Being a poor single mom made me hate Christmas

Single moms and budgets and poverty seem to often go together. I would never change being a single mother, the highlight of my life really, but I would have liked to have more money. I think I am one of those people who have the un-Midas touch, meaning that everything I touch turns NOT to gold.

I’ve tried every job, started my own business, been to college 3 times. Last time I was out of the poverty zone, I was working two full time jobs, one at nights as a pizza cook, and the other on days as an on-call office admin at the hospital, and for a few months, both places needed me full time, which upped my pay, and exhausted me. My kids were old enough to be home alone, but is that the point?

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poor single moms and the burden of Christmas costs

Over the years I tried to improve Christmas with some newer lights for the tree, or shiny new ornaments, but it never happened. I would have to start shopping months in advance so the whole cost wasn’t in one month. I had to buy the cheapest paper and ribbon. Have the cheapest food. One year we almost didn’t have a Christmas dinner, till my boyfriend’s sister-in-law invited me and my three kids to join them. And yes, I almost had a tree like the one image on the right – almost!

After a decade or so of this, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I told the kids, who were almost grown, that we wouldn’t be decorating a tree that year, but still have the dinner. We did this for couple of years. Now there is no sign of Christmas at my house, there are no gifts exactly, and there is no dinner. I give cash and we all find somewhere else to go for dinner. Sorta.

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single moms try very hard to avoid an empty Christmas

For instance, this year I am working. I get paid double time at my new job as a health care assistant (went to college one more time). Been working at this for 3 months, went back to school last year. I am not having a dinner. My daughter is traveling with friends in Panama. My sons are going to their dads for the big dinner. My boyfriend is joining his parents who are 5 hours away.

So although I don’t have a Christmas, when it comes it reminds me of how poor I was, how sadly pathetic I was, what I failure I had been all those years. I am just now crawling out of a cycle of minimum wage and part time jobs, maybe now I will have some assemblance of a normal working persons pay, but those feelings of a life scratching out a merry ho-ho will never leave me.

I had to use credit for not ordinary expenses like Christmas and school start-up, after a decade, I ended up declaring bankruptcy, read more here.

Here’s an easy to read article on filing for bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 explained.
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  1. Pingback: low income single mum Christmas | the militant single mom

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