "paid his dues" to gain a promotion), and made difficult decisions (I.e. only having one child because we wanted to be certain his education would be covered and he would more opportunities than we had). I don't care about how many children you have. That is your business. But, please do not raise them to believe that children whose parents are able to provide a different life for them are their enemy. My son wants the same thing your kids want. He wants to be accepted, have real friends and not worry about if people like him because of what he has and not who he is. You may not be able to give them luxuries, but you have the greatest impact on how they feel about the world around them.

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  44. I can identify with this post 100%. However, I am really sad that some of the posters are judging Tara. I would like to just say, I'm proud of you Tara, keep up the great work and do whatever you have to do to take care of your babies. :)

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  45. God bless you, Sister!! My biggest complaint with the public assistance people (DHS or whatever it's called in your state) it's seriously worse than asking a friend or relative for a little help to make it through. Just read the rules, read all the information I've provided to you (in triplicate!), and make a decision ... but please, please stop acting like it's your own personal checkbook writing the check that's going to help me feed my kids, or pay the bills.

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  46. I'm amazed at the number of people who brought up 'maybe you shouldn't be having another baby if you're already struggling'. Whuck?! First off, who are you to determine when us the right time for someone else to have a child? Friends of mine (who have 4 awesome kids) always told my husband and I "If you wait 'til you can afford kids, you'll never have them". Did I mention that my husband works so. hard. Because I can only substitute where I can because it's impossible to find a job teaching anything, much less art...oh, and I'm due in June. How DARE you people, as mothers, tell another mother that she's not doing it right. God takes care of you. Everyone in this economy has their own set of problems, without you being snooty and without your judgement. You wanna judge? Take a good, hard look at your own life, first.

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  47. I find it funny how judgemtal these moms are that you're having another blessing. Really? So she should have an abortion or give her child up for adoption because times are tough? Go look in the mirror ladies and ask what YOU can do to help a family struggling this holiday season, cuz quite frankly, y'all make me SICK! She shares her story and all you ladies (and your posts are out there for all to see), is why have another child when you're struggling? Ummm, NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS! She's not asking you to buy her diapers. How do you know she dosn't cloth diaper and have what she needs? Really people. Holiday season and all I see are snide comments that make me wanna hurl. Grinch came early here:(

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  48. Tara (and all the other low-income mommies out thre) - you ROCK! Thank you for your refreshing perspective, honesty and humor. While my job is not necessarily considered low-income, my family and household circumstances are such that we're on the border. Nice to know that there are other mommies out there making it work, no matter what the circumstances, and doing it with style and GRACE!

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  49. Fyi... most This families survive on WIC, we needed that assistance for several years. Most people would never put Tying "lazy/dirty" stereotype on military families so why is it so prevalent for those on assistance? Its so sad. Good for you, keep your head up.

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  50. To all of you hard-working, a$$-kicking moms:

    Please consider having the conversation with those people who believe in the stereotype of the state-assisted family. Yes, it will be difficult, and, yes, you may still be judged by them. But the education they will receive will be worth it. Their minds may be hard to change, stereotypes are hard to break, but they need to know that the system DOES provide assistance (mounds of ridiculous, nit-picky paperwork excepted) for those it should: hard-working people who need help, sick or healthy. I'm not saying the system is perfect; I know it has a LONG way to go. But, sometimes the battle is worth fighting, if you have the energy after a long day.

    Sincerely,
    Kristin

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  51. As a low income single mom who makes just enough money that I don't qualify for social assistance of any kind yet preschool/day care still takes half of my salary and I still live with family - I can relate to ALL OF THIS!!

    I talk to other mom's and say, "I don't buy clothes for my son unless I can get it for less than $3 an item" and they are AMAZED! Truthfully, as I buy them in bulk on craigslist, I usually get clothes for around 10 cents an item.

    I don't have cable. I do have internet, although it is necessary for my job. I have the cheap phone on the cheap plan. no my phone doesn't have games.

    My son has homemade organic granola bars - they are cheaper than the premade processed non organic ones at the grocery store.

    I wash my hair in a baking soda mixture.

    My son has limited toys, and yet isn't deprived. We go to the library weekly and bring home dozens of books. Everyone always comments about how well behaved he is and how respectful he is of toys (no throwing, stomping, breaking) and it is because he knows, if it breaks, it is gone. there is no replacement.

    Life is good, it is tough and stressfull. But it is good! I could live in Haiti after all.

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  52. SO true, thank you for this post! I'm a single mumma of one and have just found out that I'm pregnant with a second (thanks a lot birth control) I have a good job right now, and work 40 hours a week, but it's often just not enough. I was freaking out about how to manage a second child, to the point where I considered termination for financial reasons. Now though, I know that life as a low-income mother is hard, and it will get harder when I'm on maternity leave, but my children will always know that they are loved. They might not have the latest of everything, but they will grow up to know to work hard for things in life.

    Completely agree with the inappropriate questions. Stop being Judgy McJudgerson, it's none of your business. I'm employed, I try my best and I'm a damn good mother. Ha.

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  53. *fistbump* I am with you all the way, Tara. I'm a single mommy to 3 little ones, 2 autistic twin boys and a sweet little girl. I'm working my ass off at the only job I could get in this crappy economy where I'm from. I am covering the bills. We don't have extras. No cable, no internet at home, 1 cellphone w/ the cheap plan, etc. I shop yardsales all summer to get the clothes my kids will need for winter and rely on family to get what I couldn't as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I never ask for toys and the ones we have are hand me downs from family. I struggle to cover the bills and the groceries every month. It's not easy. Don't let anyone beat you down, girl! I've got your back!

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  54. Girls,

    Remember that we don't play ugly here...no judgments. Except for Kate....you can be super judgey about her. Just not about her shoes. There are limits, people.

    xoxo Kate and Lydia

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  55. ah yes.

    and number 6 is time. I lose my schmidt over this one - time is money and the people who most know it are 1. the working poor and 2. the very rich who leverage it by paying others..to do the grub work. so, the offhand assumption that I have the time and energy to go the long way around some obstacle is either an assumption that I'm superhuman - like I'll be able to get ahead while catching up or that I don't matter, or more specifically that my kids who need me as a springboard don't matter if I (we) can't catch up. Like dropping off broken junk as charity - because "if you could fix it it could help, right"? no it will take forever to learn how and accomplish, require tools I likely don't have all of, cost as much or more than it's worth and be hopelessly outdated and inefficient or fragile in some way - sigh. I'd better stop. All this expenditure of extra hours I don't have = exhaustion. And it comes at me from all sorts of well-meaning angles - why can't you go to school to better yourself and keep up your business and DIY everything and re-teach your kids while you simultaneously counsel them because city public school sucks? My health is suffering, people, because it gets no attention. I want hyperactivity pills. I want to act like a rich person and effectively leverage my time to make money more efficiently. My biggest domestic enemy by far is the assumption that I'll have more energy or more time than the average person.

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  56. My Hubs and I do the same "you work when I'm at home, and I'll work when you're at home" deal and also share a POS car. We constantly make those phone or electricity decisions too and were briefly on WIC and food stamps when Hubby's company laid off 35 people unexpectedly. I also have 3 kids. So trust me when I say, I 100% get where you're coming from.

    My only hope of a brighter (slightly wealthier) future comes from my older sister who says that you always feel like you're broke and struggling to make ends meet when the kids are small. But as they get older, your situation improves and life gets a little easier.

    I really hope that's true for BOTH our families. :)

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  57. I was a solidly middle class mom until my now ex-husband went through a midlife crisis.....

    I am now a single, stay-at-home, low-income mom of a teenager and a medically fragile, special needs, adopted child.....

    All of these domestic enemies posts speak to me in some way. It is heartbreaking to me to see how a lot of you think about children - in terms of dollars and cents, though. You see, if DHR had had their way, I would not have my beautiful daughter bc her birth mother (who was extremely poor and diagnosed with mental retardation) was pressured to abort since she did not have the financial ability to care for the child.......

    That is precisely what I thought was the point of these posts - stop being so damned judgmental about other moms and try to see things from their point of view!!!!!

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  58. Right now I am a stay at Home Mom for my two kids because anything that even remotely comes close to quality day care in my area would be more than I would bring home. So we don't have a lot of extras and the holidays are tight (we make a lot of our gifts). However, as someone who has had one job or another since I was 14, at one point working THREE jobs at once so my (now ex)husband could stay in college, the ONLY time I would question someone's use of public assistance was when they were wearing a fur coat while paying for groceries with food stamps and WIC, and getting into a fancy luxury car. I try very hard not to be Judgy McJudgerson, but that just about KILLS me. Really? Down on your luck? Sell the damn fur and Caddy SUV and use that money to feed your kids. Oh, and you don't need to get a fancy set of fake nails if you can't afford to feed your family.

    Aside form that, I would NEVER EVER judge someone for keeping their family healthy by using public assistance. I had to go on Public healthcare for a while and got my teeth cleaned (for the first time in 4 years) by going to the dental college. We have these programs for a reason. Yes, there are those who will abuse them but I imagine most people use them for the limited time that they need it.

    YOU ARE AWESOME TARA! Keep on Keepin on sister, love the Hell out of that final baby and know that Mommyland has your back. And if you DO start a blog, I will be right there with your new legion of followers. I'm sure Kate and Lydia will let us know!

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  59. Crystal, May God bless you. My babies were NOT accidents. They were blessings straight from God, I know this because despite my best efforts to not have more children until we could afford it, they came. I'm glad. I thank God every night and day for them. Looking at their precious faces gave me the energy I needed at every dead end job and throughout college to make a better life for them. I have. They are old enough now to appreciate it. They know the words, we can't afford that, payday isn't for another few days.

    Tara's husband is going back to school to enable him to get a better job that will allow them to meet their needs. That means a sacrifice. Thankfully, most college students in America receive assistance or qualify for some assistance typically because it is realized that if you're going to college, you can't work as many hours and still maintain a passing grade. It sucks, it chafes the pride, but you keep your head up because you know the light at the end of the tunnel really is a light. When it's all done and over, you have a degree, hopefully a job, definitely student loans, and life lessons in boy how that sucked and don't EVER EVER EVER eat hot spam and macaroni and cheese at the same meal.

    Tara honey, if you're ever in South Dakota, stop in and I'll give you a manicure and a pedicure for free, I'm a licensed cosmetologist. Amy T

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  60. We are poor-ish. So that when compared to my extended family our standard of living is low but we are happy. Because we were infertile I took a 50% pay cut for a less stressful job that would make it easier to TTC. To afford to be able to have a house with children IN it, we had to buy a house we could afford while paying for medical bills.

    Sometimes we feel bad because our son does not have an awesome backyard or a lot of room to spread out, but hey- he is here and that is way better than the alternative.

    We know that it was worth it. Our family still does not understand the financial sacrifice we made before we even had children, just for the chance of children.

    I figure between lost wages and medical bills conceiving our son was between eighty and a hundred grand over a three year period. Depending, since I don't know how much more I would have been making if I had stayed in my field. It is easy to say children are priceless, and also true- but the financial decisions we made to have our family will probably affect us for at least another decade since I left my field and it will be really hard to break back in once our children are in school.

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  61. I don't think people should be so quick to judge, because maybe a parent lost their job after the Mom got pregnant, or maybe despite birth control methods, they still got pregnant. It's not always perfect circumstances and if you wait until the 'right time' to have a baby then that time will never come.

    That being said, if I was already blessed with kids and was struggling to get by (which I am and we are, tubes tied, we CANNOT afford to support another child) I would not purposely try to get pregnant knowing I am already having to choose between gas for my car and diapers for my baby. I would HOPE others would use the same smart judgement, but like I said above, even the best laid plans sometimes fail. You just have to keep going and do what you can to get by <3

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  62. Love you Tara! This is so great to read. Don't listen to people's judgements. How dare anyone pass judgement on someone's life and family when you are doing your very best. I was pregnant with our third daughter when my husband lost his job and our health insurance all in one day. Never did I think I would be standing on line at the department of welfare with a bulging belly, hoping to get food stamps, insurance for my kids and myself, and help with keeping the heat/lights on. I was told to bring documentation from a doctor that there was indeed a baby in my belly. I pulled my shirt up to which the case workers said that he couldn't confirm if I was pregnant or bloated. I feel all of your pain and frustration. I write a blog about this called from Prada to Payless. There are far too many families out there who are "low income" and actually below te poverty level, seeing as the poverty level hasn't been recalculated in over 40 years. You are in good company.

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  63. Thanks for writing about this, Tara. All three of your kids are lucky to have a dedicated, hard-working mom who is willing to sacrifice for their well-being.

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  64. Big Cheers to you for doing what any reasonable parent would do. Work your ass off to make sure your kids have what they need. I'm right there with you.

    I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom with my two kids from the time the oldest was born. This May, my husband got laid off from the job that allowed us to live without worrying about EVERY paycheck (just every few paychecks.) Our bills were paid in full and on time, there was plenty to eat. We were able to save a little to get fun stuff for our kids and our selves.
    Our lives totally changed with that. He's gone back to school, the kids stay home with him while Mommy works long hours of minimum wage to make sure they still have a roof and food.
    Making matters worse is trying to go back out in the work force after being "unemployed" for 5 years. (I actually had one interviewer tell me I hadn't WORKED in 5 years I almost maimed him)
    We're doing it, with all the help we can get. Do we like to accept it when we know there are others out there in worse shape then us? No. Do we suck it up and ask for the help to give us enough breathing room that we don't completely loose our schimdt? Yes. Its what we have to do.

    And in the middle of all this, I get pregnant. So now we get even better looks from people. (The universe decided it was time for this child considering my husband and I use preventative measures and only had sex ONE time in the last 6 weeks)

    *fist bump Tara* rock on and don't let the Judgey Mcjudgersons get you down, know that you have the support of other mommies just like you.

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  65. This is so true! Thank you for posting this, there are a lot of us out there who make motherhood work on a budget. We aren't bad parents just because we don't make salary. We aren't bad parents because we had to swallow our pride and ask for help. What makes us awesome is that we continue to work hard despite our financial situation. We make the best of what we've got and I think that makes us pretty awesome. When people look at me and say, "But how on Earth do you do all of that on your income?" I try not to take it as an insult, instead I take it as a compliment and tell them that I'm just a bad ass budgeting ninja and leave them in awe.

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  66. Just proves that you don't need anything but love to be a good parent. You are AWESOME.

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  67. Our mom had six children and when questioned about having so many always asked: " Which of them shall I send back?" She used to tell this to me and/or whatever agitated of my siblings was questioning {annoying} her at the moment. We had some slim money times but my folks always had enough love to go around. And we had no tv for months one time because the Magnavox literally burned up.

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  68. I used to work for a wonderful old man that had an 8th grade education and started out digging ditches when he was 14. He eventually owned an excavating company and died a millionaire. His favorite saying was "There's nothing wrong with being poor. It's just inconvenient as hell." And that's the absolute truth of it. There's light at the end of the tunnel. I've been there. Keep loving those kiddos and plugging on, your doing everything right.

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  69. Thank you Tara - I'm a working Mom of one. Husband got laid off 3 days before my DD was born and has had to stay home with her because we couldn't find affordable infant care in our area. I have worked for the same employer for 7 years with no raise or cost of living increase for the last 3 years. After several rounds of lay offs I now do that job that took 3 people to do when I first joined the company. Next year I will be bringing home less than I did in 2007 due to crazy high health insurance premiums, and that's after cancelling the dental for afford the health coverage. After some unexpected expenses this month we have $35 to last us the next 2 weeks...fun times.

    @Michelle - Middle class people acting "poor" because the economy is in the dumps drives me crazy. My family spent 2 years helping a family member we thought had fallen on hard time only to find out he made more in one year than I do in 2years, and has the top selling agent in his office. His problem was not that they didn't have any money - it was a failure to adapt quickly when the economy took a nose dive.

    All that being said - I feel grateful that my husband has been able to spend the last year caring for our daughter, grateful that I have a wonderful family to rely on when times get tough, a roof over our heads and food on the table.

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  70. Tara - You are so flipping awesome I can't even stand it. My family of 5 is in the same boat. We've done WIC, food stamps, free health care, you name it. Oh, and why? Because my husband got laid off AFTER we had kids. Because the school I taught at closed AFTER we had kids. Because despite my husband having a full time job, a part time job, and me being home with the kids and having a part time job, we still don't quite make ends meat.

    To all the haters: it is possible to lose your job AFTER having a baby. I will assume you're just *that* ignorant and didn't know better. Now you do.

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  71. I have a quick question - what's POS? (Sorry - from UK and don't recognise that one)

    I also have a quick comment - good for you.

    Okay - quick expansion on quick comment:
    I think part of these domestic enemies in particular actually stems from the (hopefully minority) of people who abuse the system and take pride in their circumstances. The women who have children - often with many different daddies - to avoid getting a job (child welfare and housing benefits pays more than minimum wage); then fill their houses with a PS3 and widescreen telly to go with it. These horrible individuals make it into the media spotlight - or simply congregate in the towns and cities in sufficient numbers - and suddenly a stereotype is born.
    So good for you for being the forerunner NEW stereotype and for being the better role model. Good for you for dealing with these domestic enemies and raising 2 1/2 children in spite of them.

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  72. There are a ton of "Middle class" people who have never had any kind of assistance just barely holding it all together too. One day you have the modest house, car, everything you need, and then circumstances change and before you know it there are no reserves anywhere, debts are high, and there just isn't nearly enough money coming in to pay that mortgage, bills and still eat. Kid needs new glasses, nowhere to find those funds, nowhere. Crappy vehicle needs repairs, that will cost more than the car is worth but you don't have the funds anyway. You're just too high an income to qualify for any sort of assistance, but there really isn't enough money to even cover the basics. I'm not talking cable TV, now that is a luxury of days past, I mean things like heat and food. Just because someone once had things good enough to buy a house (With payments equivalent to what rent would be)does not mean they are rich and can afford everything. Nor does it mean they've ever paid for salon services, manicures, or fancy new clothes.

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  73. When my husband lost his job we immediately ran out and got all of the State assistance available. We were hoping we wouldn't need it for long, but figured it would be best to... just in case. I picked up a crappy waitressing job and he started milking cows. We hadn't changed, just our circumstances had. But once I started using the food stamps and medicaid, people that were nice to us before, started looking down on us. Yes, I'm talking to you, Ms Old Lady Cashier at the Grocery store. The doctors treated us like crap, where before when we had private insurance, they were fine with running all sorts of expensive tests that were needed. Once they saw the MA on my chart it was "Oh, you're poor. I don't think you need an ultra-sound to see if your intestines are falling out of your abdominal cavity. Lets just wait and see what happens". This lasted over a year. And it was THE BEST TIME EVER! We grew closer as a family and learned to have fun together without "things" entertaining us. The hubby now has a kick ass job and our financials have improved. But we still live like we did back then, minus the bitchy look from that damn cashier that I STILL HATE!

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  74. I distinctly remember growing up low-income. My dad was an alcoholic with only his high school education and my mom hadn't made it that far. When she finally snapped and told him to choose the booze or us, he picked us. We packed our lives and trekked to Washington state in the middle of a recession.

    The four of us wound up in a homeless shelter for families where we would sneak the dog in at night and I would practice for orchestra in a parking lot. My parents couldn't find work being under-educated in a bad economy and we finally moved back to Oklahoma (a very low-income state). They both returned to school and my dad passed before he could have an official career. But I learned that no matter what, you keep plugging along because they did it with two mouths to feed.

    I was bused across town to a high school that one could liken to the high school where Michele Pfeifer taught in 'Dangerous Minds'. I made the Honor Roll and graduated in 1999. I married (and later divorced) my high school sweetheart.

    I had a happy and fulfilling childhood. We didn't get toys or treats hardly ever. Gifts were ONLY for the holidays and one of my most beloved gifts is a stuffed bunny that we got from a charity Christmas function that my mom took my little sister and I too one year (she cried from embarrassment, but we didn't know we were there because we were poor and I don't remember missing out on presents - even though I know they couldn't buy us anything that year). I do remember game nights, music, parks, cleaning the house together, reading, art projects, science projects and a whole WHOLE lot of appreciation for what we did have.

    I look at my low-income childhood fondly and with an enormous amount of respect for my parents who might have only barely scraped by but who taught us how to love unconditionally and how to keep our heads up. So what if your kids remember being poor? It taught me humility. So what if they wear hand-me-downs or don't have name-brand anything...that stuff DOES NOT MATTER. Hopefully they will learn how to sacrifice and how to work hard. You are good parents. I had good parents. I try every day to be a good parent and to live a frugal life even when there is a little cash in our pockets.

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  75. haha that is SO true. When I was pregnant with my oldest son (aka Legs *cause he's freakishly tall* age 14) someone my sister worked with asked her where the baby's dad was or if he'd left me because i was pregnant, because she NEVER saw me with a man other than my dad (I lived at home with mom & dad for certain reasons)...my sister looked at her and said, "He's in Korea...that's why you NEVER see him" I hate when people assume the worst, without even trying to find out the truth. Both hubby and I bust our asses to make ends meet, yeah we get food stamps and my kids are on medicaid, but you know what, we're happy, the kids are happy. the kids are taken care of, and if you walk into my house, you can tell that children live there. my house is "clean" there's not food/dirty dishes all over the place, yeah there's laundry sitting in the living room that I could be folding right now instead of typing this, but, this is the one day a week where I don't have to pick up Shorty (the 9 yr old) until 4:30, and Legs and the Monkey (the 12 year old) until 5:30...so I'm relishing the peace and quiet...if people have problems with low income families, then i've got 2 words, KISS IT!

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  76. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this. We're in the same boat, except that I can't afford to work. My husband works 50-55 hours a week so unless we want to pay for child care (or for me to never get any sleep) I can't work. I don't know what we would do without food assistance. We've cut everything down to the bare minimum, the only reason we have internet is because our 8 year old is home schooled through a virtual academy run by a local school district.

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  77. thanks for speaking up for us tara. *fistbumps* you are awesome. i love freecycle and the occasional craigslist kids items. hand-me-downs are the best. if we don't have a coupon, we don't buy it. my 2 girls will appreciate what they have, two loving parents. what else do they really need?

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  78. Whew. This is probably one of the best Domestic Enemy posts. It's hard, though....I think that there are probably some families to whom you can say, "um, you seriously might want to stop having kids, because you can't, or have to seriously struggle to, support the ones that you already have." There are are also people in social services lines that say, "yay, another kid, more money." Sadly, so sadly, there are probably circumstances like that, and those are the "stereotypes" for sure. Sorry to say that's true. However, reading Tara's posting here, I don't think she's one of the ugly stereotypes, and I think as Moms, hell, as human beings, we shouldln't presume to think any situation is a stereotype without getting to know the people and seeing what they are doing and the struggles they may be going through. In this day and age, even the middle income levels like myself, struggle on a weekly or monthly basis to make ends meet and support their families. I think we all should support each other, and applaud each other's effort to do the very best we can for our kids--whether that means slogging it out alone, with our friends and a t-box every once in a while to help us chill out and stay sane, or by asking for assistance where we can get it. To Tara, I say, great post (do you have a Blog, by the way!? I'd love to follow it!), and keep up the good work!

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  79. It doesn't take money to love a child! Your children sound well loved and are being raised by a hard working Mom and Dad and will learn work ethics and honesty which is a lot more than most people are raising their kids with now a days. Keeep on keeping on....Kuddos to you! Peace, Love and Light

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  80. Here is the thing, I work my MFing ASS off at a "high paying" job and we're still broke as all hell. My hubs was laid off 10 months ago (immediately following my 1 year mat leave, when we were supposed to start catching up), and despite having 12 years experience in his field, he's not managed to find new employment. We had NO idea it would come to this, and are lucky we HAVE a house to sell, but we're having to sell our house. We weren't smart enough to think ahead about how to cut our expenses, because we really did assume he'd get work again fast. And now, we're paying the price. So hard work or desire to succeed or "working low paying jobs to pay your way through college" don't mean anything when the world is in the disorder it is. Frankly, I'd feel better if I DID just sit on my butt and do nothing throughout my 20s because I'd be in the same position I'm in now, but with less anger. At least I could blame myself (wait, I do NOT mean that to sound like you did that. I'm just ranting my own rant here...just to be clear :)

    I commend you for making it work. It's hard to make ends meet no matter what you're doing, and mine just keep slipping farther apart. So I think you're right, you were much more prepared for all the economic non-sense than most of us. And good for you for realizing that sometimes the simplest option is the best one (because what is better than bleach and a sponge, or even vinegar?)

    And I don't get why people assume low income = dirty either. Just because no one will pay you what you're worth does not mean you can't live the life you deserve.

    I'm lucky in that my parents have means, and they spoil my kid. Lucky because I know SO many people with daughters older than mine, and they have given me more clothes than I know what to do with. Lucky because I do have a job at all, so we can survive.

    I am lucky and so are you. Lucky that you're smart enough to take life for what it's worth, and make the most of it despite the struggles you face. Your children are lucky you care so much.

    And for the record, from what I can tell (and I only have 1 child so I could very well be wrong) but 3 children is going to cost you the same as 2...you must have all the things you need, and you must be almost done with diapers on the other 2 kids so honestly? What's the difference? Last time I checked, breast milk was free and infants didn't eat much.

    You'll make it work. You already have.

    Now do YOU have any advice for the rest of us ;)

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  81. I grew up in a low-income home, and after my Mom fixed our broken home by divorcing the monster, we were even lower income. Single Mom plus 3 kids equals assistance. As a teenager, I thought about being whiny and embarrassed by it for about 3 seconds but then I saw how much it helped my Mom sleep when the money could be stretched to cover everything else that has to be paid for. As an adult with my own family, I see how incredibly humble and strong my Mom was by accepting that assistance and it just increases my respect for her beyond infinity.

    She worked hard, she went to school at night, and I remember my childhood as full and wonderful. We might not have had the newest and most expensive things, but we always had things, and she made sure that we always, always had what we needed. And she even was able, and now that I know how hard it is, I have no earthly idea how, she was usually able to be at our school special things. And yes, our house was always spotless. Heaven forbid you leave a dirty glass in the sink. I shudder to think.

    And there's no way to say "I'm proud of you" without sounding condescending, but truly, I am. Maybe it should be I'm proud for you. You're doing what you can with what you have and making your children happy in the process. Maybe it should be you make me proud to (sort of) know you. You are awesome.

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  82. Here is another thought for those who may be judging the "poor with kids" - folks who currently serve in the armed serves as enlisted often make below poverty line income. Their spouse can't always get a job to make ends meet because (1)of the constant moving they do and employers don't want to train someone who is going to move (2)the military member gets deployed and there is no way they can afford daycare. These are the people defending your freedom.

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  83. I love this post more than I think I can express. We have 4 gorgeous kids, we live on one income, and my husband makes just enough to keep us from qualifying for any help but not enough to really live on. So I know that my van can go at least 55 kms with the gas light on, I know how to stretch my food budget until it squeaks, and I know that lots of love and time spent together more than makes up for the fact that my kids don't get the latest, greatest toys and game systems. We didn't plan for things to turn out this way, but they did and we make the best of it every day. That's all we can do, right? We have a roof over us, food and water, and clothing to wear. It's all about the priorities.

    And congrats on the new bundle of joy!!

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  84. Thank you, Tara! Growing up with a single mom who was a poorly-paid school teacher taught me to be resourceful, thrifty and very thankful for the things I do have. I knew we didn't have a lot of money but I never felt like we did without anything. Must have been all the love! Keep up the good work to you and Jeffe!

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  85. Tara, Thank you for putting this in perspective for me. Sure, I read about the economy and folks losing jobs and living paycheck to paycheck (which we do as well) but I've been guilty of not truly thinking about how we spend our money and what we are teaching our children. Your words about choosing gas or diapers smacked me in the face. I've never had to face those decisions and feel like a jerk for taking it for granted. I am taking your words to heart and am going to be better at budgeting our money, making sound decisions, giving more to the community and LOVING OUR CHILDREN not a computer or a fancy car. I admire you as a mother and a person and in reality, you are one of the heroes of America...Thank you for the gut check.

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  86. "Anonymous - "Life is good, it is tough and stressfull. But it is good! I could live in Haiti after all."

    You are so right...and until you've been to Haiti (or any other 3rd world country)and seen it first hand (which I have, 7 months after the earthquake) you have NO IDEA what it means to be REALLY poor.

    My hat is off to you Tara, it stinks to have stigma, Judgy McJudgersons, and all those others attached to your life situation no matter what life situation it is. You keep rockin' your family's world cuz you are doing a good job at it!

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  87. One reason why so many judge the poor so harshly is deeply defensive ... the poor MUST be lazy, immoral, promiscuous, stupid, etc. and thus the cause entire of their own difficulties; this kind of thinking psychologically protects the hard-working, moral, proper, bright ones such as we, who could never be hungry, homeless, jailed, pimped or otherwise like "them."

    Get used to the expanding social devastation of poverty; 1/3 of Americans, or close to 100 million, are now considered poor or very close to poor. At the same time the top 600 people in the US have more than the bottom 99.9 percent combined and the richest 400 people in the world have more that the bottom 3,000,000,000 (that's three billion) combined.

    Meanwhile corporations like Walmart pay so little that many of their full time workers rely on food stamps to feed their families, which means that the taxpayers subsidize the richest retail operation in the world even as it smashes workers' attempts to obtain a living wage and health care benefits.

    While it is nice to sympathize with the poor and sigh deeply for their plight, far more needs to be done to change the economic/political system that is wiping out the middle class in much of the world and which may very well pay a visit to your town (or even your home) within a few years.

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  88. Being selective and refusing to post the comments that are not supporting the author...I expected more from you Kate and Lydia. The author put her story out there and should expect both positive and negative responses. Why the filtering? We're all big girls with our big girl panties on, we can take it. Where is my comment?

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  89. Thank you Tara. I have tears in my eyes. I was the firstborn in a farm-family home with a mom, a dad, and 2 other siblings. My parents divorced because of marital problems after my brother died from SIDS(who can blame them), and my mother, who was married right out of high school, stayed home with us 3 kids. My dad paid pennies for child support for us. She scraped by, and we recieved every kind of assistance we could. One year we recieved christmas presents form the giving tree. It was a bittersweet christmas. Other years we had no christmas at all. I remember classmates getting high priced toys, and to be honest I never envied them. Mom made our home full of love. I hope you read this, Tara, because someday your kids WILL thank you, and hold these times in ther heart. They will appreciate everything you do for them. Thank you for posting.

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  90. To everyone questioning the 'decision' to bring a 3rd child in the world, I'll just say this. Birth control is expensive. Especially when you have no health insurance. You know what else is expensive? Going to the doctor with no insurance. And the gas to get the 20 mile drive to the nearest free clinic once a month to pick up new pills. Condoms ain't cheap, either, but the hubby and I were usuing them faithfully to prevent a second baby, but she came just the same. Good thing my doctor tied my tubes to prevent a third. I just hope it worked, because it sure didn't for my friend...

    As for Anonymous at 12:00- no one said every child who gets nice presents is an 'over-entitled asshat'. But some are. Let me tell you about where I grew up, because there was no shortage of over-entitled asshats. Hell, a good friend of mine got three cars before she was 18. Not three beaters that kept clunking out. Three brand. new. cars. Because the first, a 2-seater sports car, couldn't hold enough, let's buy a Mercedes and an SUV. And a lake house so you don't have to keep hosting your friends here where your parents are. I actually heard not one, but several people at my high school complain that their parents didn't buy them the 'right' car when they turned 16- to hell with the fact that most 16 year olds in the rest of the country would be thrilled with any kind of vehicle at 16. I was over the moon with the beater minivan I got, and I only got it as long as I turned into the family chauffeur so my parents didn't have to drive my brother and sister all over the place themselves.
    It was like living in an episode of "My Super Sweet Sixteen". I've seen it all. A black credit card for a boy who can't even drive yet? Yep. Breast implants on a girl who can't legally show them off? Of course. Prom dresses that cost more than most wedding dresses? The norm. An 8 year old throwing a fit because her mom 'dared' to shop for her jeans in the mall and not at Exclusive Designer Store? Sadly enough yes. A 12 year old boy who got his dad to take him and his 10 best friends to an executive box at an NFL game? You bet.
    There is NOTHING wrong with getting your kid nicer things, especially if you work your arse off and sacrifice your own pleasure for theirs. But blindly giving your kids any and everything so they think you are neglectful because you won't buy them their 6th Coach purse? Congratulations, you've raised an over-entitled asshat. Call MTV, they'll give them a show.

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  91. Great post.. I can say that I've been there. I remember not being able to afford daycare and work. I remember sharing one car for 2.5 years! I remember "buying" clothes from the free rooms at many churches in affluent areas.. I've done food banks, Angel Food ministries and Goodwill. I sold things for money, even did paid medical studies! I got scholarships for preschool, found low cost preschool alternatives, even worked at a YMCA just for free day care and activities for my kids so they could be like the others.
    I remember the comments and stares I got with my kids. Just keep doing what you need to do honey! There are so many of us out there that have been there, are there, or know about it.. just remember to say Fudge you to them and their judgy atitudes. Do what is best for you and yours.. screw everyone else!

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  92. Interesting how people can grow up the same, but have totally different perspectives regarding it. My husband and his brother grew up very, very poor. As a result, his brother spoils his daughter shamelessly so that she will have everything he didn't have growing up. My husband is almost the opposite, and says our daughter doesn't need all the "stuff" to make her happy. We don't have a TV, we've been five years without a vehicle, I use baking soda to wash my hair, and make my own laundry soap. My husband works as little as he can - just enough to get by - so that his family has what he considers the most important thing - himself. Our families don't understand how we can "choose poverty" but it works for us. We are happy, and that's what matters.

    P.S. Crystal, I live in Canada too. If you think our economy is not messed up, you're a little uninformed.

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  93. You know, I HAVE family members that abuse the system, and really ARE too lazy to go out and get jobs, and that totally affected my outlook on people who are on welfare. Then I had the luck to work with this really wonderful mom who works 40+ hours a week and has 5 kids. She's on welfare, but she works her butt off to support them as much as possible without having to be completely on state assistance. When she shows me pictures of her kids, you can see that they are feed and clothed and her house is spit polished. I totally respect her and it made me realize that not everyone on state assistance is a low life. It's totally unfortunate though that I know WAY too many of them. I totally respect you too Tara - keep up the good work!

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    1. Everyone at my work has kids and SNAP cards and 40-hour work weeks. I have a SNAP card, too. It will stay in my wallet until the day I die. Unless it is stolen by another poor person, or I frame it--or I give it to you (@5:06). Because I don't think that knowing one token, sterling SNAP recipient, who polishes her house with her own spit (mein Gott!) has truly convinced you that "not everyone on state assistance is a low life". Not when you are intimately acquainted with such an army of low-lives. No, I think that people who lack imagination (I was one) just have to live it.

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  94. Tara...you amazing woman you...name child #3 "BREAD" because I'm sure he or she will be the stuff to hold Peanut Butter and Jelly together! XO from another strapped mom!

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  95. In defense of Crystal, sort of, One problem I see EVERYWHERE in America and especially in relation to other countries is Health Care. Birth control in the US can be very expensive especially the more reliable kinds - surprises happen to low income women far more than those with private insurance (or maybe it just seems that way because we all assume a middle class family planned a new baby). Studies are showing that not all BCPs are created equal. However this is not clear about our system from the outside and can be hard for other nationals to understand.

    Anyone who pays into our welfare and support systems deserves to benefit from them, free of judgment. Families deserve to make up their own minds as to what is the right size for them.

    But the main point is low income people are constantly judged even when their actions have no adverse effect on anyone else outside their family.

    And POS = piece of ***poop***

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  96. IMO if couples didn't have babies because of money, then 75% of us would not be here. We have babies out of love, and even though things are hard, it is worth the struggle. I would rather live in my parent's basement (believe me, that is undesirable) than not have my kiddos.
    Some people don't have kids for financial reasons, and that is what they think is best for them. Everyone is doing the best they can.
    We shouldn't judge, we all do things that others might not think is wise. But if we were in their shoes, we would do the same as them.

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  97. I am going through the same thing right now. The filling out of paperwork, and the demeaning questions, in combination with the constant fear that the cars will be repossessed or the heat shut off. But I am CONSTANTLY told how awesome my kid is, and she is happy. Proof you don't need money to be a great parent!

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  98. Great post, Tara! And to all the jack holes who question your decision to have another child? Screw them!

    When I was in grad school & then unemployed I had to get Medicaid for my daughter & going to that place to apply is a humiliating experience. But it's there for a reason & paying $20 a month for her health insurance sure beat paying $200 a month for private insurance. Some people need to walk a mile in our shoes before they become Judgy McJudgersons...

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  99. Katy @ 4:39 pm I think we went to the same high school :)

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  100. I guess we would be considered upper lower class. We stretch one pay check as far as it will go and I just got a very part time job. I have two kids and my husband works very hard to keep us all fed. Fortunately I have a family who is willing to step in and give the kids whatever they need, especially in the clothing department. We live with hand me downs and garage sale items. It works for us, we'll never be rich but our kids will always have our love. On the plus side, anything extra the kids want, toys or whatever, they have to spend their money to get it. If they don't have money, they don't get the toy. They are ages 5 and 2 and we are starting them on the value of a dollar early. Keep up the good work Tara, you're doing the best you can and your kids will love you for it.

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  101. I so need to write a rant about all the crap that goes with having a hubby that is disabled, but not in a way you can SEE and if he takes enough painkillers he can do stuff that's really hard....like mow our tiny lawn, or vaccuum.

    I can totally relate to this rant, though!! Because we get the bulk of our $ from the Gov't (and benefits from my husband's AWESOME union, thank goodness) and provincial benefits, we get some of the 'tude too :( It sucks. I can only make a certain amount of money a year before it puts our tax in a pile of $hit and we get benefits taken away and charged a bunch of money we don't have.

    We are right on the cusp of making too much for most benefits and not making enough money to get by, that loverly grey area where so many of us are floating.

    BTW, I'm in Canada too!

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  102. It's a damn shame that we can't show some support for somebody out of the millions in this country having a hard time getting by. Tara, I hope the day you and your family no longer have to rely on assistance comes soon. Until then keep your head up hun!

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  103. Love this post!! As a once low income mommy I was saying yes to everything you wrote!! When my husband and I decided to add our 5th child finances weren't an issue. I was working part time for fun, he had a well paying full time job and we had extra money every month. We owned our house for over 15 years and even had a "safety net" in savings. As the economy fell things got scary. My dh was let go due to cutting costs in the company. We found ourselves going from stable homeowners to low income and living with my parents all within a year and a half. The safety net dried up and food stamps and medicaid were a life saver. Sadly we didn't qualify for welfare due to having over 25,000 in equity in our house ( try and get your mortgage company to loan you extra when you have no job). We got on our feet thanks to food stamps and medical and while it sucked living through it, it gave me an eye opener that it can happen to ANYONE. We did everything right and still ended up on assistance and low income. We planned and saved and all it took was a layoff and over a year of finding a job ANY job in his field. The problem with finding a job is a lot of the time your OVER qualified and don't get hired at McDonalds.So to all the people who say you should have done this and that, to that I say you can do all of that but if god forbid you end up in a position like we did, it makes it all futile. I commend you for doing what you do to survive. To showing your children that you don't give up, you stick together and work through it all. Luckily my DH found another job in a different state and we are slowly rebuilding our lives. We worked ourselves off of food stamps but I will never look down on another person whos situation I have no idea about.

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  104. Reading this article and all the comments really opened my eyes to alot of things. I knew there were people who had to make the choice of gas or groceries, but these stories made it very real. i applaud ALL moms, it's the hardest job in the world. And I applaud moms doing whatever it takes to take care of their kids (whether it be getting on public assistance or staying married to a man they hate for the financial rewards)..after all, isn't it all the same? judgement is never pretty, not on any one, and all children are blessings, regardless to whether they were planned or not.

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  105. As a SAHM that has struggled with finances and watch friend after friend lose their home to foreclosure I LOVED this post...until "My kids will learn to be the opposite of these other over-entitled asshats through our example." I don't think name-calling will serve your purpose. You don't want your kids judged for not having money and that sounds a bit bitter against those that do. True - your kids will have a much better work ethic and sense of self and you should feel proud of that - but no need for calling other people's kids "asshats." Brats, maybe - but asshat?

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  106. A single mother with five kids shouldn't feel obligated to work her ass off (out of the house) just to avoid being *entirely* on public assistance.

    Isn't she doing society an incredible service by being a kick-ass mom? Where's your family values, Fox News?

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    1. Love it, Jamie. Well said.

      --Evelina

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  107. DHS *is* an unbelievable pain in the ass to deal with, and getting/keeping benefits is a MAJOR accomplishment, so go you!!

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  108. We can't afford insurance for so our daughter has state insurance she has had health issues she now has to see a dr about her ears and 8 offices told me no because she was state insurance. We get wic but will lose it because my ten cent raise put us over. Thank you for writing this I don't feel so alone reading so many are having a hard time too

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  109. Crystal and the rest of the Judgey Mc Judgersons are enemy number 6. More children? Some pregnancies occur despite our best efforts with birth control. Should people below a certain income level be required to abstain from vaginal intercourse? Tara has a job. She obviously pays taxes. Her husband has also paid taxes. They will continue to work and pay taxes. Public assistance is there for people who need it. Many jobs pay piss poor wages and do not offer insurance. If everyone is expected to earn enough to avoid benefits, who is going to work at McDonalds and Target? Again, should people below a certain income level be denied the right to have vaginal intercourse? Queen bees need worker bees. You are the type of entitled people who would whine all day over having to make your own breakfast sandwich and soy latte. There but for the grace of God go you! Get over yourselves.
    Tara, I tip my hat to you. Thank you for being honest about the fact that life isn't always easy even when you are making every effort to take care of your family. I wish you all the happiness and good fortune you deserve.

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  110. I'm not going to judge anyone for having kids under whatever circumstances but to the people who say that the kids won't remember growing up poor, they will remember all the love and good parenting? I can tell you from personal experience that that is not true at all.

    I grew up in a poor, single parent household and went to a middle to upper class school and was constantly tormented for being one of the have-nots. I remember being cold when the heat got turned off. I remember having to help my mom look for coins under the couches and in coat pockets to try to find enough money to buy Ramen noodles for dinner. I having the water and electricity shut off for days at a time because the bills weren't paid.

    None of this made my mom a bad person and she certainly loved us well and raised us the best she could but I will never forget the struggle and embarrassment of growing up this way.

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  111. First of all-Kate and Lydia thanks for all you do, you keep me sane by letting me laugh at things that would surely drive me to tears otherwise. Second of all, thank you to Tara for her post yesterday-it really got me thinking about things...our family is not too far off from where her's is the only difference is she lives within what she has and I always try to make it feel as if we have more, I don't want to admit that we can't afford things so I figure out a way to get them but at the cost of something else. We are always robbing Peter to pay Paul and don't have a cent in the bank for back up-Tara thank you for making me realize what is truly important, not that I give my kids EVERYTHING their little hearts desire for Christmas but that we are happy, healthy and together. I am going to scale it back big time this year and work to get us in a better place, rather than always running to catch up. I am almost 40 years old and I have yet to learn good money management skills but it's never too late to start right?

    DH was out of work for over a year and had to take a 1/2 pay cut and start from scratch since we moved from a much higher cost of living on the East Coast to the Midwest. I work from home full time and my parents help us out with childcare (thank God since it was costing us exactly what my husband is making right now for two kids in day care/preschool. We drive a 12 year old Explorer we got for free that has serious schizophrenic door locks and a broken front seat (we have a pickle barrel in the back seat holding it up at the moment and 180,000 miles on it and a 18 year old Geo Tracker that we love as it costs so little to fill up the gas tank. Our older goes to Catholic School for pre K and will have to go to public school next year as there is no way we can afford the 7K/year tuition...I hate that we pull up in one of our POS cars as everyone else steps out of Escalades and Navigators...but you know what-my lovely, sweet 5 year old doesn't notice-she doesn't know we don't have what others do, nor does she care. I need to take a lesson from her. The good thing is we are not in debt as far as mortgage, car payments or credit cards but I have definitely been in the "what bill do I have to pay first to avoid service interruption?" chokehold. I'm hoping it gets better but if not-screw it, I have smart, funny and beautiful children who I am raising to be great people...the other stuff is just window dressing.

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  112. Thank you RFML for posting this. I have been hoping to see something like this post.

    It is true and honest, and being in this situation, I can relate to what is being said.

    I hate being on assistance, but I am so grateful for it. I want this to be a temporary situation in my life, but temporary still probably has a couple years. I am trying to go to school, and the assistance I have allows me to take care of my two kids and go to school without having to work. I am so happy that I can get to spend time with them, loving them and caring for them, that I feel it is worth the judgement from others for not having a job. If I worked then I would never see my girls, and I can't see that being a better situation for any of us.

    I appreciate the honesty here and am grateful for the support of other moms who "get it."

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  113. Great post Tara, keep on keepin on!

    POS = piece of shit, as in a clunky old unreliable car that is pretty likely to break down any minute leaving you stranded on the side of the road in a blizzard...
    Can you tell I drive one too? and that is the reason I spend the extra bucks on having a cell phone. cheapest plan, cheapest phone, but it is worth it.

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  114. Brutal honesty makes my heart swell. This post was great. Thank you so much for sharing it. Let me give you a little advice....just kidding. I have great respect for you and your mama-ing.

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  115. Thank you for a great article and all the spirited comments that have followed! We need to not forget that we are all moms doing the best we can - rich, poor, and all the other places in the middle. So passing judgement on each other just seems so unproductive. We all have a story and that story is what makes us unique.

    Cheers to Tara for doing the best she can!

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  116. Thank you. And as a woman who has a 15 y/o with a baby daddy who flaked out on me when I was 16 (and 17 other women...I totally don't want him back) and is divorced (for reasons that are NO ONE ELSE'S BEESWAX)with two younger kids may I add

    I am poor and I am raising my kids to be good, moral, successful and content adults someday. I taught them not to measure people based on their affluence, but on their actions.

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  117. Tara, you're awesome and your post hit it right on the head. I feel ya.
    Until January of 2010, I owned my own business. It wasn't raking in the dough but it was mine and I loved it. I made enough to keep my head above water. When I was 7.5 months pregnant with my first child (I was 37), the store had to close due to the economy and the state in which I live. My husband works 40 hours/week. It took me over a year to find a part-time job for $9/hr and no benefits. If it weren't for food stamps and medicaid we wouldn't eat and my daughter wouldn't have medical access. I'm back in college to hopefully better our situation. The talk of people being lazy who are on aid of some sort drives me to drink (or it would if I could afford a tbox!) I hate that I need the help, but we do. We also juggle the bills, what gets paid this week, what can we put off til next. My gas light is on in my car and I'm not sure if it will get me to work friday. I love my daughter. With all my heart, and I feel bad that I can't get her the best things. But I do what I can and make sure she knows she is so loved.
    I'll admit, my daughter was not planned. But I'm so glad, even if things are hard, that she's here. Honestly, at my age, she was pretty much my only shot at having a child.
    I applaud you, Tara. And I hope you can ignore the comments that seem to be judging you. "There but for the grace of god, go I"...some people can't see beyond their own shallow little world. Rock on Tara...you're awesome! Thank you for your post!

    Jenna

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  118. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! For posting this. I really think people just think we are lazy and could care less. Well, I am a SINGLE mother of two wonderful children. Both by the same father, because people just have to know that (which is silly because what business is it of yours). Anyways, relationships sometimes don't work, people grow apart and are not wanting the same things. I work my ass of every single day while bills pile up. I decide every week, should I pay daycare, phone bill, heat, rent, or car payment??? Hmmm...lets just pick one and hope we can get through until the next week. Oh, and Christmas is 24 days away..really??? Well, lets hope that Santa is looking out for us so my kids can have a decent Christmas this year. And you know what is great, my kids understand that things are a little rough right now. When they ask "Mommy can I please get that $2 car" and I have to say "sorry not today" they just put it back and say "OK". I am there and hope not to be much longer. I think to myself every single day, should I get ANOTHER job and sacrifice seeing my kids and tucking them tightly into bed every night?
    Tara- I just want to Thank you so much for posting this, sometimes I need to know I am not the only one going through this right now.
    And for the people who judge and make nasty comments...please- don't even go there until you walk a day in our shoes and know what it's like!!!

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  120. AMEN SISTA!!! I'm so with you on this one.

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  121. Dear Tara:

    Thank YOU for making me recognise how lucky I am and how much we have. It might not be much materially (although we're not too badly off), but we have values to which I hold firm and they're worth a lot.

    Cheers,
    Catherine

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  122. Tara,
    I'm so sorry for the rough times you are having. It's hard to get ahead these days. But please take pride in th fact that your great parents doing all that you can do for your family.
    I'm consider "middle" middle class and we have our own trials. We own a home and I'm a stay at home mom, so believe me I know I'm blessed and am
    Not complaining. But I work hard, regardless of not having an out of the home job, can't afford daycare even if I wanted to work outside of the home. At first I watched five kids other than my own and waitressed on weekends, but my husband was blessed over the years and now I only watch a few children other than my own, four days a week instead of five.
    Even with now reaching the "middle" middle class status, we aren't your normal average couple. We own Two beater paid for cars, Donnot have cable, internet, or land lines. (thank you library, and my parents who live in
    the same town) and Try to get all the free local deals for entertainment. Eating out? What's that? Why do we live like this?
    Two reasons, s
    1) so we can save a buck cuz as home owners rainy days tend to com often. Plus we are attempting to save for retirement, seriously it's sad how lite we save bit it's something
    2) so we can give. It may not seem like a lot and I know that we aren't rock stars living a life of luxury, but 50$ a month without fail is donated to local charities helping those less fortunate than us. Why cuz we are blessed enough to pay our bills and live comfortably. Plus I want my kids to understand that this is important, helping others. Not namebrand clothes, the later tech gadget or fancy toys, but people. We are all a family in this big world, we should all help out.
    You Tara shoal be praised for doing your best!!

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  123. Some of you have scolded others for judging without "having walked [a mile] in [Tara's] shoes." And you're right to do so. But it seems hard for judgmental people to come to the same conclusion as others. I remember my single-mom-with-a-college-degree-working-five-part-time-jobs-because-two-jobs-could-include-time-with-my-kid years and think about the time I File 13'd my WIC file in the face of an oppressive and controlling gatekeeper.

    After having gone through the drill for a couple years, I knew the obligatory needle-stick for an iron check was going to precede a stand on the adult-sized scales. And I knew my two year old enough to understand she wasn't going to be able to *stand* anywhere after being poked with a needle. (I knew it because I was an observant and appropriate parent *wink*.) So I had preceded the humiliating two-hour plus check-up WIC schedule with a pediatrician visit only a week before, had collected documentation of the iron count, and offered the clinical report to the gatekeeper with the request that my child not have her finger stuck on that day.
    She said no, insisting that her order be maintained.
    I finally lost my schmidt with it all and stormed out of the clinic.
    That worn-out gatekeeper might have walked in my poor shoes, but she couldn't imagine a reality outside her own.
    I guess we could apply that idea to all domestic enemies. It takes more than mile-walking.

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  124. i can totally empathise with tara,and to make judgments about her is so low,how dare someone suggest she not have children due to her situation we dont know anything about her situation other than her and her husband work hard and do the best they can,and to suggest that this wil have a negative impact on the children is ridiculous.some of the most badly behaved children i know,have privilaged upbringings(read downright spoilt)so judgy mcjudgersons need to zip up,and think how theyd feel in the same situation..wish tara and her family,and anyone in a similar situation all the best xx :)

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  125. Tara, you do rock, and I wish the best for your family. You seem very intelligent and resourceful, and have great writing skills. I hope that whenever you're ready to get back to work after the new baby arrives, you'll look for a job where you can put those skills to use. An entry-level office job (which would probably be pretty good itself) can lead to fantastic opportunities if you're smart and you just get your foot in the door. (I speak from experience.) Also, judging from the other positive comments left here, you could start a "broke mom" blog and have tons of followers right out of the gate. Hugs and happy holidays to you!

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  126. LOVE this post!! I am a single mom of 4 kids, and couple of those kiddos were unexpected additions. I am going to college to learn a new career to provide for my family b/c I got laid off twice in a row from my old field after a horrible, awful, no good divorce. I get a lot of judgemental snark from people who question every decision and aspect of my life while not bothering to become part of a solution to help. My situation was not something I planned on, or dreamed about-it was the result of a selfish person leaving the family he helped create when things got tough. My son didn't ask to have problems, and I never planned on raising them mostly on my own. Judgemental people should step back and realize that the added stress of dealing with a difficult situation is compounded by not getting moments to recharge and rest when you are in the thick of things. Working and being preggers is one of the hardest things to do, and I commend Tara for trying her best to balance all of things in her life! Balance and sanity are very hard to come by when life is throwing those lemons like a fast-pitch softball pitcher. I love my kids, and I accept that there will be dinners of hotdogs, hand-me down clothes, Mommy given haircuts, and nights of lost sleep due to studying/worrying/doing dishes at midnight because everyone had homework, etc. Low-income moms are not all whining, ungrateful, low-lifes, in fact we are trying are best to be fabulous, thankful, lovers of life! On a budget of course. ;) -Sam W.

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  127. Tara-

    I really appreciated your post.....i think it was a long time in coming. I love RFML and read it religiously. And everyday i walk away saying..."wow it's not just me!" EVERYDAY! But i have to say today it hit home more then any other. I have 2 beautiful boys and have been a single mom for 10 years. I got pregnant at 20 with my oldest and his dad died 2 years later...then 5 years later i met a man i truly loved and i got pregnant again, but apparently he didn't love us as much, because 3 months after my son was born, he was gone. I do not get social security because i was stupid, and i don't get child support because hes a d*bag. So i truely understand what it's like to struggle. I drive a car that is 18 years old and has 150, 000 miles on it. I have no extra's besides a phone that is the lowest plan possible and a phone that barely works but it was free from a friend. Everyone has problems of some kind and needs help but we do the best we can with what we have and try to raise our kids to be compassionate, kind and generous people. Fortunately my boys know what it means when mom says we don't have money for going out to eat or going to the family fun center, but it hurts me everytime i have to tell my kids no. EVERY dollar i have goes to something necessary for our existance. I give Tara props for having the courage to brave the judgements and post this blog. ROCK on girl! Your awesome!

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  128. I can empathize too. Sometimes life hands you schmidt and you just have to cope. Four years ago my husband and I both had good jobs and we were doing well financially. So we decided we could add a baby. When I was seven months pregnant he got sick - for.a.year! With no benefits or disability. We lived on my 60% maternity leave income and ate through our meager savings. We thought it would be a good time for a baby but it turned out to be the worst possible time. But life happens. And now he is well and my daughter is the light of my life. I wouldn't have changed our decision to have her in spite of the year from hell following. I am sure that there were people who judged me for having no money and a baby. They had no idea. They had no idea how a small person could mean so much more than the money that we would have saved by not having her.

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  129. Wow!! I identify with all said except I'm a single mom. I give so much respect to working or stay at home moms that are just struggling to get through the day to day. You just don't understand fully unless you have been there. Living paycheck to paycheck and trying to do everything you can for your child.

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  130. There are so many more to list. I am the stay at home and the worker. I work a paper route so i can take my girls with me and go to school full time while they are in school. I find myself dosing from exhaustion if i am still for more than 3 minutes. Day off? Whuck is that!? Tara you have my love and support, hang in there!!

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  131. Tara -- You've gotten a lot of attention from some people who have nothin nice to say. I hope you're not letting them in your head one bit. I hope you hear, instead, all the people saying, "yes..yes..this is our story, this was our story, this could be my story". This was/is our family's story. We're climbing out of a very dark hole here in my house. The details aren't important because the story's the same: too little money, too many bills. I just want you to know that for the last few nights I've thrown y'all up there in my nightly prayers. I wish I could do more, but I trust that God will find a way to comfort you, even if he can't grow y'all a money tree.

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  132. While I cannot sympathize directly, my DH just lost his job today and the first thing most have told me is to get WIC and CHIP for my kids (I work but only 1 weekend a month with no option for more hours at this point). I'm starting to get scared about going to these offices with the posts here!
    Good luck to you Tara and all who are struggling to make ends meet and keep everyone fed. Hardest job out there is to raise our little ones!

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  133. As a mother to 4 children and 4 step children... I get it! all four of mine and one of his lives with us full time and the others are all every other weekend and holiday visitors... I have a job and my husband is the "housewife" obviously daycare for my brood all of them under 12 even the step kids! would be insane! I went from 50+k in a year to 8.75 an hour no more than 30 hours a week usually around 23 a week but unfortunately in December it has went to 10 a week due to lack of hours whatever :(.... but anyway of course I lost my house and cars and sold the big TV and blah blah blah that doesn't bother me so much as that living paycheck to paycheck doesn't even qualify as a statement in my house I get paid and its gone by the next day! People give me their advice.... Yes I get assistance yes I get food stamps but OMG is it still hard. I cannot count the number of times I have contemplated insane things just to get by!

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  134. I also think Tara rocks. We're not hurting yet we still watch what we spent money on (one reason why the house still has the original carpeting that was installed 5 years before we bought it 8 years ago -- that and a geriatric dog who has poop issues. Seriously, that dog poop game is whack.) My husband not only hasn't had a pay raise, he's had a pay CUT. We just pray his 9 year old Toyota with 200k miles on it hangs in there.

    One thing that struck me reading the comments is the number of military families on benefits. WTF?? That is so not right that kids of soldiers overseas are on foodstamps. (My DH is a USAF brat and his dad was in Vietnam for 3 tours.)

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  135. Good on ya Tara...as what was once an upper middle class gone to middle class and now lower middle class (is there such a thing?) due to the economy- fun w jobs- being laid off..my husband's job having a CFO and CEO commit wire fraud and laying off all but a small handful who got to stay on and hope for paychecks and not know from day to day how long this was going to last, and then of course have major health issues that cost thousands of dollars...we watched what we built dwindle. We are paycheck to paycheck and have cut massively. I do want to point out that while our children have lived in various points- not all middle to upper middle class parents raise their kids to have an entitled mindset. Before we were in this place of struggle- it was important for our kids to learn that they are not entitled to getting what they want just because they asked for it. Their parents work hard and they need to work hard as well. Luckily we set the bar for them when we weren't struggling so they don't notice the struggle as much. We are honest with them about what things cost without making them worry.

    We struggle without the benefit of assistance because we 'make too much' even though we find ourselves having to make the tough decisions week to week as to what will stay on and what more we can go without.

    Good on all the moms and dad's who are working hard to make it work for their kids. All that matters when your kids grow up- that they feel empowered to be who they want to be, have a sense of purpose, a capability for happiness and most importantly- that they are the best human beings with a sense of duty to their fellow men and women. Raise them to treat their fellow human beings with respect, care, and a lack of judgement. It isn't 'stuff' that will get them there- but the raising from the people who love them starting with their parents. That is what my parents did for me and while they struggled, I look back and am thankful and appreciative for the love they had for me to show me these things and put the time into raising me.

    You are all awesome- thanks for reading this :)

    Thanks,
    Amanda

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  136. I loved this. Tara, I have a suggestion. I don't know if it will help. You have an amazing gift as a writer. Someplace must want to publish what you write. Maybe it wouldn't pay a lot. Does anyone on this site know? Couldn't someone help her find someplace to freelance?

    Kate and Lydia, you guys rock.

    I am a professional with an advanced degree, and I'm a divorced mom with two children. I had to go on food stamps for almost six months. I make a decent salary, but it's like walking a tightrope over a bottomless pit. I could lose that job tomorrow. Please don't think that because someone works at a good job that they are judging you.

    My children have special needs, and we could live on half of what I make if they didn't. Their dad pays his child support, but we still rent a small apartment. I drove the last car until the repair bill would have been at least $4,000, and the new car is $300 a month. We live on a budget, and don't carry basic cable, and if I lose this job, I don't know how long it would be until I found another.

    Moms of special needs kids often have to pay out of pocket for the medical care that works, because health insurance companies tell HMO-docs what to do, even if it doesn't work. One of their doctors I pay out of pocket saved their lives, and if I have to switch it could kill my children.

    I am middle class but I think that these times are The Great Leveler. I think, There but for the grace of G0d go I. I think, if I lose this job, what can I do instead. What will happen to my children if I do. I see people who used to have a lot who have lost everything. I see people who do their best and aren't making it, anyway.

    We have a lot of laughter in our house, and I take joy in my children's progress. G0d bless you, Tara, and G0d bless all of you.

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  137. This is my favorite Domestic Enemies, and probably my favorite post here.

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  138. Another Tara

    NO, really my name is Tara. And I can tell you right now, we are one layoff from losing everything. When we bought our house and our cars in 2005 we could afford everything. Then hubby got laid off from a "white collar" job and took a 40,000 a year paycut moving into the restraunt industry because that was the place hiring. I work at a law firm. They did cuts. Now I am at another law firm (not an attorney) making 15,000 a year less because the economy bites. We struggle from paycheck to paycheck and are ecstatic that our 5 year old is finally in school so that we do not have to pay daycare, however we are STILL tring to pay off that daycare balance from the summer. We still struggle to make ends meet. We do not qualify for any assitance because we make too much?!?!? We could lose our house next month, but we make too much. We only buy store brand and I am so sick of Ramen Noodle for lunch. BUT, DS knows that we love him, because a great saturday is going to the park to ride bikes and eat our store brand picnic. I grew up POOOOOOOORRRRRR and swore that my child never would. ROCK ON TARA - the other mommy - and ALL MOMMIES out there who are busting their butts everyday to put food on the table and make sure your kid has clean clothes. Goodwill is our favorite store and god bless wal-mart and their layaway for christmas. our nearest family is 1 1/2 hours away - which is not a lot, but impossible to rely on them during sickness or no school days. What I am trying to say - DON'T GET SNARKY AT SOMEONE BUSTING THEIR BUTTS TO BE THE BEST PARENT THEY CAN. You never know when you are going to be one layoff away from losing it all as well. Think that savings account and 401 are going to save you - think again - 2 years without a job will eat that right up!!!! Just my ranty two cents.

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  139. By far, my favorite "Domestic Enemies" post. Mostly because this post is SO me & my family's situation. With a few exceptions. I stay home to take care of my our son, but only because the tiny town we live in has no jobs that would do anything but pay for daycare & I just can't justify doing that.

    We live off my DH's income & WIC. He got a raise & now we make "too much" ($6 too much, I might add) for food stamps anymore. And yet there are days that we eat only one meal a day so that our son can have enough food for 3 meals & snacks. Fortunately, his store marks down expired & damaged goods for employees to buy...otherwise, there would definitely be more times when we went hungry.

    Fortunately, we don't make too much money for our son to be taken off of Medicaid services, yet. If it weren't for Medicaid, he wouldn't have any medical care, which would be bad because he has asthma. But we don't ever go to the doctor or the dentist because that's a luxury we cannot afford. Even if we could afford the doctor, who can afford the prescription he'd write you with no insurance? Certainly not us.

    Tara, you are an inspiration. I love your sense of humor & agree with these others in saying that if you ever start your own blog, I would follow without a doubt. Our children will grow up knowing that they are loved, cared for to the best of our abilities, & what really matters in life--that we're all happy, healthy, & together. Keep on keeping on, sister.

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  140. I've been there and done that before. This post conjured up such strong motherly feelings in me that my boobs started leaking and I quit nursing a month ago.

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  141. You're so right. And so many people who judge are really just up to their eyeballs in debt. My hubby's income sounds good, but from one month to the next I have to select which bill we can forgo. And feeding a family of three with almost no grocery budget--I will reheat leftovers three different times and serve them three different ways, just so I don't have to throw anything away, because if I do we won't have enough food through the end of the month. And I'm better at finances than anyone I know, yet they see fit to tell me what I must not already know. :/ Keep rocking--you're kids are learning so much that will help them in life.

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  142. Thank you for this, Tara. I am a stay at home mom now because childcare for me would be more than I could make. With gas and such (jobs are over an hour's drive-and I have no car) it just wouldn't pay me to let someone else raise my kids. We are in the boat of "which do I pay?". We lost our home to foreclosure. My husband "makes too much" to receive any assistance. Other than my mother in law. She has been a life saver. We had to get rid of a car JUST to afford the fuel oil to heat the house. And for that money +MORE, we only got 120 gallons. NOT gonna last all winter. So unless it's below freezing out, we're making do with sweats, socks and small electric heaters (which in turn just give the electric bill a huge jump). My husband was working 2 jobs, 7 days a week until he had to have surgery. Now he's only at the one with insurance to afford meds and dr visits. As my Christmas gift, my father is having my truck repaired so (although it won't be as reliable as my hubby's poor POS) I can take the kids to the bus stop in pouring rain or snow. I'm in the middle of "Bumfukt, Egypt". There is no walking to get groceries (if I could afford them). There is only relying on my (76 year old) father to take me. DO NOT judge Tara for having another child. There's no reason for it. She may be broke and living paycheck to paycheck. But she is TAKING CARE OF HER KIDS. THEY come first. If anyone "deserves" to have kids, it's her. NOT the rich assholes who don't have time for their kids...Tara's child will come into and leave this world knowing that he/she was loved and wanted. Never having to second guess their place in their parents' hearts and lives. Again, Tara. Thank you!

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  143. Tara,

    You are an inspiration! I am so grateful for this post. I am right here too and I can't tell you the frustration it can cause when the foodstamps office is acting suspicious cause you're not getting child support. Or imply that 1.) you're not taking care of yourself so 2.) You must not be taking care of your child. My son may be dressed in hand-me-downs but he doesn't even know he's poor. He only knows he is loved. Sometimes I have to tell him we don't have the "dollars" for a new toy right now, but he is fed, clothed, and adored. Hang in there Tara! You're fantastic!!

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  144. Hey Crystal - Suck it.

    Hey Tara - You. Rock. It. Out. Girl.

    <3, a formerly low income mom

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  145. Tara, congrats on the soon-to-be-birth (or already-happened??) of your baby!

    It is hard to struggle financially. BTDT. I hope things get a little easier for you.

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  146. I grew up broke, not realizing how poor we were. Income-wise, I now know, my family qualified for EVERY benefit.. but took none, because my parents were old school.

    SO I wore hand me downs, ate from the garden - or biscuits and Insert vegetable or gravy here... and made do.

    Went to college on a full academic scholarship, and could give my six year old an ipod for his birthday this year if I wanted to... but I don't.

    Helped my parents until they died, trying to teach my kids that enough is plenty - and what you have, you share.

    Tara, your kids will be great. Good luck, and God bless.

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  147. Thank You For Writing This!!!
    You do my heart good. The "is there enough gas to get to school, nope, we're walking today, and I'll carry you when you get tired, kid" math, is real. I see it every day and have done it myself.
    Bless you.

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  148. Tara, thanks so much. I've just spent the whole day running my bits off trying to make sure my 15 month old son has food and hot water for a few more days. Been feeling like a total mummy failure, and you've made me feel human again. Thank you.

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  149. Remember, there is a difference between "poor" and "broke."

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  150. Thanks for sharing this. I wasn't participating in the blog world at this time last year, so I wasn't a fan of your awesome blog at the time. Tara, I may not be in your exact situation, but I know how it feels.

    My family would be what you consider lower middle class. The hubby works, I stay home but it's no choice of my own. Jobs are NOT easy to find for a mom of two with a four year degree-I've been looking for five months. This was after my husband spent two years in engineering school, being laid off twice during that time and working very little, not his choice either. The day he went full time, I lost my job. We make too much to qualify, for, well anything. But we have in the past and we were thrilled to get anything we could get-we were on WIC for several years, Medicaid for the kids up until recently (I went without any health insurance for a long time because after I lost my full time job 18 months ago I could only find part-time work), and for a short time even qualified for food stamps-you have to be really doing poorly in the fundage department to get those. We're not extravagant, my lord, the only entertainment we have had is renting movies, but we're getting farther and farther behind on our bills. When your husband has to drive two hours a day for the only job he could find, it sucks all your money. We always run out way before payday, and I shop at Aldis and watch every dime. This month I had to choose to go off of the generic anxiety med I have been taking because a) It's too expensive-$20 a month is just too much and b) The depression I was feeling was worse than the anxiety it helped prevent. We never wanted to be here, but hey here we are. The wolves are at the door, though I'm really hoping it's just a pack of REALLY angry chihuahuas! Merry Christmas kids, have a shiny penny.

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  151. Reading this post again after a year has brought tears to my eyes. When I read it last year, we were living in a nice house, husband and I had great jobs and our two small boys had everything they needed. This year, husband and I are separated. The boys and I rent a small room from a friend and I am working the overnight shift at Walmart and then staying up all day to watch the kids because I can't afford day care. The boys father refuses to pay child support and the only way we are surviving is that we have public assistance. If we didn't have food stamps, I don't know what we would do. It has been very demoralizing and embarrassing for me to have to rely on help from the state, but reading this post and the comments has made me feel so much better! There are other people in the same boat as me and maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. Thanks RFML!

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, what state do you live in? Have you filed for child support? If no, hurry up and go do that. Then if he refuses to pay he's in violation of a court order. Find the Child Support Enforcement Agency in your area and they can help you.

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  152. This is a really great article.

    Up until May of this year, I was a working single mom of one amazing daughter. I worked full time, and all the overtime I could manage to get, at my dead-end factory job. No child support - the ex lied in court to avoid that. I squeaked by, but barely.

    In May, the stress got to me, and I started having panic attacks and stopped being able to even go into work. Of course, that was the end of my health insurance. Now that I really need help, I can't get it. I try to do job searches, and just end up in more panic attacks. I lived off my 401k money for a while, but that ran out a couple months ago. Everything along the responsibility line - everything that has to do with being adult and in charge - has completely burnt out of me. My housekeeping has suffered drastically, even though I'm home all the time. I love to cook, but can't seem to bring myself to do it much anymore. The only thing I seem to know how to do is be a good mother. My daughter is wonderful, and we have a close relationship. She knows her mom is struggling, but we still have fun together and love each other very much. She does really well in school, both academically, and socially. She turns to me for advice. We snuggle a lot.

    I get a lot of flak from social workers. There's all this documentation they want, but I can't get my mind to wrap around it anymore. I managed to get food stamps and one month of rent from the town, but now I'm a month behind, and I've already been told they won't help me unless I do all the things they told me to do last time. I'll be completely honest - I didn't manage to do any of them. I tried, and broke down into hysterical tears in the attempts. In fact, I'm starting to cry now, just thinking about it. My car isn't legal to drive, either.

    I feel like I'm being expected to run a marathon with broken legs, but because the thing in me that is broken isn't visible, few people believe me and I feel like the worst kind of loser. My daughter believes in me, though.

    So, even those of us who aren't working, aren't looking for work, and have messy homes - we're not necessarily just a bunch of lazy moochers, either. Some of us are just plain broken down, hurting and crying and panicked over it, and not knowing how to deal with things anymore. Some of us just need a little space to get well so we can fight again, but no one will give it to us.

    Be careful who you look down on, because appearances can be so deceiving.

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  153. sadderbutwiser
    I am there with you hon, had to go off my asthma and allergy meds because that's diapers for my son each month. My husband left a job he's been at for almost 5 years, in order to work closer to home (he worked in another state), but it came with a big pay cut. A lot bigger than we anticipated. I took most of our Christmas stuff back, in order to keep the bills paid. The benefits of his new job are more than financial. My kids see their Dad now, but we're less than check to check now and it just BLOWS. And of COURSE I can't even make enough working myself to pay for daycare for our son while our daughter is in school. Talk about a gigantic rock and a hard place.

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  154. Way to go RFML and Tara. I am a low-income SINGLE mom of 3- #1's own mama told me he was sterile and now he has seeded 3- and my ex adopted her when she was 7 so all 3 of mine legally have the same father- but I found out in 2009 that he was molesting my older 2 and caught him masturbating over the 5 month old. Needless to say, he's in prison and I am divorced. We get SNAP (food stamps) and my kids are on Medicaid- without it my son would be institutionalized because he is a 99/100 ADHD with oppositional defiant disorder and PTSD. #1 has clinical depression, ADD and PTSD. I work 40+ hours a week and have been at my job almost a year. We live with my mom for convienece- my older brother and his wife live in my mortgage free home and I don't ask for any rent. We shop at yard sales and thrift stores but my kids always have clean appropriate clothes and they know they are loved.

    Tara- congrats on your bundle of joy. Bet he/she is running your butt off!

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  155. I've lived in low income housing for YEARS, been a low-income parent/person MY ENTIRE LIFE, and have now been apartment manager (with my hubby) of low-income housing for years. We don't do it because we're rich. We do it to have job that comes with rent + utils paid. I think that this post WAS AWESOME. So many people have NO IDEA what poor means. And we DON'T get food stamps. Not because this job is a so high paying, but because they consider our "Free rent" as income. So we have to spend cash - part of what little we make - for the groceries. I religously shop at thrift stores for my kids clothes, and try to get stuff that wouldn't be obvious to them that they're second hand. I was raised poor. My parents taught us the value of hard work, and that you make every dime count. But we were ALWAYS LOVED and make sure our kids no they are ALWAYS LOVED. I wish EVERYONE would read your post and re-read it. My kids here terms like "middle class" during politics... and I tell them "what we will never earn enough to be." lol.

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  156. Another domestic enemy to the low income: When your 6 month old has to wear blow-out stained clothes because you cannot afford the spiffy detergents stain removers, and the clothes have color so you can't bleach them. And everybody and their mother looks at you as if the clothes aren't stained, but just plain not washed.

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